Domaine de l’Ecu: Tasting & Drinking

The grandes cuvées de terroir from Domaine de l’Ecu were always classic examples of Muscadet, truly terroir-driven wines, and they would make an excellent, high quality (and yet great value) starting point for anyone wishing to get to grips with this large wine region. For those more familiar with the region, the wines also remained regular buys, a point of reference within the region and the vintage. They were Muscadets which overturned the outdated view that this is a region for cheap-and-cheerful early drinkers. These bright, clear, minerally wines may have drunk well in their youth, but they also aged in a very elegant fashion, and seeing out ten years in the cellar is something they did with ease.

Having said that, whereas I would once have regularly placed these wines on the very top tier within the appellation, now I am not so sure. Last time I tasted them it seemed to me that the quality was waning, and the wines were not set to beat all-comers as they once would. I suspect that Frédéric Niger is somewhat more focused on his new range of wines, sometimes funky, sometimes oxidative, mostly amphora-fermented and occasionally orange in style. These wines are certainly fascinating, but I do hanker for the time when the focus here was on the 16 hectares of Melon de Bourgogne, and not the tiny parcels of other varieties that seem to fascinate Frédéric so much.

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