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Red wines from the 2013 vintage of Marc Olivier’s Domaine de la Pépière

September 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Marc Olivier of Domaine de la Pépière produced his first wine in the 1980s.  His vineyards are located in the western part of the Loire in Muscadet.  Muscadet is known for its white wines with Marc Olivier’s Clos de Briords appearing in this blog several times.  Today’s post features his three red wines.  These wines are made with fruit from a single plot of 40+ year old Cabernet Franc as well as young plots of Côt, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  According to the excellent Le Pépière (Loire) post on Wine Terroirs these plots are on soil of Granit de Clisson with south-western exposure to aid in ripening.

Old vines.  Image from Domaine de la Pépière.

Old vines. Image from Domaine de la Pépière.

We tasted these wines over a period of three days and they remained rock stable.  Marc Oliver does not add any sulphur at bottling because he aims to already have enough free sulphur in the wine left over from its addition during élevage in the winter.  There was no hint of the dreaded Pilsner note.  Instead these remained fresh, young, and aromatic wines.  The flavors lean towards the tart and dry with lively acidity so these may not be wines for everyone.  The 2013 Domaine de la Pépière, Le Pepie, Côt, VdP Loire was the simplest of the three.  The 2013 Domaine de la Pépière, Le Pepie, Cabernet Franc, VdP Loire – $13 offered more expression with an interesting tension from the ripe and dry flavors.  My favorite was the 2013 Domaine de la Pépière, Cuvee Granit, VdP Loire which had a more complex nose and impeccable balance.  It steps forward from the young and grapey Le Pepie wines to show more gravity.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2013 Domaine de la Pépière, Le Pepie, Côt, VdP Loire – $13
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This wine is 100% Côt sourced from young vines around 10 years of age.  It was fermented in tanks.  Alcohol 12%.  The nose revealed orange hints mixed with red fruit.  It was a simpler nose with less of the white pepper and graphite.  In the mouth were light, lifted flavors that were tart and started with some spritz on the tongue.  It had good acidity, a light grapey nature, and reacted well to air.  ** Now-2019.

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2013 Domaine de la Pépière, Le Pepie, Cabernet Franc, VdP Loire – $13
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc that was fermented in tanks.  Alcohol 12%.  There was a very light nose of cranberry and tart, red fruit with hints of fresh white pepper.  In the mouth this wine had textured and lively acidity, tart dry red fruit, and a ripe, wood polish note.  Its hard to describe but there was a nice contrast to the ripe flavors and dryness of the wines.  ** Now-2019.

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2013 Domaine de la Pépière, Cuvee Granit, VdP Loire – $15
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This is typically a blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 20% Côt, 20% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 12%.  This bore a nose of fine graphite, white pepper, and sweet floral potpourri.  In the mouth were tart, red fruit then black fruit.  The white pepper continues through the wine.  The lighter and dry flavors had watering acidity before turning tart black with very fine ripeness in the finish.  **(*) 2015-2020.

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Excellent Wines of the 2012 Vintage from Breton, Pelle, and Pepiere

January 10, 2014 Leave a comment

The trio of wines features in today’s post should be on everyone’s list of wines to drink.  All three on are top form and my recommendation to drink them transcends any score.  The 2012 Domaine Henri Pelle, Les Bornes Blanc drinks well right out of the bottle.  The floral, fruit, and grassy mixture engages while the texture and long finish draw you back for another sip.  The 2012 Domaine La Pepiere, Clos des Briords, Cuvee Vieilles Vignes took until the third night to fully open up.  Drunk warmer than cold it was if a switch had been flipped.  The tart flavors surround a core of ripe fruit which delivered texture and power.  I personally feel this should be cellared but if you must try it then double-decant it the day ahead.  Finally, the 2012 Catherine & Pierre Breton, Beaumont reminds me of the beauty of Cabernet Franc.  It was one year ago that I drank The Arresting 2010.  This current vintage may not have the flavor concentration but the combination of fruit, minerals, acidity, and tannins is so pleasing.  I would cellar it another six months before drinking.  These wines are at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Domaine Henri Pelle, Les Bornes Blanc, Menetou-Salon – $18
Imported by Potomac Selections.  This wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc sourced from 25 year old vines on soils of Kimmeridgian marl.  It was fermented then aged for six months in stainless steel. Alcohol 13%.  The nose had a nice mixture of floral and yellow fruit aromas.  It became a little grassy and remained delineated.  The mouth began with minerally start before acidity came out on the sides of the tongue.  After more mineral notes the wine turned drier and gripper with a persistent texture and long aftertaste.  A little grassy flavor came out in the finish. Good personality.  *** Now-2017.

