We're just gonna say it.. Marc Olivier of Domaine de la Pepiere is the best producer in Muscadet. We don't say that lightly and we welcome any and all arguments you might want to make to the contrary. No disrespect to the other great producers of the region- Jo Landron, Michel Bregeon, Fred Niger, Vincent Caille and more, but the Pepiere wines set the standard year after year. We should also note that 2019 is Marc's last vintage, but left his estate in the very capable hands of his proteges Remi Branger and Gwenaelle Croix, who have been groomed for this moment over the last decade.
For those who aren't familiar, Marc Olivier started his Domaine in his home town of Pepiere, not far from the border of Brittany and the Atlantic coast in western Loire, in 1984. While he started out working conventionally, he found his way to organic, and now Biodynamic farming as well as fermenting with native yeast and no additions other than a little sulfur at bottling. You can read more about Marc HERE.
Wine people talk a lot about "terroir" and sometimes that can feel kind of abstract, but there are certain grapes and regions that really illustrate this concept in an undeniable, crystal clear way. Muscadet is one of those regions and Melon de Bourgogne is one of those grapes. Like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay or Riesling, Melon is a grape that is transparent and reflective of the soil it's grown in, so it will taste noticeably different when grown on different plots. We have two perfect examples of this for you today. Here's the lineup:
Gras Mouton 2018 $23 The “Fat Sheep” comes from a south-facing windy hilltop site in the cru of Monnieres-Saint Fiacre, where the vines were planted in 1948, 1984 and 1991. The soil is mostly gneiss, mixed with some clay. The wine is aged on the lees for 9 months in tank, then lightly filtered and bottled with minimal sulfur. Round and generous with nice texture and notes of ripe citrus and fennel seed with a clean, mouthwatering finish.
Clos des Briords 2019 $24 Clos des Briords is located on a hillside along the river Maine with vines planted between 1930 and 1950 on a special type of granite called "Granite de Thebaud". This is fermented in steel, then aged on the lees in undergraound ceramic lined tanks for 9 months, then bottled unfiltered with minimal sulfur. This is always one of Marc's more muscular crus with a chiseled, smokey minerality and almost a weightlessness to it, despite the core of ripe orchard fruit and citrus zest.
Get both for $40! These wines are perfect for this sunny end of summer, but will age beautifully over the next decade (and then some).
Speaking of Muscadet, we have a delicious zero-zero Pet-Nat of Melon from Francois Maudet HERE and a charming everyday Muscadet from Jean-Paul Aubron in this week's Half Dozen White for $75. Our Half Dozen Red for $75 and our Dozen for $145 are still going strong and packed with treats and last week's Spanish specials are still available HERE.
Even though it feels different this year, the holiday season is here! Among other things, that means Beaujolais in every flavor and today we'll start with a Cru that doesn't make the rounds as much as its famous neighbors like Moulin-a-Vent and Fleurie, but produces a really distinct and delicious expression of Gamay: Chenas.