SOLD OUT! When it comes to Muscadet, all lovers of this dry, crisp and mineralic Loire Valley white would agree that Domaine de la Pepiere is the reference-point estate of the AOC. The 2020 Merci Muscadet is a new bottling, and it's got a great but heartbreaking story.
"Merci" is named in gratitude to vigneron friends of Pepiere who supplied finished 2020 wines for this special, one-off bottling that is helping to cover Pepiere's 95% crop loss in the 2021 vintage. Horrible spring frosts ravaged the vineyards of the Loire Valley in 2021, and simply put, there's not going to be much wine available. I was lucky to get a 7 case allocation of this one.
2020 La Pepie 'Merci' Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine
Dry, racy, and minerally white, perfect for oysters and seafood!
For years, this dynamic estate was run by Marc Ollivier, aka the "Master of Muscadet." Marc and his wife Genevieve retired in 2019, but they left Domaine de la Pepiere in great hands. Today, Pepiere is run by Remi Branger and Gwenaelle Croix. Remi grew up in Marc's vineyards and worked with Marc starting in 2006, becoming a partner in 2011. Gwenaelle worked at Pepiere in 2013, hit it off with Marc and Remi, and was invited on as a partner in 2014. I have noticed no decline in quality (far from it) since the duo took over.
These two young vignerons are carrying on Marc's vision of crafting world-class Muscadet. More than any other producer in the region, Marc elevated the reputation of Muscadet and showed that the humble Melon de Bourgogne grape could produce much more than simple, tart wines. Pepiere was one of the first in the region to convert their vineyards to organics and biodynamics, they've always harvested by hand, and they ferment with native yeasts. This artisanal approach in a highly mechanized region inspired many others, and Muscadet is better now than it’s ever been. Thanks Marc, Remi, and Gwenaelle!
This 35 year old estate is located in Maisdon-Sur-Sèvre, in the far western reaches of the Loire Valley. Guess what’s super close? The ocean and oysters and seafood! What grows together goes together. Furthermore, Pepiere’s vineyards are in the prime Sèvre et Maine section, named after the two rivers that flow through it. If you can’t get your hands on any oysters -- mussels or shrimp will work just fine.
So what does “sur lie” mean? Good question! It’s the process of aging the wine on the spent yeast cells after fermentation, and this process not only enhances the texture of this tank fermented white, it also adds complex spice notes. In addition, there’s lovely aromas and flavors of pear, apple, tropical fruits, and a hint of orange peel. And mineral too! Yes, the minerality in Muscadet smells and tastes of the sea. This brininess is why Muscadet is so good with oysters!
If you love Chablis or other no-oak, crisp whites, you’re gonna’ love this! It’s oh-so refreshing, but it’s also interesting. It makes you think……of the ocean and oysters. My mouth is watering!