Old Vines in late winter at Pépière

New, Limited Releases from Domaine de la Pépière: 2020 "Briords," 2017 Ch.Thébaud & 2017 Monnières!

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We have to start out our Muscadet email on a sad note  as most growers in the region, as in many parts of Europe, suffered severe crop loss from a devastating frost in April. Many growers in Muscadet, including our friends Rémi and Gwénaëlle at Domaine de la Pépière, lost almost all of their potential 2021 harvest. Besides the terrible financial effects, especially on small, independent estates, this will necessitate the careful managing of existing stocks over the next few years. Thus Pepiere's September release is limited in size, but contains three otstanding wines for current drinking or for cellaring for 15 to 25 years. As a pairing with shellfish or seafood, these are among the world's finest wines, regardless of price! (Normal 10% case discount applies)

2020 "Briords Vieilles Vignes"

For every vintage since 1988 we have eagerly awaited the "Clos des Briords" from Marc Ollivier's Domaine de la Pépière. Probably now out fishing in Brittany, in his second year of much-deserved retirement, Marc started with a few parcels from his family and through his deep intelligence and hard work transformed them into one of the great domaines of the Loire Valley, now in the very capable hands of Rémi Branger and Gwénaëlle Croix.  The estate produces this great wine from very old vines on a superb terroir of Château Thébaud granite with a thin layer of very porous sandy clay soil. When young, the wine is atomospheric, like sea air on a rocky coast. It ages for twenty to thirty years, always maintaining it's brisk acidity.

Rémi Branger

Some notes on the 2020 from Rémi Branger: "The harvest in 2020 was very early as the vintage was quite ahead of schedule. We began the overall harvest on the 24th of August (this year we'll start around Sept 15th) and picked the Briords quite early - we wanted to keep the freshness and acidity as the maturity was advancing rapidly. We bottled Briords in May as usual - we have in 2020 more freshness and tension than in 2018 and 2019 with the slight bitterness that we like a bit more present." While we thought the 2019 was beautifully balanced, this is good news for Briords fans as the 2020 will be exhillarating as a young wine and should cellar beautifully! (Please note: Due to the smaller quantity of wine available, this will be the only release of 2020 "Clos des Briords."

2017 Cru Communal Monnières - Saint-Fiacre

A little Muscadet geology: "During the Precambrian era, a vast upwelling from deep within the earth brought molten material, mostly granit, to the surface. It formed what is called the Massif Armori­­cain, which underlies Brittany, Normandy, and the lower Loire Valley. A later period of enormous pressures and uplifts left folds of metamorphic schists and gneiss with veins of the original granites and of the dark, granular, very hard stone called gabbro, a more alkaline volcanic rock similar to basalt." (The Flavor of Stone) The 2017 Pépière Cru Communal Monnières - Saint-Fiacre is from a parcel of old vines on bedrock of gneiss, rich in minerals such as feldspar, mica and iron, with sandy limestone topsoils. The Cru is in the heart of the Muscadet region, bordered on the north by the Sèvre river and to the southeast by the Maine.

Gwénaëlle Croix

Notes from Rémi Branger: "In 2017 there was frost in some parcels of Château Thébaud and Clisson but almost none in Monnières-Saint-Fiacre. 2017 is a very beautiful vintage where we find great freshness and structure. We harvested the Monnières parcel on September 7th and after two months of fermentation the wine spent 3 years sur-lie, during which time we performed 3 batonnages - we bottled it in November 2020. I don't know if you remember but at the salons (Jan - Feb 2020) the samples showed beautifully and were all in delicacy. The wine remains in that style, very pure and fine with notes of citrus with a bit of iodine and very lightly fumé."  The wine is less dense than "Clisson" and "Château Thebaud" but our notes from 2020 indicate an equally great Muscadet - ethereal, classy, pure and very long. A great wine for drinking over the next ten to fifteen years...

2017 Cru Communal Château Thébaud

The Domaine de la Pépière Cru Communal Château Thébaud comes from old vines in vineyards with great terroir on hills and slopes overlooking the river Maine. The granit here (Granite de Château Thébaud, oddly enough) is fissured and permeable by the vine roots which have access to water during dry spells and absorb micro-nutrients along the way.  2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014 here were among the best of the vintage in Muscadet and the 2017 will stand out as well due to the combination of density and minerality with the firm acidity of this very good vintage year for Muscadet - those of you lucky enough to have the 2014 in your cellar understand just what a special wine  this is. (Marc Ollivier is particularly fond of this cuvée, now one of his two favorites along with the "Gorges" made in conjunction with Domaine Brégeon.)

