Domaine de la Pépière: The 2009 Vintage

While I am busy sorting through reams of notes from the first tastings of the year, which so far have concentrated on the 2014 and 2015 vintages in the Loire Valley, I am remembering with some fondness last year’s 2005 Loire at Ten Years report. After all, whereas it is always fun and worthwhile getting to grips with the latest vintages, wine is almost always better with a little age. For this reason I hope to publish a similar report for the 2006 Loire vintage later this year, albeit with far fewer bottles. I didn’t buy into the 2006 vintage in the way I did with 2005.

In the meantime, while I am busy hunting around the cellar trying to find all the 2006s I purchased, I thought I would take a brief look back to 2009 with a handful of wines from Domaine de la Pépière. These wines are still a few years (three and a bit, to be a little more precise) off their tenth birthday, but I thought an interim review might be worthwhile (and tasty).

The 2009 Vintage

This was a generally very warm year along the length of the Loire, and it was a broad success here just as it was to the south in Bordeaux. In the Nantais this was particularly appreciated, as financially the 2008 vintage had been a disaster, a devastating frost having wiped out a significant proportion of the crop, tipping a number of domaines over the edge into bankruptcy. Temperatures were above average through the 2009 growing season, the thermometer in this part of the world climbing up as high as 34.2ºC on July 1st. There was quite a bit of rain through spring and early summer, but during August, September and October – when it really counts – rainfall was well below average, with 18mm, 44mm and 65mm respectively.

Domaine de la Pépière

The quality of the fruit was impeccable, and perhaps the only note of concern was that some wines showed, perhaps unsurprisingly, a less vibrant acid backbone than some of us look for in Muscadet. This is topical right now, as I feel 2015 is showing a similar trait, although in 2015 it is perhaps more sporadic rather than universal. There are plenty of wines in 2015 with good balance. You could find the same in 2009, but I think it was the more refined cru communal styles that did best, rather than the traditional sur lie wines where an acid backbone is more important is the wines are to do their job at table.

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