2017 Domaine de L’Eau, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine “Granite” Loire Valley White, France.
The classic and briskly focused Domaine de L’Ecu Granite, from old vine Melon de Bourgogne in Muscadet’s Sèvre et Maine zone on granite soils for which this cuvee gets its name, is bursting with energy and subtle concentration, coming across a touch serve, but with air it turns amazingly lovely and should age decades. The 2017 shows loads of bright citrus and liquid mineral with light leesy notes, it leans on lemon/lime, wet river stones, a touch of white peach, straw, verbena and bitter almond. Fred Niger used traditional methods here and all organic grapes with low sulfur, as he prefers a very natural approach, he employs a gentile touch with his wines in the cellar all of which are gravity fed with no use of pumps, 100% wild yeast fermentations with no racking of the must, again with ultra low or no sulfur depending on the wine, with only 25 mg of sulfur added between alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in this Muscadet. As will all Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, by law, it was aged on the lees, in Fred’s cool underground vats, for 15-18 months, everything done to preserve freshness, vitality and purity, which really shows in this 2017 Granite, making for a vigorous white white that is a glorious Summer wine that will go fantastic with freshly shucked oysters and or chill beach sipping.
The Granite is a unique single parcel Muscadet from 50-60 year old vines in a single soil type that flows crisply across the palate with refreshing acidity, though that 15 plus months on the lees in tank adds a polished textural quality. Domaine de l’Ecu was originally founded by the pioneering Guy Bossard, who was a visionary in the region, like Joly saw the future in a spiritual connection to the land and the vines, going all organic in 1972, then the first in Muscadet to get certified biodynamic by Demeter in 1998. L’Ecu has been producing unique, single terroir wines for almost 40 years running now and Fred Niger, who trained extensively with Guy before taking over the estate in 2012, is an equally hands on vigneron and fanatic in the vineyards, he crops extremely low, and produces Muscadets that have remarkable depth, precision, as well as ageability. Like Guy, Fred is deeply committed to biodynamic and organic practices but he has taken these commitments even further by incorporating various types of energy work in the vineyards and in the cellar, as well as working with various vessels for aging including terracotta amphora and working without any, as mentioned above, added sulfur in many cuvées. Niger is like the Ganevat of the Loire, crafting an amazing array of wines, I adore his Muscadets, along with his more obscure wines like his Ange clay pot aged whole cluster sans soufre Pinot Noir and both his Gamay and Cabernet Franc too.
($26 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive