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As the days turn colder and our menus turn more frequently towards hearty stews and roasts we naturally think of a refreshing glass of mineral-laden Muscadet to accompany them...? Well no, we don't, but we should, as the wines in today's email are "serious" Muscadets from great terroirs and great farming that will perfectly accompany any meal of fish or shellfish (an important part of a healthy diet!) not to mention omelettes, quiches, roast chicken and mild cheesees. And Please note: For fans of the superb Pépière "Briords Vieilles Vignes," this fall will be the only chance to obtain the wonderfull 2020, due to the smaller quantity produced. Stock up now for delicious drinking over the next twenty years! (Wines arrive 10/12, case disconts apply)
We've been enjoying the beautiful wines of Jo Landron for more than 30 years! (How come he looks almost the same now as he did in 1990?) We're very happy to have the scintillating "Amphibolite" back on the shelf, named after a metamorphic stone generally formed from gabbro or basalt, with a high concentration of iron and magnesium, prevalent in the vineyard, over a bedrock of gneiss. In France, this seems to be the "official" oyster wine, at only 11.2% alcohol and tasting of sea spray and stones...try it with seared scallops and cod as well. Also arriving this week is the extraordinary 2017 "Fiefs du Breil," Jo's most serious wine from a great enclosed vineyard of clay, sand and quartz stones over a bedrock of orthogneiss. 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 minerals. Drink now with aeration and over the next 15 to 20 years. (And look out for Jo's vibrant and mineral tasting 2019 "Les Houx" which arrives Nov 1st)
Our new shipment from Rémi and Gwénaëlle at the Domaine de la Pépière arrives today, featuring the vibrant 2020 "Briords Vieilles Vignes" which shows a bit more acidity and structure than the previous two vintages. Also arriving are the two Cru Commnal - "Monnières-St. Fiacre" and "Chateau Thébaud." Both of these wines are ouutsanding in 2017, but we'd like to give a special mention to the "Monnières - St Fiacre," which is particularly elegant and complex in this vintage - it's more open when young than the granit cuvées and will cellar well for ten to fifteen years. Marc Ollivier always loved making red wines from the great soils in his home vineyard and the estate continues the tradition with the silky, supple and refreshing 2020 Cot and Cabernet Franc "La Pépie." I've never liked the drunken chicken on the label - from some obscure combination of French slang for "thirst" and "chicken" - but what's inside the bottle is simply delicious. And don't forget the fabulous value 2020 Muscadet "La Pépie" - $14.39 per bottle on a case puchase!
Three sensational Muscadets round out today's offer: Stéphane Orieux's Domaine de la La Bregeonnette has been organic since 1967 and his "Clos de la Coudraye" is an excellent parcel in Vallet on granite subsoil with very old vines. The 2018 is an elegant and silky wine, really a textbook Muscadet from granit soils to drink now and over the next ten years. And it's a great value at $20.99!
Marion Pescheux and Manu Landron began Complémen'terre in 2013, with help from Manu's father Jo Landron, putting together 7.5 hectares of vines in great sites. The 2019 "Champ Geffray" is a beautiful example of the estates more "natural" style of Muscadet, coming from an unusual vineyard with sandstone soils and 50 year-old vines on a steep southwest facing hill above the river Sèvre. The palate is light and crystalline with citrus zest, white fruits, earthy spice and mineral flavors that continue in the finish with very firm acidity and terrific length.
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. 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!
