Return to the Vineyard …
Domaine Batard Langelier
In this winery report you will find:
- Update on 2018 Vintage
- New Vineyard Plantings at Domaine
- Organic soil work in the vineyards
- Tasting of 2017’s in Cuve
- Tasting notes of wines available today
Muscadet Sèvre et Maine
Domaine Batard Langelier
July 11, 2018
Summer time is an excellent opportunity to visit with the vignerons in their vines and share new developments with you. And so begins the first of our series of “Return to the Vineyard reports” from Muscadet!
We last shared the news of welcoming Domaine Batard Langelier to the Genuine Wines family at the end of November 2017, and it has been the start of a wonderful partnership that we are pleased to share with you!
This vintage report is filled with only great news of a very promising 2018 harvest.
The sun has been shining at full force in tandem with the Atlantic winds picking up, drying the vines and stopping the serious threat of mildew from the rainy days in May and June.
Should the season continue like this, a bountiful harvest is planned to start on Sept. 5th – about 10 days earlier than normal.
Photo 1: Small decomposed gneiss pebbles throughout the sandy loam soil in the parcel of Moulin de la Gustaie in the Clos St Vincent (Home of Metaphore wine) in Cru Monnières-Saint Fiacre
Photo 2: Humidity retained in the soil from Spring rains
Planting for the Future Generation
One of the most exciting things we have to share is the addition of 1.2 HA of new vines in the Clos St Vincent of Cru Monnières-Saint Fiacre – the home of the wine Metaphore – and an additional 1 HA on the agenda to be planted right beside it for Spring 2019!
It took Jérémie 10 days to map out and plot all the posts for future trellising, and a team of workers to plant the young vines over two days.
This was a very precarious situation as the effort was almost washed away with the heavy Spring rains. The soil was so wet it was impossible to pass with a tractor. Happily, things have dried out, and a lot of humidity has been retained in the soil, making for excellent growing conditions for these new plantings!
It is not only the young vines like the moisture of the soil unfortunately, but so do many of the competing weeds!
Fighting Mildew Organically
The rains of the Spring were a huge threat to Muscadet this vintage. In organic viticulture, the only treatment is prevention, which is achieved by the application of copper before the rains come.
After the storm passes, vignerons must wait for the soil to be dry enough to first assess the damage, and then to pray for sunshine and wind! Fortunately, Muscadet is located 50km from the Atlantic and the winds came just in time.
A small percentage of leaves have been touched by mildew, giving the leaves a bruised scar with the same texture of an orange peel. Ironically, it is also an essential oil made from orange peels that organics vignerons (including Jérémie) apply to counter the threat of mildew in the vines after the rains. This acts both as a “drying” product for the leaves, and like an antiseptic that kills the remaining mildew spores.
With this extra effort made in the vineyard, the Estate is well on track for a full Organic certification for 2020!
Photo 1: effects of mildew on leaves
Photo 2: Hormonal Confusion used in the vines against insects
Guyot Nantais Vine Training
Three heads are better than one! In Muscadet, the vines are trained on a specific “guyot Nantais”, particular to the region for the fact that there is 1 branch and 2 cordons distributed on 2 of 3 heads.
Each spring, two “heads” are trained with two buds each, the third head already having been selected the previous year as the vine to bear the fruit. This is to act as a type of insurance for potential frost in the Spring, and ensures there is more of selection for healthy vines to bear fruit.
As you can see in the pictures, this strategy has worked in ABUNDANCE this year. Jérémie confirmed he has never seen such a bounty of fruit set on the vines before. While we may think one can never have enough grapes, in fact there is a maximum harvest limit in Muscadet AOC, and Jérémie himself crops even lower than the regulated limit to ensure high quality grapes for the wines he produces.
His grape bunches are nearly triple in size, and a pre-harvest calculation will soon be made to see if he will be spending his summer vacation dropping fruit on his vines instead of going on holiday!
