Domaine du Haut Bourg, 2022 Update
In this, the second in an informal wave of Muscadet reports, I come to look at the wines of Domaine du Haut Bourg. Given that this domaine is run by Nicolas and Hervé Choblet, cousins to Jérôme Choblet of Domaine des Herbauges, whose wines I reported on only a few days ago, it seems only right to come here next.
Nicolas and Hervé do things a little differently to Jérôme. While they face the same challenges, including climate change and frost (once an occasional occurrence, but now frighteningly common), as well as the commercial and financial pressures that result from making Muscadet as opposed to Pomerol or Gevrey-Chambertin, they have not followed Jérôme down the route of building a seemingly ever-expanding domaine.
The Domaine and The Vintage
The history of the estate stretches back to the 1940s, when the first few rows of vines were planted here by the brothers’ great-grandfather, André Choblet. During the decades that followed the domaine grew in a gradual fashion, eventually reaching its current size of 40 hectares. This is somewhat smaller that Jérôme’s domaine, and is somewhat more typical of the region. Indeed, a Loire négociant once told me that 40 hectares was the minimum required for a commercially viable business in the Muscadet region; the revenue generated per bottle is so small that you need this area of vineyard in order to make enough wine to balance the books. While there are perhaps an exalted few for whom this is not true – you probably know who they are – it is notable that many of the vignerons I meet in the region are working domaines of a size equal to or even larger than Domaine du Haut Bourg.