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2012 Domaine de La Pepiere, Clos des Briords, Cuvee Vieilles Vignes, Muscadet Sevre et Maine -$16
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  This wine is 100% Muscadet sourced from vines planted in 1930 on soils of clay and silica over granite.  Alcohol 12%.  The color was a very light straw.  There was a fresh nose of flinty white fruit.  This wine was best on the third night when it had a ripe and tart entry followed by a ripe core of fruit.  There was plenty of focused acidity through the aftertaste as well as ample flavors of stones.  There was a good finish and aftertaste with good ripe spices.  This tangy wine had lemon flavors and good power which left a tart texture on the gums.  ***(*) 2015-2019.

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2012 Catherine & Pierre Breton, Beaumont, Chinon – $22
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from 40 year old vines on soils of clay and limestone.  It was both fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged for one year in wooden vats and barriques.  Alcohol 12%.  The nose preceded the mouth where there were focused black and red fruit flavors which were a little tart.  There were nice, black and drying tannins, minerals, and acidity which hit the back sides of the tongue.  There was a powdery, vintage perfume note.  The wine took on a little weight and expansion in the aftertaste.  So drinkable.  *** 2014-2019.

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Tasting Unlabeled and Bagged Wines With Lou

October 11, 2013 Leave a comment

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I went over to Lou’s house earlier this week to taste some wine.  He had put together a small flight of wines to taste blind so I thought it would be amusing to bring over two bottles of white wine which were missing their labels.  I never wrote down what the first wine was so it shall remain an Unknown French White Wine of recent vintage.  It was actually quite nice on the nose, certainly Sauvignon Blanc with Lou guessing Sancerre.  Next up was the 2011 Domaine de la Pépière,  Clos des Briords which Lou immediately guess as Muscadet based on the bottle.  I had double-decanted this one hour prior.  This is made from the oldest vines of the estate, planted in 1930, and I think that it is best left in the cellar.  Lou then brought out the 2010 Domaine Rolet, Chardonnay, L’Etoile.  I loved the 2007 vintage which I tasted last summer and suspect the 2010 will also develop well with age.  The last wine I brought over was the 2006 Domaine du Coulet, Brise Cailloux.  I tasted the 2006 No Wine’s Land back in the summer of 2008 and the 2008 Brise Cailloux earlier this year (thanks again to Lou).  The 2006 had a gorgeous, engaging nose which is not quite/yet matched in the mouth.  There is plenty of life ahead so I would be curious to hold on to any bottles.

We then came to the blind wines.  Lou had double-decanted them so the probably had about one hour of air before we tasted them.  I started with the first two wines and was really happy.  Parlor games are fun so I guessed the first was either from Charvin or a Stolpman, Syrah.  Having recently drunk the 2010 Stolpman, Syrah Estate, there was something familiar in mind.  Lou commented there was no California Syrah in the lineup.  In all fairness, Lou had previously offered to open up the 2008 Domaine du Pegau, Reservee due to my current interest in Pegau.  I suspected he had not for this tasting.  The second wine was certainly funkier, showing more advanced aromas and flavors, and absolutely lovely.  Remembering the 2008 Clos des Papes Phil opened last year, I guessed it was a wine from 2008.  The third wine had a brick wall of tannins, I thought some cuvee which saw way too much new oak.

It turned out the first wine was the 2007 Stolpman Vineyards, Grenache Estate, the second was 2008 Domaine du Pegau, Reservee, and the third was 2007 Domaine Grand Veneur, Clos de Sixte.  The 2008 Pegau stole the show.  We typically split and gas up the leftovers to be tasted the next night.  I was so excited by the Pegau that Jenn and I finished it up that evening.  Lou purchased this bottle for $25 from Premier Cru, what a deal!  After that I really enjoyed the 2006 Coulet.  I think the 2007 Stolpman was more impressive the first night but the 2007 Grand Veneur certainly improved on the second night.

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Unknown French White Wine
This had ripe, grassy aromas of white candy with fine texture.  It was strong in the nose with its floral, white candy aromas.  The mouth was less impressive but had a nice chalky, dry aspect.  ** Now-2014.

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2011 Domaine de la Pépière,  Clos des Briords, Muscadet de Sevre-et-Maine
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  The color was a very light white straw.  The tight nose eventually revealed some heavy, underlying floral fruit.  In the mouth was white candy-like fruit, not-quite crisp acidity, then rounder flavors of delicate white peach with a little tart tang.  The wine was balanced with a little, fine ripe finish.  This young wine eventually developed white stones which mixed with some tannins.  **(*) 2014-2020.

