Muscadet Orthogneiss, Domaine de l'Ecu, Loire, France 2015
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Biodynamic – natural – low added sulphites – trailblazers
Domaine de l’Ecu
Domaine de l’Ecu was very much a producer ahead of its time, securing biodynamic certification as early as 1988 – having been declared organic in the mid-1970s. They insist that their wines have ‘no make-up’; simply offering as pure a reflection of their terroirs as possible. Yields are kept extremely low, with all vineyards harvested by hand to ensure that all fruit is of optimum quality. In the winery, mechanisation is shunned in favour of more traditional, labour intensive techniques. Indigenous yeasts are used during fermentation before bottling is conducted using gravity rather than machinery. Furthermore, a minimum level of sulphites are added, although a number of cuvées have none added whatsoever. He also now works with Amphora.
Their ‘Classic’ cuvée is a wonderful expression of the minerality present in the Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine appellation. The salinity on show ensures that the wine has real ‘zing’, backed up by tangy citrus flavours. As a result, it is the perfect partner to all manner of seafood dishes as well as providing the mouthwatering sensation of an ideal aperitif. Domaine de l’Ecu has founded its reputation on its single vineyards expressions of Melon Blanc and their ‘Orthogneiss’ – named after the soil type present in the vineyard – is arguably the most age-worthy example. It is subtle and elegant, underpinned by the zest of citrus fruits, white flowers and spices such as ginger and cumin. Notes of flint, dried fruits and toasted almonds add further sophistication to the palate, while the finish offer salt, chalk and slight notes.