Jo Landron, 2022 Update
Having dived deeply into Muscadet in recent weeks, with a review of the 2020 vintage, brief reappraisals of the 2019 and 2018 vintages, and a broader examination (with tasting notes, of course) of all the Muscadet Crus Communaux (seven of which have been ratified and ‘made real’, while the other three are in various stages of preparation), I thought it was time to home in on one of the region’s leading domaines. And where better to turn than the most recently released wines of Jo Landron?
I met up with Jo (pictured below) and his team not in our usual meeting place, in the Loire Valley, but in Paris; with the Covid-19 pandemic still foremost in everybody’s mind (well, at the start of two weeks of tasting in France, it was in mine), Jo’s trademark facial hair was well hidden behind his face mask. I don’t normally publish photographs of winemakers wearing their face masks (what’s the point?) but I couldn’t resist the air of mystery this photograph of The Moustache behind the Mask engenders.
A lot of new subscribers have signed up in the past few months, so before I get to the wines here is a quick primer on Jo and his domaine. Jo Landron is such a central figure in the region that it seems difficult to believe that he is only a third-generation vigneron. His grandfather Julien Landron was a smallholder, and it was really his father Pierre who shifted the focus of the domaine from polyculture to viticulture. Pierre acquired more vineyards, and built up an admirable portfolio of vines and wines, during an era when life in the region was good, Muscadet riding a wave of global popularity and demand.
It was only in 1990, when Pierre retired, that Jo Landron shouldered the responsibility for the domaine alone (although he was joined some years later by his brother). Times were harder, and there was a need to focus on quality rather than volume. His greatest achievement in these early years was his conversion to organic viticulture, a challenging process for a lone vigneron; it was a difficult and faltering start, the climate still very challenging at that time, but with continued effort he certified in 2002, after which he certified as biodynamic, with Biodyvin, in 2011. On reflection, Jo is undoubtedly one of the region’s organic trailblazers.