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2010 Domaine Rolet, Chardonnay, L’Etoile, Jura
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  Alcohol 13%.  The subtle nose was apple-like.  In the mouth the white fruit had weight with good, drying stone texture.  There was fresh acidity in the start, lots of personality, and youth.  **(*) 2014-2024.

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2006 Domaine du Coulet (Matthieu Barret), Brise Cailloux, Cornas
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a nice nose of floral aromas, pepper, and leaves of violets.  It was finely delineated with a hint of sweet, spiced orange peel at the end.  There was tart red fruit which was acidity driven from the start.  The flavors continue through the wine eventually showing a hint of maturity.  It was steely with minerals, and a black fruit with graphite finish.  The structure slowly came out, leaving some very fine tannins on the gums.  ***(*) Now-2025.

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2007 Stolpman Vineyards, Grenache Estate, Santa Ynez Valley
This  Alcohol 15%.  There was fresher, younger red fruit with an orange citrus aroma.  It was a fine wine in the mouth mixing red fruit with a darker core and ripe, fine, drying tannins.  It took on perfumed fruit, young but very attractive.  It dried out a bit with air but kept a sweet, ripe finish.  It took on some orange peel flavors with air, along with dry, very fine tannins.  Best on the first night.  *** Now-2018.

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2008 Domaine du Pegau, Reservee, Chateauneuf du Pape
Imported by Kirkcrest Imports.  Alcohol 14%.  A slighter darker core.  The nose was older with earthy, smoky aromas.  It was a little sweaty with some blood.  The mouth followed the nose with ripe fruit, tannins, and acidity which tickles the tongue tip.  It had a lipstick finish and a long, expansive, beautiful aftertaste.  With extended air a youthful core of fruit came out suggesting longevity.  **** Now-2023.

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2007 Domaine Grand Veneur, Clos de Sixte, Lirac
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  This wine is blend of 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 15% Mourvedre.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This was a medium-dark purple color.  It had nose of cassis-like, ripe fruit, and vanilla.  In the mouth was more linear fruit which quickly met an up-front wall of tannins.  These were very fine and drying.  An aspect of the nose came out in the finish.  On the second night this was more approachable with dense fruit, a simpler finish, and a structure that subsided. ** Now-2023.

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I Try a White Wine from the Loire

March 28, 2012 2 comments

Marc Olivier runs Domaine de la Pepiere. Excited by his degree in viticulture from Macon he started working at his uncle’s winery in 1979. He purchased a neighboring 20 hectare estate when it went up for sale in 1984. Today there are some 28+ hectares of vines and as of 2010 he works with partner Remi Branger. The estate is run organically, the fruit hand-harvested, and fermented using indigenous yeasts. This particular wine the Clos des Briords is made from fruit sourced from a particular plot containing the oldest vines on the estate. They were planted in 1930. The soils are different from the rest of the estate with a deeper layer of clay and silicate over brittle granite. This wine is fermented and aged on the lees in stainless steel vats for eight months then it is bottled.

Sur Lie is a French term for “on the lees.” The lees are the deposits at the bottom of the tank from fermentation. The lees are composed of live and dead yeast cells along with bits of grape particles. The extended contact with the lees imparts great flavor to the wine, particularly white wines where it is practiced in Muscadet. For the appellations of Muscadet de Sevre-et-Maine, Muscadet-Coteaux de la Loire, and Muscadet-Cotes de Grandlieu bottles labeled Sur Lie must stay on the lees over the winter and not bottled until after the third week of March. The wine must be bottled directly off the lees without racking or filtration. Marc typically bottles his wines in late May.

This is a strong and affordable selection. If you try it now then decant the wine for several hours ahead of time. Otherwise I would cellar it for a few years. I imagine this wine will develop well and last for some time. It is currently available at MacAthur Beverages.

2010 Domaine de la Pepiere, Sur Lie Vieilles Vignes, Clos des Briords, Muscadet de Sevre-et-Maine – $16
Imported by Louis/Dressner. Tis wine is 100% Melon de Bourgogne. Drunk over several nights the color is a very light straw and white sand combination. The light is light, crisp, and driven by acidity. In the mouth the precise white fruit enlivens the palete then rounds out. There is a fair amount of power and minerals towards the middle. With some ripeness and lemon flavors come out as the acidity causes one to salivate on the back and roof of the mouth. There is a long aftertaste with some tannins evident on the inside of the lips. With air the white fruit relaxes causing a gentle ripeness when first drunk. *** 2014-2022.