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People think of Muscadet as a refreshing summer wine, and yes, it was 24 degrees in New York this morning, but if you're having fish or shellfish for dinner, or enjoying some goat cheese, then it's time for Muscadet! We're very happy to feature superb new arrivals from the 2015 vintage, from our friends Jo Landron; Gwenaëlle, Rémi and Marc at Domaine de la Pépière, and the multi-generational team at Luneau-Papin. The 2015s are generally a bit rounder, with more immediate expression of fruit, than their 2014 counterparts, but acid-heads don't despair, these are all built to last and will drink beautifully young, especially with a long decant. While all four are outstanding Muscadets, we bring your attention ot the delicious "Haute Tradition" from Jo Landron, a wine that is only available in the US at Chambers Street. From old vines in the "Les Houx" vineyard on iron-rich clay over subsoils of orthogneiss with quartz, this is a dense powerful Muscadet that is aged for about a year in wooden foudres, as opposed to the normal subterranean vats. "Serve with fish in sauce, grilled lobster, veal, roast chicken and goat or sheep cheeses" says Jo - yum! The Pépière "Chateau Thébaud" and the Luneau-Papin "Excelsior" are both Cru Communal that undergo long sur-lie aging - 30 months for the "Chateau Thébaud" and 36 months for the "Excelsior," which gives them an extra layer of richness, depth and ageability. Also in todays email, we remind you of the last stock of the 2015 Pépière "Clisson" and the 2014 Pépière "Gorges" both of which belong in your cellar. And if you're throwing a party this month, why not serve one of the sensational values listed below - Jo Landron's 2017 "Les Houx" and Stéphan Orieux's 2017 "Bregeonnette - these are both superb, crowd pleasing wines that are amazing values! (All wines are in stock, additional inventory arrives 12/11)
Drink more Muscadet!
Jo Landron's Fief du Breil is from a beautiful, walled vineyard sloping towards the Sèvre, with clay, sand and quartz stones over a bedrock of orthogneiss. The vines average 40 to 50 years of age, the vineyard is certified organic and biodynamic and gives very low yields. This beautiful wine needs aeration or decanting, then shows aromas of grapefruit skin, pear, lime-flower, candied citrus and almond. The palate is perfectly balanced and intensely mineral - showing ripe white fruits, almond, anise and stone flavors with firm acidity and pronounced flavors of stone and saline mineral. This is a bit more forward than the granite-based wines - really superb as a young wine served with shellfish, grilled fish and roast chicken. As usual with great Muscadet it will age beautifully and pair with monkfish, lobster and goat cheeses. Very little was imported, don't miss it! David Lillie (Oops, most already sold - more is arriving in April.)
Made only in exceptional vintages, the Luneau-Papin "Excelsior - Clos des Noelles" is one of my favorite Muscadets, usually a bit rounder than the granite-soil "L D'Or" but always aromatically complex and with great intensity and length. The massale-selection vines were planted in 1936 on a terroir of "micaschistes a deux micas," (lieu-dit "La Plecisiere") exposed full south. The grapes are hand-harvested and undergo a slow wild yeast fermentation with 36 months of aging on the lees. The 2015 shows subtle, complex aromas of bitter lemon, lime-flower, melon, pear, mint, almond and stone. The palate is silky, crystalline and dense with white fruits, lemon zest, almond, smoke and wet stone with fabulous length of pear, minerals and taut acidity. Please decant if drinking now, serve with any elegant seafood dish. Cellar five to fifteen years and serve with richer fish dishes, white meats, rabbit. Beautiful wine! David Lillie
La Haute Tradition is a beautiful Muscadet from our friend Jo Landron that is rarely seen in the US. The grapes are from old vines in the "Les Houx" vineyard on iron-rich clay over subsoils of orthogneiss with quartz, giving a dense powerful Muscadet that is aged for about a year in wooden foudres.The wine shows elegant aromas of lemon peel, stone, ripe pear, almond, anise and honeysuckle. While it's similar to Jo's superb Fief du Breil, the palate shows more ripeness - quite round and full for a Muscadet, with sapid white fruits, citrus, anise and licorice, with terrific density backed by firm acidity. The finish is long and lovely with with bitter lemon, pear, anise and stone. This is a superb Muscadet that should be opened well in advance or decanted if drinking now, or cellar five years then drink until 2035. Serve with fish in sauce, grilled lobster (!), veal, roast chicken and goat or sheep cheeses. David Lillie
