21 February 2011

la renaissance des aoc's: domaine de l'ecu

Just a petit mot about Domaine de l'Ecu's rocking 2010 Muscadets, which I tasted while waiting in line to taste Nicolas Joly's Savennieres at the Renaissance des Appellations this year. As I mentioned in a previous post, the latter wines were all showing fairly hot and flabby, which let-down made the Domaine de l'Ecu wines shine even brighter, in retrospect. Winemaker Guy Bossard makes what to many drinkers are oxymoronic wines: a range of complex, elegant Muscadets, gem-like in their precision, each named for its soil type:  Gneiss, Granite, and Orthogneiss.

Now, it's not news to me that Muscadet can be profound. I seem to encounter a version meant to knock my socks off at least once every six months: often it's a screaming bargain, by a top producer of Muscadet, with seven to ten years' age on it. As much as I enjoy the experience, this genre of profound Muscadet seems to me to be of chiefly archival interest: somms gather round and nod with surprise and delight that after so many years such simple wines are showing strange inanimate-sweet flavors, none of which are, upon further reflection, very pleasurable. Creamed corn, seaweed, dirty mineral, etc.

What sets the Bossard wines apart is they are not merely good-for-Muscadet. With the exception of the basic "Cuvée Boss'Art," which seems to be a 'what-do-we-do-with-the-leftovers' kind of wine, they all possess a chiseled grace that places them among the most enjoyable whites I tasted at the Renaissance this year.

What struck me most was the aromatic focus of the vintage. All three soil-specific wines were terrific, but the "Expression de Granite" in particular had a totally captivating cologne & graham cracker nose. Say what you will about the necessity of aging these wines; they're showing wonderfully right this second.

Guy Bossard is a 5th generation biodynamic winemaker based in Le Landreau, within the Sèvre et Maine appellation. He's got 20ha of vineyards of an average age of 45 years.  Apparently there is no 6th generation waiting in the wings, so he's put the estate up for sale.* Frankly, if anyone would like to purchase this estate for me, I can think of worse fates than eking out the rest of my years producing perennially underestimated benchmark Muscadets.

* It has been on the market for a while. Anyone have any news on this?

Related Links:

Loire Road Trip, pt. I: Domaine Guiberteau
Loire Road Trip, pt. II: Clos Rougeard
Loire Road Trip, pt. III: Café de la Promenade
Loire Road Trip, pt. IV: Renaissance des AOCs
Loire Road Trip, pt. V: Bistrot de la Place, Saumur
Loire Road Trip, pt. VI: La Dive Bouteille
Loire Road Trip, pt. VII: Quedubon Homecoming

Renaissance des AOC's: Elisabetta Foradori's new amphora crus

An excellent, comprehensive profile of Domaine de l'Ecu @ TheWineDoctor
A profile of Domaine de l'Ecu @ Kysela, with which profile I take some exception due to their stupid jocular expression of moron distrust of "organic" winemaking, as though it were some wild crazy feat to be merely organic, when Domaine de l'Ecu are in fact biodynamic.
Another rave about Domaine de l'Ecu @ BrooklynGuy

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