There is not enough limelight cast on the vineyards of Muscadet these days, the region having slipped into ignominy – in the eyes of many consumers, at least – ever since the 1970s. What light is cast this way – by dedicated individuals, or merchants selling their wines – is often directed towards a tiny handful of estates, with very familiar names such as Pépière, Luneau-Papin, Landron, Ecu and so on. This is great for these domaines. But perhaps disheartening for others.
With this in mind I recently sat down with Aurore, daughter of proprietor Véronique Günther-Chéreau, to get the lowdown on this estate, and to taste the wines. There is, as it turns out, a fascinating story to be told here, with wines that meet the criteria, or indeed predate, not one but two of the new crus communaux. And yet, despite the enviable combination of modern-day success and remarkable history, Château du Coing de Saint-Fiacre does not seem to have enjoyed the same level of fame as some of those names listed above. It is time, I think, to put that right. First, though, a look back at the origins of the estate.
Although Véronique and Aurore (pictured below) are quick to point out that the lands around the château have been cultivated since Roman times, the history of Château du Coing de Saint-Fiacre only really kicks off with the 15th century. There are cellars here, hewn from the ground and built up with schist and sandstone rock, that date from this time. Despite this evidence of winemaking, however, little seems to be known of who lived here at this time, or where they came from. It is not until the late-18th century that we have that level of knowledge; at this time the estate was in the hands of Jean du Coing, and of course it still bears his name today.