In the course of the last 15 years or so, winemaker Éric Chevalier has risen to the top of a very short list of great Muscadet producers. Having left the family domaine in Saint-Philbert de Grandlieu, just southwest of Nantes to work in the wine trade in Touraine for 10 years, he returned in 2005 to take over for his father, a well respected grower who never bottled much of his own wine but was considered a great source of bulk wine, due in no small part to the high quality of his 27 hectares of prime vineyard holdings, the La Noë cru in particular. 10 acres of pure granite on an ancient seabed surrounded by the waters of the nearby Atlantic, the Loire river and the largest lake in France; the Lac de Grand Lieu. A true maritime climate in every regard.
Éric is the fourth generation of his family to farm the domaine and the first to take farming as seriously as he has. He started a conversion to organic farming, not an easy task in these parts, and as of last year has been certified. He's also stopped selling fruit altogether and bottles it all under his own name, surely a major loss to the local co-op. Winemaking is very traditional here with gentle crushing of the Melon de Bourgogne grapes into stainless steel tanks, native yeast fermentation and aging for 8-10 months on the fine lees before bottling.
At just 11.5% alcohol, a subtle but very complex wine with notes of sea breeze, citrus zest and white flowers on the nose, racy mineral and lemon on the palate and hints of chamomile and pear skin on the long, salt kissed finish. About as perfect a match with shellfish, especially Atlantic oysters, as wine gets. Just a few cases in stock.