Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wine of the Week - 2008 Clos des Briords

I heard a story that I liked recently about Frédéric Mugnier, who makes some of the finest red wine in the world: he was asked what he drinks when he drinks white wine. Without hesitation he said "Muscadet." It tickles me that this guy whose wines sell for hundreds of dollars a bottle, drinks $15 Muscadet.

There are many people who say that Muscadet is the world's finest value in white wine. I am definitely one of those people. And Marc Ollivier at Domaine de la Pépière makes what I think is the finest value within Muscadet, his Clos des Briords. The vines in Briords are over 70 years old and the soil is particularly good - the resulting wine has everything you would expect in top quality Muscadet, but is richer and more powerful. Typically the wine takes a year or so to reveal itself, and is renown for its longevity. People drink these wines at 30 years old, something I have never done, but I hear they are fantastic. More information about Marc Ollivier and the Clos des Briords is available on the Dressner Selections site.

2008 Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Clos des Briords, $16, Louis/Dressner Selections. It can be hard to tell what's going on with young Clos des Briords. The acidity can be searing, the fruit and the rocky mineral all tangled up, the aromas and flavors rather fierce. I remember loving the 2005 almost immediately upon release because it was so open and expressive. Perhaps the ripeness of a vintage like that one allows for more pleasure in young Briords. I thought the 2007 was delicious at first too but it was also very angular and sharp, needing time in the cellar find its inner harmony.

I'm pretty sure that 2008 was a difficult vintage in Muscadet and yields were way down. Perhaps that's why the 2008 even now shows such beautiful concentration, such great depth. The 2008 is absurdly delicious right now, tightly wound, but with gorgeous citrus and black licorice aromas, creamy and smokey undertones, and loads of rocky mineral character. It is fresh and pure on the palate with soaring acids and the echo of seashells on the finish. This is a wine that seems to be stripped of everything unecessary, only the essential parts are here, and it is beautiful. My favorite Briords since 2004, although they certainly are all very good. We drank this without the standard seafood accompaniments - just quaffed it as an aperitif, and it was great. Later on in the evening I took a bite of pizza and found that I had essentially no enamel left on my teeth, but it was worth it. Although this is entirely drinkable now, especially if opened a couple hours in advance, it seems clear that this is a wine that will improve with cellar time, an I will test this theory out myself, I assure you.


Wine Gift Baskets said...

Full of fruit, but very dry. Refreshing, and goes well with seafood (I had with a smoked salmon reuben...delicious).

froggio said...

if you like Clos des Briords from the talented Marc Ollivier, you should try the Clos des Noelles 2005 from Luneau-Papin. Old vines, and +3 years on the lees.