Domaine Saint Nicolas, 2022 Update
My first encounter with the little-known Fiefs-Vendéens appellation, more than a few years ago now (indeed, before it had even been promoted to ‘appellation’), was to me a revelation. I am sure it came only a year or two after I ‘rediscovered’ Muscadet, a personal revelation which opened my eyes to the quality of the wines (which, I realised, was not as the mainstream press portrayed it). The discovery of the wines of Fiefs-Vendéens was an experience along similar lines; Chenin Blanc, Gamay and Pinot Noir belong in Touraine and the Central Vineyards, I had thought, not down here on the Atlantic coast.
One taste of the region’s wines was enough to convince that was yet another accepted ‘fact’ which was wrong. Domaine Saint Nicolas, home to Thierry Michon (pictured below), these days helped by his sons Antoine and Mickaël, was instrumental in this discovery.
It was Patrice Michon, Thierry’s father, who established the domaine, after he settled in Brem-sur-Mer in 1960. In the mid-1980s he upgraded, building new cellars, at about the same time he was joined in his endeavours by his two sons Thierry and Eric. Thierry Michon (pictured below) has been the face of the domaine for as long as I have known it; along with his brother he has established and equipped new facilities, before they shifted the domaine into organic and then biodynamic viticulture, the latter certified by Biodyvin.
The whites feature Chenin Blanc, and they meld together the sweet character of the fruit with the fresh, saline, iodine character of the Atlantic vineyard, with great success. The reds can also be very strong though, from fruit-driven entry-level cuvées up to ageworthy cuvées of Pinot Noir and Negrette which deserve to be left sleeping in the cellar for a decade or two.