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. In the dense and well-strctured 2017 vintage the wine was aged 30 months sur-lie. This beautiful Muscadet 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 and gabbro-based based wines - really superb as a young wine served with shellfish, grilled fish and white meats. As usual with great Muscadet it will age beautifully and pair with monkfish, lobster and aged goat cheeses. Very little was imported, don't miss it! David Lillie
The Domaine de la Pépière Cru Communal Château Thébaud comes from old vines in vineyards with great terroir on 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
Amphibolite - a metamorphic stone generally formed from gabbro or basalt, with a high concentration of iron and magnesium, prevalent in the vineyard, over a bedrock of gneiss. The wine from this vineyard is low in alcohol (11.2%) and high in acidity and mineral salts. Bottled after 4 months sur-lie aging and retaining a bit of CO2 from the fermentation, the Cuvée Amphibolite is refreshing, stimulating and a perfect complement to shellfish and light seafood dishes. In 2020 the wine is lovely, with subtle aromas of ripe citrus confit, almond, pear and granny smith; the palate is bone dry but round and refeshing with stone and white fruits, showing a bit more density and alcohol than normal. Enjoy over the next 12 months with some Wellfleet oysters or any mildly flavored fish, even roast chicken. David Lillie
(The importer now promises 5 more cases Just arrived in NY) 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. "As Rémi says "more freshness and tenson" in this wine which makes it a great candidate for aging and we found that decanting or opening well in advance is called for if enjoying now. Best perhaps 2024 - 2040. David Lillie
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
(Arrives 7/15) Stéphane Orieux's father Joseph converted the estate to organic agriculture back in 1967, and Stéphane has continued the great vineyard work of this father. Clos de la Coudraye is an excellent parcel in Vallet on granite subsoil with very old vines. The 2018 spent 18 months sur-lie before bottling. It's a lovely wine with ripe high-toned aromas of lemon confit, melon, dried herbs, white pepper and pear; the palate is dense with stone, citrus, pear and anise flavors, with a lovely, creamy texture and ripe fruit in the finish, framed in minerals and firm acidity. A delicious classic Muscadet from granite soils, drink now or hold up to 10 years. (A bottle of 2014 tasted recently was superb!) Highly recommended! David Lillie
Marion Pescheux and Mau Landron began Complémen'terre in 2013, with help from Manu's father Jo Landron, putting together 7.5 hectare of vines in great sites. Farming is organic, of course, the wines go through the malo-lactic transformation and are bottled with minimal SO2. The 2019 "Champ Geffray" (labeled "Tribute" in France) is a beautiful example of the estates more "natural" style of Muscadet, coming from an unusual vineyard with sandstone soils and 50 year-old vines on a steep southwest facing hill above the river Sevre. The wine shows a light gold/bronze color with intriguing aromas of dried pear and apricot, grapefruit peel, almond and stone with a bit of mint and spice and a hint of oxidation. The palate is light and crystalline with citrus zest, white fruits, earthy spice and mineral flavors that continue in the finish with very firm acidity and terrific length. Beautiful wine - serve with a cevice of fluke, grilled fish, seared scallops...
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 2018 shows subtle, complex aromas of bitter lemon, lime-flower, melon, pear, mint, and stone. The palate is silky, crystalline and dense with fresh white fruits, lime zest, 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
100% Cot (Malbec). Only three of Pépière's 43 certifed-organic hectares of vines are planted to black grapes: Côt and Cabernet Franc (known locally as Breton). They are in the 10-hectare "home" vineyard in Clisson, where the rocky, granite-rich soils yield top-tier Melon de Bourgogne; the black grapes are in a section with a gentle slope and southwestern exposure. The grapes are harvested by hand, destemmed and crushed, with only the free-run juice used for the wine. It is fermented spontaneously with indigenous yeasts, followed by around five months of aging in stainless steel. The 2020 Cot shows lush blackberry aromas with earth and spice; the palate is bright and fresh with deep supple blackberry and red currant fruit that is lifted by bright acidity. The moderate alcohol contributes to making this a versatile and refreshing red to serve cool with charcuterie, roast chicken, pork dishes and mild cheeses
100% Cabernet Franc from the Pépière 10-hectare "home" vineyard in Clisson, where the rocky, granite-rich soils yield top-tier Melon de Bourgogne; the black grapes are in a section with a gentle slope and southwestern exposure. As with the Côt, the Cabernet Franc is harvested by hand, destemmed and crushed, with only the free-run juice used for the wine. It is fermented spontaneously with indigenous yeasts, followed by around five months of aging in stainless steel. The 2020 shows peppery Cab Franc aromas of ripe red currant and black raspberry, lush and earthy. The palate is ripe and round with bright acidity and deep red currant fruit with hints of licorice, mint, smoke and earth with a nice sappy finish. Serve quite cool with charcuterie, rilletes and rillons, pork and chicken dishes. Lovely wine! David Lillie