By: John Majeski | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/30/2012 | Send Email
'Muscadet' is too often easily mistaken for the name of the grape that goes into the bracingly refreshing white wines from this westernmost region of the Loire. The wines themselves are made from Melon de Bourgogne, a varietal that has all but disappeared from its original home in Burgundy, long ago supplanted by the more illustrious Chardonnay. Domaine de la Pépière, under the experienced stewardship of proprietor and winemaker Marc Ollivier, has always sought to create wines of vibrant distinction and character, a sea apart from the overabundant flood of prosaic negociant wines that Muscadet was often known for. He achieves this through careful oversight of his organically-certified vineyards—all hand-picked whole cluster fruit from genetically diverse, uncloned 40-80 year old vines grown on gneiss soils— and judicious decisions in the cellar, where he opts for delicate gravity pressing followed by native yeast fermentations in underground ceramic vats shaped to permit optimal contact with the lees. All of this impeccable attention ends up in the glass, a lightly straw-colored wine of intense minerality and balanced acidity, nuanced by notes of orchard fruits, flint and lemon zest. Sea bass with fennel would pair well with this crisp white beauty.