Above: Guyot Nantais Summer vs. Guyot Nantais Autumn
Below-Left : Typical cluster size vs. Below-Right: Vintage 2018 fruit set
Terroir & Crus – Wines of Gabbro, Gneiss and Granite soil
The vineyards consist of 24 hectares (+ 1.2Ha new plantings):
- 6.5 ha on Clos St Vincent (Cru Monnières-Saint Fiacre), sandy loam soil resting on a bedrock in disintegration phase. This mother rock is a siliceous metamorphic rock: the gneiss with 2 micas.
- 7 ha of vines on soils from weathered gabbro* and quartz clays.
- 6 ha on predominantly siliceous clay soil from crushed hornblende biotite granite, deeper soil and very weathered rock
- 3.5 ha of more loamy soils scattered over several plots
- 1 ha in the IGP appellation
* The Gabbro is an eruptive rock of green to black color which gives minerality to the wine and which confers a good capacity for ageing
Photo 1 : Tasting 2017’s from the tank with Jérémie
Photo 2 : Historic vinification equipment at the Cellar
Wines in Tank – Vintage 2017 & 2016 (not yet bottled)
Tasting from the tanks is always fun in Muscadet – they are underground, cement, and lined with glass tiles. It always makes for a humorous tasting to insert the “pipette” tasting pipe directly into the ground!
A testimate to the history of Jérémie’s family in Muscadet, the cellar is like a museum, filled with vintage vinification equipment, medals, and old wooden presses that take your imagination on a journey back in time.
Two different parcels make up this wine, and they each contribute different elements to the blend. White pineapple, white jasmine blossoms, anise and white peaches are in abundance in the first of the two cuves, whereas the second contributes searing citrus acidity, mineral precision and lip-smacking salinity. They harmonize together beautifully when blended, but also stand out on their own. To be bottled mid-summer
Released after a minimum of two years on lees, this wine in its youth is unaware of its own strength, much like the grip of a toddler’s fist! Structured, herbal, lemon thyme, and crunchy texture give reason to the extensive ageing from which the Oxymore benefits. This powerhouse needs time to develop the creamy texture and demonstrate the capability of age-worthy Muscadets – to be bottled in 2 years.
What a difference a year makes! This wine has one year more in tank than the 2017, and is showing delicate notes of hazelnuts, salty and smoky citrus zest, and aged comte cheese. It is unctuous and creamy, with a nice salty tang compensated by a zest of acid piercing the fattiness. To be bottled next year.
Polaris : The name of the brightest star in the Big Dipper by which sailors used to navigate
Didascalie: A nod to ageing on lees, Didascalie is the < action > written in parenthesis in theatre scripts that the actor must follow, but is left to their interpretation to perform.
Tasting Notes of Wines Available Today –
Polaris 2017 – Young vines from a variety of parcels with soils of metamorphic rocks.
- Very intense nose of exotic fruits: citrus, pineapple. Beautiful tension in the mouth, a simple and fruity wine with a nice acidity.
Didascalie 2016 – Vines from the Gabbro soils
- Saline and fresh lemony aromatics always frame this blend. White peaches and Anjou pears with hints of jasmine. Finishes with a round and full mouth.
Metaphor 2017 – Vines grown on Gneiss plot, in Clos St Vincent (Cru Monnières-Saint Fiacre)
- Complex nose combining citrus and delicate flowers, a fresh and salty attack, floral aromas, white fruits and citrus fruits. Salivating, textural wine, very tasty.
Oxymore 2014 – Vines from very fine soils, 10 to 15 cm, then Gabbro subsoil
- On this vintage – white peach nose, pear, honey, wisteria. Very nice freshness then round mouth, ample with a fruity mixed notes toasted. Wine of great ageability.
Oxymore: A tribute to the historic notion that one couldn’t make an ageable Muscadet
Metaphore: Poetically, wine becomes a body, a being with character. It can be fleshly, fat, warm, honest or generous.