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Domaine de la Pepiere, 'Clos des Briords' Muscadet Sevre et Maine 2022
France / White

Domaine de la Pepiere, 'Clos des Briords' Muscadet Sevre et Maine 2022

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Notes from David Bowler Wine:

"When Marc started Pépière with seven hectares, the terroir was unified and it made sense to produce only one wine. But as the estate grew and the terroirs diversified, he began doing "what has always been done in the rest of France": he was already vinifying each parcel separately, so it was intuitive to start bottling single vineyard cuvées: Clos des Briords in 1988, Cormermais in 1992... While this may seem totally normal to the average French oenophile, the Muscadet works a bit differently.

Despite having some of the most varied terroirs and micro-climates in all of France, it remains a region of scale and bulk dominated by large négociant operations. One could optimistically opine that Muscadet's strength lies in blending all of its terroir into a more complex whole, but the blunt and far less charming truth is that most vignerons get paid (poorly) for grapes by the kilo irrespective of where they are grown because négociants don't care. Even for independent estates, it is quite common to only produce a single cuvée despite the obvious variations of soil and micro-climates within their plots.

Because the appellation is vast, grows only one grape and produces largely for immediate consumption, prices remain artificially low and do not encourage risk taking or breaking the mold. Despite being some of the cheapest viticultural land in all of France and home to living legends like Jo Landron, Michel Brégeon, Guy Bossard, Marc Pesnot, Luneau-Papin and of course Pépière itself, the environment remains poorly suited for small, ambitious vignerons. A young kid could easily, for example, start a four hectare estate in Anjou and find an immediate audience. In the Muscadet they'd need at least double the surface, would still have to charge much more than the average local bottle and would find themselves fighting an uphill battle in a reticent, price driven market. It's a shame and also why you don't see a tremendous amount of new talent emerging like in other cheap areas such the aforementioned Anjou, Touraine, Roussillon, Mâconnais or the Beaujolais.

Clos des Briords is located on the hillsides of the river Maine, a tributary of the Loire. The site totals 4.40 hectares and the vines were planted between 1950 and 1989, with the vast majority between 50 and 70 years old. These are the oldest vines of the estate and planted on soils of "granite de Thébaud".

Muscadet Sevre et Maine
Melon de Bourgogne
Fermented in stainless steel tanks with natural yeasts; the wine is aged on its lees for 2 years in large underground vats until being bottled without fining or filtering.