From our beginnings, our only goal has been to express Muscadet’s terroir under all its different guises.
Early on, Marc identified a particular plot by noticing that “wines I had aged in old barrels had different tastes. With a glance at a geological map, I understood“. This is how the cuvée of Clos des Briords came to be: from a plot of old vines growing on granite.
In 2006, we were able to acquire a beautiful parcel, les Gras Moutons. Located on top of a small hill at the edge of the Maine River, where the wind always blows, the vines of Melon de Bourgogne were thriving on a soil of gneiss.
From the onset, we also understood that to express terroir (soil, micro-climate, exposure, etc ) we needed good viticultural practices. Just one example: we have always harvested by hand.
Modern techniques, particularly enological additives, allow a winemaker to change, correct and adjust any aspect of his/her wine. We chose not to take that path, and our minimal intervention in the cellar guides our choices in the vineyards.
We have been striving for years to get grapes of the highest quality. We’ve developed a treillissage on three wires in order to achieve the best ripeness possible through more foliage, which enrich the berries in sugar.
This technique, along with short pruning, ensure that we don’t have to chaptalize (add sugar to the juice) in the cellar. Fermentation occurs naturally, thanks to the yeast of the grape skins.
In 2006, we stopped using herbicides, opting instead to plow and lightly rake the soil. In 2007, we took our organic work a step further by treating our vines only with copper, sulfur and several plant-based preparations. We harvest nettles, comfrey and horsetail along the Maine River and use these plants by steeping them, fermenting them or in the form of decoctions.
We use biodynamic preparations to reinforce our vines against disease and help the micro-biological life of the soils. The whole estate is certified in organic vitculture and is in transition to a biodynamic certification.
In the early 2000s, groups of Muscadet winemakers started defining particularly interesting plots and chose to emphasize the variety of terroirs in the region. We’ve been there since the beginning, and made our first bottling of Clisson in 2005, from a vineyard with a subsoil of well-draining granite.
A few years later, in 2009, we made Château Thébaud from a subsoil of granodiorite (a type of granite made up of amphibolite, mica and a lot of quartz and white feldspar.) In 2013, we harvested our first cru Monnières-Saint Fiacre, a gneiss terroir. And in 2014, we produced our first cru Gorges from a gabbro terroir (gabbro is a volcanic rock that contains feldspar with sodium and calcium, and pyroxene, which is a volcanic silicate.)
These cru wines stay on their lees for 2 to 4 years. During the aging, the dead yeast that makes up the lees turns into glycerol and other aromatic components: the wines acquire a round, fat texture, toasted aromas and notes of candied fruit.