Domaine Le Fay d’Homme
The Muscadet vineyard is, I am sure, full of unrecognised vignerons. The Melon-drinking community has tended to focus on a handful of names, in part because these names have long been favoured by influential importers to the USA, a major export market for this style of wine so long derided in certain parts of Europe. This sort of situation wouldn’t be encountered in Burgundy where higher demand and higher prices act as an incentive to more inquisitive merchants and writers to seek out unfamiliar domaines making wines of quality and affordability that deserve to be brought out into the light. In Muscadet, where the bottom-end of the market struggles to achieve financial viability, and wines at the top end of the quality ladder can still be had for peanuts, this pressure simply doesn’t come to bear.
Yet these vignerons exist, and they bring us something perhaps even more interesting than good value, and that is diversity. They make wine from their own mix of Muscadet terroirs, and they transform the produce of these vineyards into wine in their own unique manner, giving us in each bottle their own personal interpretation of the terroir in question, and ultimately a unique interpretation of what it is for a wine to be from Muscadet. Some vignerons offer interesting long-lees-aged versions, the wines having spent four, six or more years being nourished by the yeasty sediments before bottling. Others give us a more classic style, with needle-fine brightness and acidity. Elsewhere, meanwhile, we can find intensely mineral cru communal cuvées, from special terroirs such as gabbro and granite. Into this latter group, I think, falls Vincent Caillé of Domaine Le Fay d’Homme.