2020 La Pépière “Cuvée Merci’ Blanc
Region: Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine < Loire Valley < France
Grapes: Melon de Bourgogne
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified oorganic farming; 60 year-old vines on soils of decomposed granite with sandy topsoil; slow direct press (4 hours); fermentation in 1 large glas lined underground cement tanks sur lie, then racked and aged in stainless steel tank for another 3 months; bottled unfined with a light filtration (vegan) and minimal added So2; 12% ABV
Winemaker: Rémi Branger + Gwénaëlle Croix
Domaine de la Pépière is a leading protagonist in natural wine importer Louis/Dressner’s universe. The institution was the first Loire winery in the LDM book, and their wines are renowned worldwide as delicious and cellar-worthy Muscadet. In a remarkable twist of fate and flex of serious winemaking talent, the 2021 weather disasters in Northern France served instead to inspire rather than defeat: unable to release their trademark ‘La Pepie’ cuvée due to hail and frost and other vineyard tragedy, the Domaine has elected to rely on some really great neighbors. This wine, cuvée “Merci” (thank you in French), is a blend of selected tanks of fully vinified wine from two of Remi and Gwen’s vigneron friends that the pair bought in order to have something fresh to release in 2022. Although this is not an estate Pépière wine, it is incredibly delicious and a true reflection of Pépière’s style.
Typically briny, crisp and clean, Muscadet (the quintessential oyster wine) is simple, easy and plentiful, especially in France. It’s also hard to find clean, organic versions in this big, conventional region that spits out a bunch of cheap plonk along with a few gems. So we were excited to find this natty one with so much character and soul. Light, lemony, incredibly refreshing, with a bit of texture and complexity from the lees aging. Extended time on the lees adds subtlety, complexity and zippiness to the wine along with bright fruit (nectarine, zesty green apple!) and crisp acidity. Like all Muscadet, it pairs beautifully with oysters on the half shell, but it also goes well with fish of all sorts and veggies, even the hard-to-pair ones. Try with artichoke.