Domaine du Tremblay Quincy 2016
I have been telling myself for years I needed to explore outside the famous Central Vineyard appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. It’s always easy to visit the famous names, in famous wine regions; we know the domaines to follow, and we already know their best wines. Revisiting them is comfortable, like slipping on an old pair of slippers. But I think I have a duty to explore this region a little more than that. A duty to try on some new shoes from time to time.
Quincy has long been something of an enigma to me. An isolated drop of viticulture in an agricultural ocean, on a sandy, silty and gravelly river plain, a long way from the limestone slopes and soils of its more sought-after neighbours. But through visiting the region earlier this year, tasting with some of the appellation’s top vignerons, adding a number of new profiles to this site, including Jacques Rouzé, Adèle Rouzé and Domaine Roux (with more to come), I think I am finally getting to grips with it. When I eventually finish my slowly expanding guide to Muscadet, and move onto the Central Vineyards, it will be a pleasure to write on this appellation in more detail. The wines offer much more than I had expected them to. The terroir might be against them, but there are some dedicated and very skilled vignerons here, doing some very good things.
One such vigneron is Jean Tatin, who with his wife Chantal Wilk runs several domaines in the appellation, including Domaine du Tremblay, Jean’s ancestral home. Like so many domaines in the region its focus was once general agriculture rather than viticulture, and it was only when Jean and Chantal moved back from their lives in Paris to Quincy that they really began to plant vines on the property, starting in 1989. These first vines were in Le Pressoir, close to Brinay, and it is one of the most highly regarded vineyards in the appellation. From those first few rows of vines the domaine has grown to more than 25 hectares in both the Quincy and Reuilly appellations, marketed under the names of several different domaines.
The entry-level cuvée tasted here accounts for the best part of production at Domaine du Tremblay, and it is vinified in the Cave Romane in Brinay, one of several co-operative style shared vinification facilities in the region. The fruit comes from vines grown in sandy-gravelly soil typical of the region, 75% from 20-year old vines, 25% from old vines, which in the eyes of Jean Tatin probably means between 35 and 50 years of age (at least that is the definition he uses for his superior vieilles vignes cuvée). In the glass, the 2016 Quincy from Domaine du Tremblay has a pale, pale, pale straw hue, showing very little pigment at all. The aromatics feel very true to the variety, which is Sauvignon Blanc of course, showing seams of capsicum, box tree, and bitter grapefruit pith. It certainly captures my attention, and it isn’t short on charm either. The palate wraps it up with a vibrant and punchy style, showing plenty of intertwined energy, texture, pithy bitterness and a naturally fresh acidity. A quite classic style, something more of a vin de soif than I was expecting to be straight, wearing its varietal heart on its sleeve, so it will appeal to fans of the variety more than those looking for great interest. For that, I should perhaps look to Jean’s more serious old vine or terroir-defined cuvées, some of which I have lined up for tasting soon. 15.5/20 • 91/100 (14/8/17)