Domaine de l’Ecu, 2018 Update

Among the vignerons of the Loire Valley, few took a bigger hit in the frost of 2017 than Fréd Niger, the man behind the modern-day reshaping of Domaine de l’Ecu. The sub-zero temperatures of April 26th saw the year’s crop totally wiped out, or close to it. Just a few bunches survived; in picking these Fréd brought in a meagre 3 hl/ha, giving him barely enough juice to fill a few amphorae. And this disaster came on top of a similarly destructive frost early in the 2016 vintage.

Domaine de l'Ecu

Such low yields in this hand-to-mouth region make running a domaine very difficult, unsustainable even, especially when they occur in back-to-back vintages. Fréd has therefore relied on friends, both those close at hand and a number who are much further afield, for support at this time. Not just helpful words, or platitudes against the evil side of Dame Nature, but real support. In other words donations of fruit, for vinification as Fréd saw fit. As a consequence the portfolio at Domaine de l’Ecu sees some curious new additions this year. Alongside the more familiar cuvées, such as Mephisto and Taurus, there are new and presumably temporary additions to the portfolio featuring fruit from as far afield as the Rhône Valley and Italy.

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