Domaine Saint Nicolas, 2016 Update

It is fair to say that, in these domaine updates that account for much of my writings on the wines of the Loire Valley, I have at times criticised some domaines that I see as over-rated. It is a always a frustration to me that some domaines in the Loire seem to get all the attention, while others seem to be permanently overlooked. I have never shied away from making my true feelings (regardless of whether I feel the domaine in question is over- or under-rated) known though; I think keeping quiet about wines you don’t like is the easy way out, a good way to ensure you don’t upset anybody, and you won’t be refused a place on the next press trip.

There is a danger, though, that criticising wines in this manner could be seen as negative or even detrimental. I hope the latter isn’t the case, but when it comes to the former the best thing I can do is provide some balance. So here today is a report on some of the latest releases from a domaine that is overlooked, under-rated and possibly totally misunderstood. And none of this is warranted, because the quality of work in the vineyard is exemplary, the vinifications thoughtful, and the results are simply delicious.

Thierry Michon, Domaine Saint Nicolas

So why is Thierry Michon (pictured above) of Domaine Saint Nicolas, down in Fiefs-Vendéens Brem, so unsung and unappreciated? I suspect the obscure appellation is part of it; after all, who really knows what a Fiefs-Vendéens will taste like, never mind a Fiefs-Vendéens Brem? Even those drinkers who eschew the wines of the Loire Valley altogether still have some prior concept of big-name appellations such as Muscadet, which is not far to the north, even if that concept might reflect the state of play as it stood thirty years ago rather than today. But Fiefs-Vendéens? What is it? Chenin Blanc from the Atlantic coast? Curious blends of Grolleau Gris, Chardonnay and the like? Amphora-fermented Négrette, or Gamay with a touch of sea spray?

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