Notes from Rémi Branger:

"For the Château Thébaud 2017 - we harvested on the 2nd of September and did a longer elevage - 3 and 1/2 years sur lie, and we bottled it in the spring of 2021. We had thought to do a 4 year elevage but we realized that the exchange between the lies and the wine was occuring faster than usual. We have a beautiful Château Thébaud with aromas of white flowers and a touch of white peach; on the palate the density and power arrive in the finish which is less structured than the 2014 but is more structured and brighter than the 2015."  The 2014 Château Thébaud is one of my favorite Muscadet, though it needs 5 more years to really open up, and the 2017 is not far behind - perhaps a bit more precocious, thus beautiful to drink now or to age for 20 years.

Thank you, Marc Ollivier!

Wines arrive approximately October 1st

Pépière 2017 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Monnières-Saint Fiacre (Oct 1st)

The 2017 Pépière Cru Communal Monnières - Saint-Fiacre is from a parcel of old vines on bedrock of gneiss, rich in minerals such as feldspar, mica and iron, with sandy limestone topsoils. The Cru is in the heart of the Muscadet region, bordered on the north by the Sevre river and to the southeast by the Maine. Notes from Remi Branger: "In 2017 there was frost in some parcels of Château Thebaud and Clisson but almost none in Monnières-Saint-Fiacre. 2017 is a very beautiful vintage where we find great freshness and structure. We harvested the Monnières parcel on September 7th and after two months of fermentation the wine spent 3 years sur-lie, during which time we performed 3 batonnages - we bottled it in November 2020. I don't know if you remember but at the salons (Jan - Feb 2020) the samples showed beautifully and were all in delicacy. The wine remains in that style, very pure and fine with notes of citrus with a bit of iodine and very lightly fumé."  The wine is less dense than "Clisson" and "Château Thebaud" but our notes from 2020 indicate an equally great Muscadet - ethereal, classy, pure and very long. A great wine for drinking over the next ten to fifteen years.  David Lillie

  • white
  • 26 in stock
  • $27.99

  • Organic

Pépière 2017 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Cru Château Thébaud (Oct 1st)

The Domaine de la Pépière Cru Communal Château Thébaud comes from old vines in vineyards with great terroir on hills and slopes overlooking the river Maine. The granite here (Granite de Château Thébaud, oddly enough) is fissured and permeable by the vine roots which have access to water during dry spells and absorb micro-nutrients along the way.  2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014 here were among the best of the vintage in Muscadet and the 2017 will stand out as well due to the combination of density and minerality with the very firm acidity of this very good vintage year for Muscadet - those of you lucky enough to have the 2014 in your cellar understand just what a special wine  this is. Notes from Remi Branger: "For the Château Thébaud 2017 - we harvested on the 2nd of September and did a longer elevage - 3 and 1/2 years sur lie, and we bottled it in the spring of 2021. We had thought to do a 4 year elevage but we realized that the exchange between the lies and the wine was occuring faster than usual. We have a beautiful Château Thébaud with aromas of white flowers and a touch of white peach; on the palate the density and power arrive in the finish which is less structured than the 2014 but is more structured and brighter than the 2015."  The 2014 Château Thébaud is one of my favorite Muscadet, though it needs 5 more years to really open up, and the 2017 is not far behind - perhaps a bit more precocious, thus beautiful to drink now or to age for 20 years. David Lillie

  • white
  • 66 in stock
  • $27.99

  • Organic
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Pépière 2020 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Briords Vieilles Vignes (Oct 1st)

First produced in 1988, this great Muscadet is made from a three hectare parcel of old massale-selection vines (all over 60 years old, with a high percentage much older) on a slope above the Maine. The bedrock is Granite de Château Thébaud, a fissured rock that allows the vines to penetrate deeply, with ideal thin topsoils of clay, with sand and gravel allowing good drainage. Some notes on the 2020 from Rémi Branger: "The harvest in 2020 was very early as the vintage was quite ahead of schedule. We began the overall harvest on the 24th of August (this year we'll start around Sept 15th) and picked the Briords quite early - we wanted to keep the freshness and acidity as the maturity was advancing rapidly. We bottled Briords in May as usual - we have in 2020 more freshness and tension than in 2018 and 2019 with the slight bitterness that we like a bit more present."

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $21.99

  • Organic