Andrew Guard

2016 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine "Clos des Briords" Vieilles Vignes, Domaine de la Pépière

From 70-year old vines, on granite. Pure bright fruit on the nose, which is clear, lightly creamy, with some fresh herbal and mineral nuances. The wine has terrific tension and a lovely mouth-feel. Really fine potential here.

Marc Ollivier of Domaine de la Pépière, from the appellation of Muscadet  Sèvre et Maine, is one of the great vignerons of the Loire Valley. Ollivier's reputation comes from the vibrancy and density  of his wines which reflect  their terroir, which for most of his vineyards is granite, one of the less common terroirs for Muscadet, accounting for only 5% of the appellation. He has 28 hectares of vines; about 8 hectares lie on the granite of Clisson in the more southerly part of the appellation, another 12 hectares further north, on the granite of Château Thébaud; both of which contain veins of metamorphic gneiss with amphibolite stones.

It is noteworthy that Ollivier's vineyards are genetically rich as there are no clones in Ollivier's vineyards, which are increasingly tended using organic methods. The grapes are harvested by hand, with a pressing straight after harvest  and no pellicular maceration. Fermentation occurs using only naturally occurring yeasts (and no products at all to aid or adjust the vinification) which is nearly exclusively  in stainless steel  where the wine stays until bottling, for months or  up to three years as Ollivier deems necessary. The wines are then bottled with minimal addition of sulphur dioxide and the lightest of filtrations.