Domaine du Haut Bourg, 2020 Update

The Choblet brothers of Domaine du Haut Bourg have produced some splendid examples of Muscadet in recent times, and the domaine has picked up some appropriate accolades along the way. Last year he submitted three cuvées to the Decanter World Wine Awards, where I have judged on the Loire Valley panel for more years than I care to remember (to be straight it must be about ten years, possibly longer), and happily each of the three received a gong. One gold, one silver and one bronze, a haul with which Nicolas Choblet (pictured below), is obviously rather pleased. And rightly so.

There have been problems here too though. Frost has played havoc with the domaine’s productivity, slashing yields in both 2016 and 2017, but thankfully not 2018. Sadly 2019 was closer to the first two of this trio of years rather than the third, with the first of the two frosts that dogged the early part of the growing season particularly troublesome, wiping out 70% of the Melon de Bourgogne and Folle Blanche harvests (later-budding varieties, such as Sauvignon Blanc, grown for IGP wines, were spared). If this continues on Muscadet will soon garner a reputation for frost to challenge that currently held by the likes of Montlouis or Cheverny.

Domaine du Haut Bourg

While volumes are lower than we would like in 2019 (enough to see at least one cuvée disappear altogether), the quality is good. Looking at the style of the wines, the two most recent vintages – 2018 and 2019 – have a lot in common, although the more recent of the two tends to have a slightly fresher feel.

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