Jo Landron Muscadet Nouveau Grains de Raisins 2015
I am aware that the Loire Valley has something of a monopoly on my weekend drinking at the moment, with last week’s 2013 Cave Saint-Verny Puy de Dôme Gamay 2013 merely the latest in a long run of Loire Valley wines stretching right back to the 2006 Régis Minet Pouilly-Fumé in October. I had intended to focus on some other region today, maybe something from Bordeaux, or perhaps further afield. But then this wine came along, and I was drawn in like a sailor who has heard the call of the sirens. There is very something exciting about getting your hands on the first wine from a new vintage, when only a couple of months ago that the grapes were still hanging on the vine. Especially when that vintage is 2015, which sounds like it could be a really good one.
Early reports suggest the 2015 vintage holds much promise along the entire length of the Loire Valley, the only disappointment being that the weather didn’t hold long enough to give the vignerons the opportunity to make lots of superb sweet wines to match the delightful dry wines that I hear are coming our way. In Muscadet specifically harvest reports spoke of good quality fruit, the berries golden and ripe, the result of a long and sunny growing season. There was a little rot just towards the end of the picking, but nothing to worry about – certainly nothing like the disastrous 2011 vintage. The acidity levels were good, and the wines should have a fresh but rich style, perfect for both classicists and hedonists alike.
I would like to say that this Nouveau cuvée from Jo Landron is a good barometer for the quality of the vintage, and while this seems eminently sensible I don’t have the experience with it to say so. This cuvée is mostly sold in France, and I think it disappears from lists almost as suddenly as it appeared, just two or three weeks earlier. The 2011 vintage was the last one I tasted, with Jo in May 2012, and on that occasion it certainly was a very precise barometer for the rot-soaked vintage. I suspect the fact Jo still had a few bottles to pour at that late moment, more than six months after the harvest, was a reflection of this. Usually, the wine would be sold out long before then, and thus it following years I never even had a sniff of the 2012, 2013 or 2014. It was only by chance that I came across this bottle of the 2015. I note the merchant I bought it from has already sold out, so don’t get your hopes up if you are planning on tracking some down.
The 2015 Jo Landron Muscadet Nouveau Grains de Raisins is bottled under a cheap agglomerate cork, as you might expect for a cuvée of this standing. It has, unsurprisingly, a very pale hue. The aromatics feel delicious, clean and very expressive; this is no light, simple, floral-fruit wine, instead presenting a very classic array of aromas including apples, sea salt, thyme and pear skin. The sense of salty spray it conveys is particularly surprising and pleasing too, as I wasn’t expecting anything so characterful in such a basic, early release. The palate doesn’t disappoint, with a fresh character, bright and yet supple, gently textured too, with a lovely acid freshness. It doesn’t have too much in the way of length, but that’s hardly the point, is it? This is quite delightful, sour and salty, and most of all completely straight up, with real substance and pithy texture. A yummy first look at the latest Loire vintage. 16/20 (21/12/15)