Domaine de la Pepiere Muscadet Clos de Briords Vieilles Vignes 2017
Because of the soil and greater concentration achieved with old vines, the Clos des Briords is a more powerful wine than most Muscadets. It is very mineral and quite austere in its youth, rather than fruity and light. Over a few months, or even years if one can wait for it, it develops much complexity in its aromatics and structure.
Right at the edge of Brittany, Domaine de la Pépière is located in the village of Maisdon-sur-Sèvre. Marc, who grew up in the hamlet of La Pépière, created the estate in 1984. The name La Pépière has its root in the word ?pépie?, which means thirst. When you walk above the hamlet, on the slopes where vines are planted, it is easy to understand why the place got that name.
Winemaker Marc Ollivier hand harvests, uses natural yeasts, waits for the wine to finish and bottles with a very light filtration. The vineyards are in old vines (40 years and older) with a particularly good exposition on a plateau overlooking the river Sèvre. All the vineyards are from original stock: Ollivier is the only grower in the Muscadet who does not have a single clonal selection in his vineyards.
The Domaine believes that the quality of a wine depends entirely on the quality of the grapes it was made with. Rémi joined the estate in 2007, and actively worked on the organic conversion of the vines. Gwénaëlle, who came in 2013, has pushed things further with a shift towards bio-dynamic viticulture. It is the complexity of the terroirs of Sèvre et Maine that guides their choices. They are happy to share this diversity with you.
The Pays Nantais, Loire’s only region abutting the Atlantic coast, is solely focused on the Melon de Bourgogne grape in its handful of subzones: Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine, Muscadet-Coteaux de la Loire and Muscadet-Côtes de Grandlieu. Muscadet wines are dry, crisp, seaside whites made from Melon de Bourgogne and are ideal for the local seafood-focused cuisine. (They are not related to Muscat.) There is a new shift in the region to make these wines with extended lees contact, creating fleshy and more aromatic versions.
Made famous in Muscadet, a gently rolling, Atlantic-dominated countryside on the eastern edge of the Loire, Melon de Bourgogne is actually the most planted grape variety in the Loire Valley. But the best of it comes from Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, a subzone west of the city of Nantes, which is part of the larger Pays Nantais.
The name might suggest this grape is from Burgundy—and indeed its origins are Burgundian. But while history shows it is the progeny of Pinot and Gouais blanc, it was continuously outlawed from Burgundy, just like Gamay, at various times during the 16th and 17th centuries.
In the Glass
Muscadet wine is full of fresh acidity and has smoky and saline aromas with some floral character; flavors are of green pear, lemon and honeysuckle. Since the mid 1980s, winemakers have been successfully experimenting with various winemaking techniques including barrel fermentation, lees stirring and pre-fermentation skin contact to make a more complex wine.
Try Muscadet with any light and flaky fish, oysters, roasted chicken, root vegetables and fondue.
The wine itself is called Muscadet, and while suggestive of “muscat,” the wine is not related to any Muscat variety.