NV Stéphane Orieux Scintilla Extra Brut
Region: Sèvre-et-Maine < Loire Valley < France
Grapes: Gros-Plant (Folle Blanche) 80%, Chardonnay 20%
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming; 50+ year old vines on schist + granite soils, traditional method; hand harvest, pressed and co-fermented with native yeasts; 18 months on the lees; bottled with minimal So2; 12% ABV
Winemaker: Stéphane Orieux
The Loire Valley is a varied region, spanning from the more continental climate of the eastern villages to a maritime influence in the east. The Sèvre-et-Maine appellation is known for Muscadet wines, the crisp, mineral driven whites that are the quintessential oyster pairing. Domaine de la Bregeonnette's 2nd gen winemaker Stéphane Orieux took over from his father Joseph, who converted the estate to organic agriculture back in 1967 – truly a pioneer here. Stéphane has continued (now certified by Ecocert) the great vineyard work of his father, continuing to hand-harvest, eschew additives and use only minimal sulfur at bottling.
His 'Scintilla' bottling is an unusual wine for the area and for the domaine. It is a methode traditionalle wine, based on the Gros-Plant grape (AKA Folle Blanche). Gros-Plant is a very high acid grape, typically used in the production of Cognac. Stephane blends the grape with Chardonnay to create this unique bubbly. Although this wine spends 18 months on the lees, it is lifted and fresh with the requisite acidity of the region, plus an added level of flowers and chalky, chipped stone. The hint of sea salt on the finish makes this a perfect match for sushi, or, you guessed it, raw oysters!