Domaine de la Combe
I enjoy tasting the latest Muscadet releases with the Gadais family, as quality has long been very good here. Nevertheless, the arrival of a new generation can often herald a step up in quality, and the transmission of responsibility here from the father, Christophe Gadais, to his son Pierre-Henri Gadais, does indeed seem to have brought a new sense of dynamic enthusiasm.
In the course of a recent tasting with Pierre-Henri, he reached below the counter and pulled out a quartet of bottles with unfamiliar labels. “Before we continue”, he said, “please taste these… it is a personal project”. The wines, from Domaine de la Combe, were quite unfamiliar, and it was during the course of the tasting that I realised that these were the wines of the (obviously renamed) domaine of Nelly Marzelleau, previously known as Les Grands Presbytères.
Les Grands Presbytères
The domaine known for many years as Les Grands Presbytères is situated just to the northeast of the village of St-Fiacre-sur-Maine, just a stone’s throw from the waters of the Sèvre. Its story can be traced back to the 1920s, when Nelly Marzelleau’s paternal grandfather, a veteran of the Great War, was working in the region as a caviste, négociant and tonnelier, as well as running a cafe and tending to a few hectares of vines. After his passing in 1956 his son inherited everything, and he quickly decided to focus solely on the vines.
By the time Nelly, the third generation in the Marzelleau dynasty, was just ten years old, she knew she would follow in her father’s footsteps as a vigneronne, or as she preferred it, a viticultrice. She worked her first vintage on the domaine in the mid-1980s. Time has since moved on though, and after a decade or two the arrival of two children prompted Nelly to reduce her role in the running of the domaine. She sought out somebody to look after her vines, and hence in 2009 Nelly entered into an agreement with Christophe Gadais, of Gadais Père et Fils, to run the domaine on her behalf. It was Christophe who then made the wine, up to and including the 2015 vintage.