2009 Claude Branger "Les Fils de Gras Mouton" Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie
Claude Branger is a tall, soft-spoken gentleman with silver hair. He dresses neatly and modestly, and there is about him, as there is about his wines, a clear sense of refinement. His grandfather developed the wine domaine of Haute Févrie during the First World War. Today his wife Thérèse manages the office while his son Sébastien works beside him. They farm 61 acres in two parishes in the heart of the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine appellation. The small river of La Sèvre is just to the north, cutting deep into land; further south and east is the sister river of La Petite Maine. This is the domaine’s base wine, and it’s one of the truly great buys out there. The wine comes from 26 acres of vines in Branger’s earlier maturing plots (while named the son of the wine below, this does not come from the same vineyard—but it is made in the same spirit). The soil runs from 10 to 16 inches deep and the granite bedrock is metamorphic gneiss full of mica and quartz. These vines average 35 years of age and their yield averages 50 hectoliters per hectare (the legal maximum permitted in the AC, and thus the norm, is 55 hl/ha). The wine rests on its lees for six to seven months before bottling, and a productive year will see 5,800 cases made.