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Domaine de L'ECU - Muscadet
Famous Muscadets by Domaine de l'Ecu
Domaine de l'Ecu produces great muscadets in biodynamics, and the vintages "Classique" (to taste young), "Granite" and "Orthogneiss" (to preserve), are renowned throughout the world.
Since 2010, the undisputed master of biodynamics in the Muscadet appellation has sold his illustrious vinyard to Frédéric Niger.
If Guy Bossard was present in the vineyard to pass on his knowledge, Frédéric Niger is now the only master on board. It follows the path traced by the precursor Guy Bossard, (certification in Biodynamics in 1998), while appropriating his lands and adapting his work to his own philosophy: "We have renounced all technological artifice in the cellar to break with the standardization of the wines and preserve the bond linking each of our wines to a terroir and a vintage. We are proud to be part of the groups of vine growers in Biodynamics "Renaissance des Appellations" and "Biodyvin" who both advocate this respect for the terroir and this search for pure wine, without blush or deceit ... "
As with the greatest biodynamic wines in France, the vines - from massive selections - are plowed, harvested by hand, and wines vinified with indigenous yeasts. And for several decades: organic farming since the 1970s, it was in 1992 that the parents of Guy Bossard switched to biodynamics! Each vintage represents wonderfully the specific minerality of the terroir that serves - naturally - by name.
The classic vintage can be tasted young, on the freshness. "Orthogneiss" and "Granite" deserve a few years in the cellar to open. They can be tasted young, but we will only realize the enormous potential of a contained minerality, which really does exhibit - iodized flavors in support - only after 3-4 years and can preserve about ten years.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate : If you doubt Muscadet can be serious, taste the Muscadets de terroir from the Domaine de l'Ecu – they are fabulous! Although I neither tasted the whole range nor older vintages, I am pretty sure these extremely pure and mineral wines can age for many years and will become even more complex at 5 or 10 years old.
Since his beginning in 1972, Guy Bossard has cultivated all his vineyards organically and, since 1998, is certified by Demeter with all his 22 hectares of vines. "I can only express the different soils of our vineyards when I work the soils," he says. As his successor, to whom he "will transfer the reigns slowly over several years," he chose Fred, a former information technologist who changed his life, but not his passion for great wines. As member of the group "Renaissance des Appellations," Guy and Fred aim "to restore the reputation of the vineyards of the Nantes region." "We produce dry white wines for keeping, which are at the same time crystal clear, of a great purity and impressed with an exacerbated minerality," they sum up their goals.
There are three Muscadets de terroir – Gneiss, Orthogneiss and Granite – and some other highly interesting Vins de France made in amphorae with varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and – Melon de Bourgogne.
Thanks to the Berlin-based importer Sébastien Visentin, I tasted some of the 2012s and 2013s in summer in Germany. 2013 was a very low production of around 13 hectoliters per hectare – "that's the main difference between the 2012/2013," I was told via mail. I also asked why there are several Vins de France, when you want to spread the world with true Muscadets? "I am proud to produce Muscadet but I am also very proud to produce Vin de France," Fred replied. "It would be a nonsense to ask for an AOC stamp, especially for wines vinified in amphoras.“ The Domaine owns 33 amphoras from 150, 300 to 450 liters. "It's difficult enough for us to get the agreement with the regular range (Gneiss, Orthogneiss, Granite), so I don't think they would taste and understand the spirit of the wines... Furthermore there is no red wines allowed in my AOC. I even vinified some orange wines now and some other free sulfites wines you didn't taste yet... A bit disturbing for the local area and the tasting panel, believe me…"
The total range of Domaine de l'Ecu is 13 bottles: five Muscadets and eight Vins de France. I'm deeply impressed by the wines I have had already and I am very much looking to visit the Domaine next year to see how Guy and Fred work, and how all of their wines taste – also when matured.
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