No wine captures the essence of Muscadet better than Pepiere's Clos des Briords. It is a formidable white wine that seems to get better every year, driving demand up and supply down.
A wine that tastes amazing upon release, Clos des Briords is one of those rare white wines that also ages very well. Most years, I'm lucky if I get 2 or 3 cases. This year, I demanded 10 cases (halfway jokingly), and my distributor gave me the green light. Yee hah!
2020 Domaine de la Pepiere Muscadet 'Clos des Briords'
Drinks like Cru Chablis at half the price!
Year in and year out, this is my favorite Muscadet. Unfortunately, I rarely get enough to "do anything" with, but this year, I'm excited to share my generous allocation with you. Many of you are already "Muscadet converts," but if you've never had it, this would be an incredible place to start.
Imagine if the first Bordeaux you had was Lafite, the first Champagne you ever had was perfectly aged Dom Perignon, or the first Red Burgundy you ever had was Romanee Conti. That's exactly what I'm offering you here -- one of the best of its type, but less than $25! For those in the know, this remains one of the finest French white wine values out there.
Muscadet is the AOC in the far western reaches of the Loire Valley, where the Loire River empties into the Atlantic. For years, the humble Melon grape was responsible for simple and crisp whites perfect for washing down local oysters or other creatures from the sea. That changed in the late 1980's when producers like Marc Ollivier of Domaine de la Pepiere began to "experiment with things."
Ollivier, along with a small tribe of other passionate producers, helped elevate Muscadet to new heights. This was achieved by working only with old vines, converting to organics, harvesting and sorting by hand, and aging on the lies for much longer periods of time. Their hard work paid off, and I Clos des Briords is a product of all of this hard work.
To Muscadet lovers, Clos des Briords is the crown jewel and one of the unofficial "Grand Crus" of the region. It is produced from an old, rocky site that consistently yields a Muscadet that drinks more like Cru Chablis than like a simple "seafood white." There is purity, a denser and fuller fruit profile, and a complex minerality that sets this apart from its peers. It's just got IT, I don't know how else to explain.
In its youth, this is a charming wine with fresh notes of pear, green apple, lemon oil, and fleur de sel....perfect for oysters on the half shell. But give this 5 to 7 years of development, and the wine changes, pretty dramatically. The fruit gets riper and richer, the mouthfeel broader, and the minerality more integrated. To me, it takes on an almost Alsatian-like character, and I'm talking Grand Cru Alsatian. Who doesn't like that?
Like I said, this is completely charming right out of the gate, but it's just going to get better. My advice -- take advantage of the 6-pack pricing, and take the journey. Once those 10 cases are gone, we will be waiting on the next vintage to arrive.