Domaine Saint Nicolas, 2023 Update
The Fiefs-Vendéens appellation, home to Thierry Michon of Domaine Saint Nicolas, is arguably the most isolated in the Loire Valley (obviously, for my convenience, I am putting the Côte Roannaise, Côtes du Forez and the other Massif Central vineyards to one side for the moment).
Once part of the great Atlantic vineyard (a term I just invented) which ran from the coast of Brittany all the way down across the mouth of the Loire and then on through Cognac to Bordeaux, today they are tiny splashes of vines on a canvas of wheat fields and bocage. They are a long way from anywhere of vinous interest; the journey time from Clisson is well over an hour (and I mean by car, not walking), and thus by extension they are well over an hour from everywhere else in the Loire Valley. And the rest of the world.
Isolated vineyards should not be overlooked though; sometimes they turn out the most exciting wines (think Jasnières and the Coteaux du Loire, and of course those aforementioned bastions of Gamay Saint-Romain on the slopes of the Massif Central). This is certainly true of the Fiefs-Vendéens, where Thierry Michon, of Domaine Saint Nicolas, proves that you don’t need a great appellation to make great wine.Please log in to continue reading: