Domaine de la pépière
"Pioneered by the avuncular Marc Ollivier and now run with help from his former apprentices Rémi Branger (from another Muscadet family), Pépière has been a source for organically farmed, single-vineyard and single-cru bottlings since before anyone knew what those were." - Jon Bonné, PUNCH, March 2018
In addition to Marc and Rémi the legendary Muscadet domaine is also run by Gwénaëlle Croix who joined the team in 2010. Their history begins in 1985 with Marc Ollivier’s first vintage. In the decades since Pépière has become the standard-bearer for naturally grown Muscadet, a region where historically little consideration was given to chemical-free agriculture, individual terroir expression or the potential ageability of the wines. In 2006 they finished fully converting to organics, though many of the vineyards were farmed organically before that. They introduced biodynamic practices at that time and in 2015 officially joined Biodyvin; the French biodynamic association.
Currently they have 41 hectares of vines, 38 of which are panted to Melon de Bourgogne. 75% of this production is for the “Sur Lie” Bottling, the rest is for single vineyard wines and a bit of red. The soils they work are primarily granite and gneiss for the Sur Lie bottling though each single vineyard wine has its’ own unique Terroir such as schist and limestone. Pépière is the only producer in the region without clonal selections in their vineyards, all of their vineyards are massale selected.
Harvests are all by hand (very rare in the region), whole clusters are brought to the winery and pressed quickly in short press cycles. The wine is settled overnight then goes primarily into large concrete vats where it stays until bottling. There is no racking at all so the wines are on full solids their entire lives. Around 1 year for the “Sur Lie” Bottling but often much longer for the single vineyard wines. Fermentations are all with natural yeast, though because of the low PH of the wines malolactic fermentation typically doesn’t occur. 2018 was an exception for this and you can feel the difference in the creaminess of the wines from the hot vintage. Tiny amounts of Sulfur is added towards the end of elevage, but rarely right before bottling. The idea is that you can drink the wines immediately after they have been bottled. These are some of the most age worthy white wines in the world with track records up to 30 years at some of the best value you will find anywhere. Enjoy!
A.O.C Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine
100% Melon de Bourgogne from their vineyards primarily based on sandy granite-based soils. This is the benchmark style of the estate: racy, crisp, mineral with a hint of richness.