Domaine de la Pépière
Muscadet seems to have its fair share of characterful vignerons – just show me, for example, a winemaker anywhere in the world with a moustache to rival that of Jo Landron – and on first glance Marc Ollivier, the creator and for as long as I have known him the proprietor of Domaine de la Pépière, would appear to be another such character. With a warm smile and bushy black-grey beard Marc always struck me as having the look of a wise prophet or benevolent biblical king. If the late Didier Dagueneau could be described as messianic (and I certainly read such a description somewhere – and who would argue with it?) then I see no reason why I can’t liken Marc to King Solomon.
As is the case with Jo Landron (or the sadly departed Didier for that matter) there is something much more interesting here than Marc’s flocculent facies. Put simply, this warm-hearted, gentle and surely wise man established one of the leading domaines not only of Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, but of the entire Loire Valley. From a humble few hectares he began turning out classic sur lie bottlings, followed by cru communal types and prototypes, a number of which went a long way to defining these different styles of Muscadet. You cannot, in my opinion, pronounce on the wines of this region until you have become acquainted with Domaine de la Pépière and its wines. These wines, as well as those of Domaine Luneau-Papin, will convince you that Muscadet is something more than just a light, inexpensive, drink-youngest-available commodity wine.
This newly updated profile looks in detail at Marc Ollivier (pictured above) and Domaine de la Pépière, including not only its history but also its future, as in 2020 Marc finally retired, handing over responsibility for the running of the domaine to two associates, Rémi Branger and Gwénaëlle Croix. I also provide detail on the vineyards, as well as a fairly exhaustive run-through of the increasingly complex portfolio of wines, which has expanded considerably in the past few years, including a number of one-off and regular long-lees-aged cuvées. I begin with the origins and history of the domaine.