If this site’s purpose was not to explore some of the world’s most fascinating wines, but instead to discover and describe some of the world’s most magnificent moustaches, there is a fairly good chance I would still be a regular visitor to the Loire. Voluminous facial hair seems to be de rigueur on the Ligérian wine scene, leading me to wonder whether we could rank these extravagant displays in the same manner as we have ranked Bordeaux châteaux. I find the concept of rating moustaches perhaps as premier, deuxième and troisième cru, with some sort of cru bourgeois-type system for sideburns, all rather appealing. And there is no doubt in my mind that the munificent moustache belonging to Jo Landron would easily secure a place near the very top of this new whiskery classification.
Sadly (and I know you’re as deeply disappointed as I am) the likelihood of such a helpful classification being drawn up seems very slim indeed. And so we should perhaps stick to wine for the time being. Happily for Jo, if judged purely on his wine and not his bounteous handlebars, he and his wines would still rank very highly. We have here one of the leading vignerons of the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine region; he has two domaines to his name, Domaine de la Louvetrie and Clos la Carizière, although it is the wines of the former for which he is best known. His story, and his wines, are worth exploring.
The story of Domaine de la Louvetrie can be traced back as far as 1945, when a vigneron named Pierre Landron established the domaine. Pierre was a hard-working young man who, having inherited a smallholding from his father Julien Landron, committed himself to viticulture rather than the mixed farming Julien had undertaken. Speaking to his son, Jo Landron, early in 2013, it was clear to me that he admired his father’s work ethic and achievements, in particular Pierre’s business-like approach to establishing and managing the domaine, acquiring more vineyards, increasing the numbers of vines planted, and increasing the yields. This was fairly typical behaviour for the era; these were good times for the Muscadet region as demand for the wines was high, and increasing production – whether by increasing the area of the vineyard, or by pumping up the yields obtained – was usually a sure-fire route to increasing income. Pierre regularly brought in the maximum yield every year, and everything sold through. This was achieved with what we would regard as a ‘conventional’ approach; in other words, Pierre took full advantage of the new herbicides and pesticides that were available. His were chemically-managed vineyards; they were thus very different to the vineyards Jo Landron manages today.