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Complémen’Terre Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Le Breil 2015

Complémen’Terre Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Le Breil 2015

After two weeks of tasting Bordeaux 2018 barrel samples, and three weeks of typing, editing and publishing my tasting notes and scores, this week marks a complete turn around in my focus. During the day, from Monday to Friday, I will be judging the Loire Valley submissions for this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards. Meanwhile, each evening, I have a number of wines from Chinon lined up for drinking, all from the 2005 vintage. These are wines to which I had planned to return sometime next year, when they hit their fifteenth birthday, but I thought I should take an early peek at some of them this week. The reason? Solely my own drinking pleasure, which I suspect is good enough for most readers. And the fact that, on checking my own stocks, I seem to have a lot of bottles from this vintage.

In the run-up to my week of Decanter tastings and 2005 Chinon, though, I thought I would take a look at another cuvée from Complémen’Terre. This is a domaine I have featured here in the past, the first time when I cast the Weekend Wine spotlight onto the 2015 Complémen’Terre Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Le Mortier Gobin, my introduction to the domaine. I must confess I was not entirely convinced. The wine had charm, but malolactic fermentation does not always sit well with Muscadet in my opinion. And the very natural approach taken by Manuel Landron and Marion Pescheux means that malolactic fermentation is not unusual here.

Complémen'Terre Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Le Breil 2015

When I reported on the 2015 Le Mortier Gobin I noted that the domaine had a lot of Gamay, and within the portfolio of wines produced Muscadet was very much in the minority. Happily this has already changed, as I learnt when I visited Manuel and Marion in December last year; they are now focusing much more on Melon de Bourgogne, with a little Folle Blanche on the side. And quite right too, when you have vines in Le Breil, a lieu-dit which fans of Jo Landron will know well, it having been a longstanding feature of his portfolio of wine. Indeed this knowledge is very relevant here, because Manuel’s vines in Le Breil were in fact donated to them by Jo, who is his father. The lieu-dit is predominantly orthogneiss, with some superficial silica and clay, the vines planted in 1991.

The vinification of the 2015 Complémen’Terre Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Le Breil was straightforward, the fruit pressed, allowed to cold-settle, then it underwent alcoholic and malolactic fermentations in stainless steel cuve. After between eight and twelve months élevage on the lees, the wine was lightly filtered, and then bottled. The total sulphite level, for those interested, is 35 mg/l. In the glass it has a pale straw hue. This is followed by a quite perfumed nose, one filled with the scents of rose petals and rahat lokum, along with more curious scents (for a white wine) of pomegranate and baked rhubarb. The palate maintains a relatively cool and fresh character, perfumed and plump, albeit with a quite lovely chalky edge, and a delightfully fresh acidity, especially bearing in mind the warmer nature of the vintage and the malolactic. In the finish it shows a fresh, pithy and bright character, with good length, even if it does carry a little caramelised malolactic edge. On the whole this is a convincing wine, and I have warmed to it more than I did to the 2015 Le Mortier Gobin; while it does not offer the fabulous mineral and acid definition I usually look for in Muscadet, there is no denying it has quality and charm. 92/100 (29/4/19)

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