Domaine Louis M̩taireau Grand Mouton РLoire

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The Grand Mouton vineyard occupies a slope of the Maine River overlooking St. Fiacre, with its ancient church perched high atop a hill. Behind it is the Sèvre River, the other component of the famed Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine sub-appellation. The domaine’s vines range in age from 30+ years to a parcel planted in 1937. To protect the vines, they are tended organically and everything is harvested by hand, a rarity in an area where 98% of all grapes are machine harvested. Today, the stewards of the domaine are Marie-Luce Metaireau and Jean-Francois Guilbaud.

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We were welcomed to their kitchen table for a tasting. The wines (all 100% Melon) stay 6 to 8 months on lees, un-racked, living in cement casks lined with glass not unlike a bottle. The winery produces three labels – Grand Mouton, Carte Noire and Cuvee 1. In the Grand Mouton wines, the storied terroir will always shine through with the most mineral expression. The 2012 had minerality balanced with an already burgeoning elegance, while the 2011 had higher acidity and more prominent minerality on display. In contrast, the 2011 Petit Mouton (from the estate’s youngest vines, which are about 30 year old) was fresh, austere and perfect for oysters.

Carte Noire tended to be more fruit forward and rounder than Grand Mouton as it is picked later in the harvest. We tasted four Cuvee 1 vintages – the 2011 showing beautiful balance and elegance, while 2010 led with fruit. The 2005 Cuvee 1 was exceptional, a rich nose, very complex with an acid finish bringing together the full power of the wine.

Website: www.muscadet-grandmouton.com


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