Domaine de la Pépière, 2014 Update

What does the word Muscadet mean to you? For many drinkers – not necessarily the most knowledgeable Loire geeks – Muscadet conjures up an image of a simple white wine, and maybe not a very good wine at that. Compare this now with your mental image of Chablis. Here we have not just one wine, but many individual grands crus, an even broader selection of valued premiers crus, and a myriad domaines that produce these wines in their sometimes distinctive styles. Two well-known wine names, but they conjure up very different mental images.

Domaine de la Pépière

Our mental image of Chablis is one many who work the soils south of Nantes would like to see transplanted onto Muscadet, so that one subregion (the Côtes de Grandlieu, for example, with its salty, iodine-laced wines) might be seen as distinct to another (Sèvre et Maine, where there is often more structure and more substance). And, of course, one cru (Clisson and its granite-based structure, maybe) can be seen as distinct from another (Gorges, and its fabulous gabbro minerality). The development of Muscadet’s cru communal system goes hand-in-hand with this newly evolving image of Muscadet as not merely a wine, but as a broad viticultural region within which we can find wines in many different shapes and forms. “A vineyard, not just a wine,” is how François Robin, InterLoire’s representative at the Maison des Vins de Nantes, put it to me last year.

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