The Domaine de la Pépière Château Thébaud "Clos des Morines" comes from old vines in a beautiful vineyard sloping down towards the river Maine. The granite here (granite de Château-Thébaud) is fissured and permeable by the vine roots which have access to water during dry spells and absorb micro-nutrients along the way. The grapes are hand harvested, fed into the press by gravity and undergo a one to two month fermentation with wild yeasts. The wine ages "sur-lie" for 30 months with regular battonage, contributing to the complex aromatics and richness of the wine. The 2015 Chateau Thébaud is a gorgeous wine, showing a bright pale gold color with ripe aromas of candied citrus, melon, pear, honeysuckle, wet stone, almond and licorice. The palate is silky and quite rich for a Muscadet, with white and yellow fruits, citrus and mineral flavors, with hints of anise and licorice emerging, with the firm acidity in the background. This very young wine is delicous now, but please decant or open well in advance. As with "Briords," this reminds me of the 2009, which is drinking beautifully in 2018. Serve with oysters and fish such as sole, cod and halibut, white meats as well, great with goat cheeses. Highly recommended! David Lillie
Beginning in 2005, Domaine de la Pépière has produced this cuvée from a small parcel of 50 to 110 year-old vines within the Pepiere vineyard. Originally called "Granite de Clisson" after the unique bedrock in the vineyard, Marc has changed the name to "Clisson" to agree with the new INAO Cru Communal classification. The granite is covered with gravel and clay with large stones, ensuring good drainage and deep penetration by the roots into the fissures in the bedrock, bringing the mineral elements indispensable to this wine.Tasted in France in January 2018, the wine showed a pale gold color with lovely aromas of dried pear, quince, almond, lemon-confit and stone, ripe but quite fresh. The palate was quite dense, showing firm acidity and mineral flavors supporting white fruits, citrus, anise and almond, with terrific length. This is an excellent "Clisson" with attractive forward fruit for early drinking as well as firm structure for aging of fifteen to twenty years or more. David Lillie
We're exstatic to have this superb new Muscadet from Pépière. The product of an exchange of juice with Fred Lailler at Domaine Bregeon (pressed at Bregeon), the wine underwent a slower fermentation than at Bregeon, and was then aged 42 months on the lees. From Juliette Pope of David Bowler Wines "We tasted the 2014 Gorges out of vat, along with everything else, last January (2018) with Marc and Rémi, and it blew me away. Marc waxed quite poetic, declaring it his favorite of his bottlings right now, along with the Château-Thébaud." From Bregeon's vines on Gabbro with clay topsoils (in conversion to organic) the 2014 Gorges is an austere yet dense and beautifully structured wine, with unique aromas showing almond, melon and petrol notes in addition to bitter lemon, stone and white fruits. The palate is dense with ripe pear and quince, earth, almond, anise and citrus notes, with stone, lemon peel and white fruits lingering in the finish. Although vibrant and delicious now, we would recommend waiting for eight to ten years before opening for peak enjoyment. Highly recommended! David Lillie
Jo Landron's Domaine Louvetrie "Les Houx" (formerly labeled "Hermine D'Or") is from a great parcel of 20 to 50 year-old vines on shallow sandy clay soils, rich with silica, quartz and iron, over a bedrock of gneiss and clay - a great terroir for Muscadet that always gives a dense, complex wine which benefits from medium-term aging. The 2017 is a great example and a sensational value. Lovely pale bronze color. A bit closed when first opened, then showing aromas of ripe pear, apple, lemon peel, a field in the sun, a hint of anise. The palate is dense and long with white fruits, stone, almond, iodine and citrus with perfect bracing acidity. Rather full-bodied for a Muscadet, this will accompany crab, lobster and monkfish as well as chicken, pork, Asian foods and goat cheeses. Or hold for a few years and serve with full-flavored fish dishes. Bravo, Jo Landron!
Stéphane Orieux's father Joseph converted the estate to organic agriculture back in 1967, and Stéphane has continued (now certified by Ecocert) the great vineyard work of his father. The grapes are hand-harvested, fermentations are with wild yeasts and minimal sulfur is used. The 2017 Bregeonnette is from vines on both schist and granite soils and is a beautiful example of a young, vibrant Muscadet from organic farming. The aromas are classic Muscadet: pear, green apple, citrus, fresh herbs and wet stone with floral hints. The palate is refreshing with subtle white fruits and citrus with hints of mineral and almond, with firm citrusy acids in the finish. This is a delicious and versatile Muscadet to serve with shellfish and white fish such as cod, haddock and sole and it's a nice aperitif as well. And it's a crowd-pleasing dry white with enough depth to accompany your Thanksgiving! David Lillie