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Of course we think that mid-winter is Muscadet time as well, but there's no denying that warm weather and a crisp, vibrant glass of Muscadet are a great match, especially with some fresh seafood from local waters. (OK, maybe not the oysters now found in NY harbor.) The terrible frost of 2021 has lowered inventories, but today's offer includes some superb new arrivals such as the always magnificent Domaine de l'Ecu "Granit" from the excellent 2020 vintage.
Domaine de la Pépière lost 95% of their crop in 2021 but is offering the 2020 "Merci," a classic wine from terroirs of granite, gabbro and gneiss, purchased from friends nearby and blended to create a delicious Pépière-style Muscadet. Very fortunately we were able to obtain an additional shipment of the sensational 2020 "Les Gras Moutons which is superb - drink now and over the next 5 to 8 years. Also available are 4 cases of the very wonderful 2019 "Clisson" - while we would recommend waiting five to ten years before drinking this great wine, it will give scintillating enjoyment this summer as well...
In addition, the Luneau-Papin "L d'Or" is superb again in 2020 and we love everything from Stéphane Orieux at Domaine de la Bregeonnette, organic since 1967!
Wines are in stock or arrive by Fri 7/15, please allow 3 - 5 days before pick-up/shipping.
(Arrives 7/15) 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. This note from Gwénaëlle Croix of Pépière: "We bottled the 2019 Clisson in November of 2021, after two years aging on the lies, as we always do. It comes from a hot, sunny vintage, thus the alcohol percentage is relatively high at 13.5%, but one really doesn't sense it. The palate is full and framed in very firm acidity and citrus flavors, with a slight touch of smokiness (un petit côté fumé)." The Pépière Clisson is always one of the most elegant, silky and ethereal of all Muscadet - don't miss it!
Arrives 7/15. 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. This note from Gwénaëlle Croix of Pépière: "We bottled the 2019 Clisson in November of 2021, after two years aging on the lies, as we always do. It comes from a hot, sunny vintage, thus the alcohol percentage is relatively high at 13.5%, but one really doesn't sense it. The palate is full and framed in very firm acidity and citrus flavors, with a slight touch of smokiness (un petit côté fumé)." The Pépière Clisson is always one of the most elegant, silky and ethereal of all Muscadet - don't miss it!
(Arrives 7/15) The 2020 Bregeonnette "Eonios" is made with zero added SO2, from grapes grown on micaschiste terroir. A living wine with freshness, character and beautiful energy. Open, expressive nose showing notes of apricot, citrus zest and subtle nutty/ almond aromas. Medium-bodied, with generous acidy that creates a nice tension with the round texture on the palate, with quince and dried fruit notes coming through on the lengthy finish. This needs some air to show its full potential, so decanting is recommended, or open a few hours before serving.
Guy Bossard is one of the heroes of French viticulture, having rejected modern chemical farming upon assuming the family estate, becoming certified organic in 1972, then progressing to Biodynamic farming in 1996. Guy has been an inspiration for many growers in the region and the estate continues under the capable and imaginative direction of Fred Niger van Herck. The Domaine de l'Ecu "Granite" is always one of the most distinctive of Muscadet, with the Melon de Bourgogne coming from 50-year-old vines in a parcel of stony soils on "granite a deux micas." The 2020 is outstanding with lovely aromas of white peach, almond, meyer lemon and stone. There is brisk acidity on the palate with ripe pear and peach fruit, almond and anise with intense mineral flavors. White fruits and minerals linger in the long finish. This is a lovely combination of acidity, ripe fruit and mineral flavors that will acompany full-flavored oysters, richer fish dishes, lobster, scallops, monkfish... Enjoy now and over the next ten-plus years. David Lillie
2020 is another excellent vintage for the Luneau-Papin "L" d'Or in a ripe, dense style but with a bit more brightness than the 2019 that makes it a superb Muscadet for current drinking and medium-term aging as well. The wine shows a fairly ripe gold color and complex aromas that are a great combination of ripeness and vibrant acidity, including pear, almond, stone, citrus and exotic fruit with anise and herbs. The palate is dense and long with ripe yellow and white fruits, almond and marzipan, really delicious, with the wine's unique granitic acidity hidden below, the sapid fruit. The wine remains a good candidate for aging - it's Luneau-Papin's only cuvee on a granite subsoil (granit a deux micas in Vallet) having a different character than the granite soils in Clisson or Chateau Thebaud. The vines are approximately 50 years old and and are farmed with organic and biodynamic methods. Vintages going back to 1989 of the L d'Or are superb now, but this very young 2020 would be perfect today with full-flavored fish dishes such as halibut and monkfish or with lobster and even white meats in sauce. David Lillie
The 2020 Domaine de la Pépière "Merci" is named in gratitude to vigneron friends of Pépière who supplied finished 2020 wines for this special, one-off bottling that is helping to cover Pépière's 95% crop loss in the 2021 vintage. The wines come from sites similar to Pépière's, featuring variations on granite, gneiss and gabbro and from vines in transition to organic farming. The wine is a very typical, good quality Muscadet, showing classic aromas of white peach, lemon, almond and stone with a very dry, mineral flavored palate with pear and citrus fruit and a long finish with firm acidity and saline minerals - and it's an excellent value at $16.99.
(Arrives July 15) The 2020 Muscadet "Les Gras Moutons" is a lovely wine and clearly illustrates the difference between the granite and gneiss terroirs in Muscadet. Gras Moutons is a great parcel on gneiss, in layers that permit a deep penetration by the vines, with sandy clay and amphibolite stones. The vines are at the top of a hill and on the south facing slope overlooking the Maine. (The name, by the way, does not refer to fat sheep, despite their presence on the label, but rather in local dialect, to the hilltop vineyard site.) This terroir produces lovely, classic Muscadet to drink over the next 5 to 8 years. It has a more herbal and floral bouquet than the granite-based wines and the palate, although refreshing and bright, is softer and more open. The 2020 Gras Moutons is a bit brighter than the 2019 and 2019, showing a pale bronze color and beautiful aromas of ripe pear and quince with hints of anise, stone and almond; The palate shows a nice level of glycerol and is quite mineral with ripe pear and white peach, supple and ripe but framed in firm acidity. The finish is long and dense with white fruits, citrus and an almost bitter mineral aspect, making this an outstanding food wine to enjoy for the rest of this decade.
(Arrives 7/15, last of stock) 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
(Arrives 7/15) 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 2021 Bregeonnette is from vines on sandy clay and micashiste 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.
(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