Domaine de l’Ecu

 

Photo Credit: Fred Niger

who? what? when? where? why? how?

who grows the grapes at Domaine de L’Ecu? who makes the wines?

Fred Niger has taken the reins from Guy Bossard at Domaine de L’Ecu.  For decades,  Guy and his wife Annie Thuaud not only made the wines, they have “made” the reputation of Muscadet Sèvre et Maine.  Their rigorous approach in the vineyard and careful approach in the cellar has elevated the appellation.  Fred is at once respectful of this tradition and inspired to build on it.

Fred brings a new eye to the estate and is challenging many fixed ideas.  The hyper pure single vineyard Muscadets are here to stay, but the lineup is growing. Red wines made from grapes formerly dedicated to sparkling production are making a mark on the wine world.  We eagerly anticipate the wines he has in his amphora, as well.   This is an exciting time for winery with what some consider the best terroir in this part of France.

Guy bossard and Fred

what wines do they make at Domaine de L’Ecu?

Muscadet from L’Ecu is a dramatic reflections of each parcel of soil on which it grows; as much as or more so than any wine in the world. This is not a measurable scale, but we’ve been enjoying the Expressions of Granite, Orthogneiss, and Gneiss for more than a decade, and there is no mistaking which is which from year to year.  Each wine is named for the stones in its vineyard.

There are few, if any white wines that have this capacity for aging at comparable prices.

Muscadet and more from Domaine de L'Ecu

 

New red wines, including Ange (Pinot Noir), Red Noz (Cabernet Sauvignon), and Mephisto (Cabernet Franc) are challenging perceptions of what the region can and can not achieve.  Of course the vines in this cool climate require massive amounts of work to ensure the grapes ripen.  We are thrilled to have a rather large allocation of each.

When bubbles are needed, La Divina is a stunning blend of Melon de Bourgogne, Chardonnay, and Folle Blanche made entirely by hand in the “Méthode Traditionelle” like the very best Champagne. It is amazing how many layers this wine conceals when first opened. We’ve enjoyed it over multiple days after opening.

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when did Domaine de L’Ecu start? when might you open a bottle?

The Bossard family has been producing wine in Muscadet for five generations. Guy began in 1972, applying for organic certification right away. The vines had never been treated chemically, and approval came in 1975. Working alongside the pioneers of organic and biodynamic farming in the Loire Valley, Guy is founding member of Renaissance des Appellations. Guy’s achievements, and the sheer beauty of his wines, have earned him the nickname among colleagues of “The Pope of Muscadet”.
Domaine de l'Ecu: Muscadet with a scent of place

Domaine de l’Ecu: Muscadet with a scent of place

Pairings for the wines of Domaine de L’Ecu follow the same path as Chablis, from village level to Grand Cru.  Rich, complex sauces with shellfish or roast chicken shine with the single vineyard wines when young, With age, thoughts of morels and mature hard cheeses come to mind.  The “Classique” is a wine we can drink at any time and any place without hesitation.  If you are a fan of Albarino, Gruner Veltliner, or Dry Riesling, you’ll likely find a friend here.

where is Domaine de L’Ecu?

Domaine de L’Ecu is in the appellation of Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, near the city of Nantes, on the Atlantic Coast of France. More specifically, it consists of 22 hectaires in La Bretonnière near the town of Le Landreau, in an area that benefits from significant winds off of the Atlantic that play a key role in moderating the temperature and helping to prevent diseases that occur in otherwise wet viticultural areas.

At the risk of sounding obsequious, we would add that the winery is located at the top of almost every list of the exceptional wines from Muscadet, from the Loire Valley, and indeed from all of France. We doubt that Guy Bossard would make such a brash claim, but we will make it for him. We adore these wines and few people have the reputation that he has earned.

Domaine de l'Ecu: Muscadet with a scent of place

Domaine de l’Ecu: Muscadet with a scent of place

why is Domaine de L’Ecu a Candid Wine? why might you want a taste?

Domaine de L’Ecu is a Candid Wine because…No, wait. Let’s see that again. Domaine de L’Ecu is a Candid Wine. Boy oh boy is that fun to read and to say and to live.

Candid represents Domaine de L’Ecu in Illinois thanks directly to Chartrand Imports and because we adore fine Muscadet. We believe that buying, drinking and cellaring single vineyard Muscadet from l’Ecu and La Louvetrie is like stepping in a time machine that takes us back to the early 1960’s when Grand Cru Burgundy and the very best Chablis could be had for a few dollars a bottle. These are explosively good values and we can’t sing the praises of people like Guy and Fred loudly enough.

Photo Credit: Fred Niger
If you know Muscadet as an inexpensive, easy white for oysters, these wines will show you how Melon de Bourgogne can reflect a great site the way Chardonnay and Riesling can in the hands of the very best producers.

If you have never tasted Muscadet but love white Burgundy, it’s possible that twenty years from now you will still be thanking Guy for opening your eyes to what a value and what an experience the best Muscadet is, just as we still remember our first experiences with the same wines.

how is Domaine de L’Ecu made?

“Guy Bossard, the owner-winemaker of Domaine de l’Ecu is obsessed with Muscadet. His vines and winemaking are fully biodynamic. If Burgundy’s Domaine Leroy made Muscadet, it would be Domaine de l’Ecu.” – Matt Kramer, the Wine Spectator.

Kramer is right to place the emphasis first on the treatment of the vines at Domaine de L’Ecu. After harvest, the motto in the cellar seems to be “gentler is better”. The grape clusters are not destemmed, which limits oxidization of the juice before fermentation begins. The yeasts are always native, and the wines age on their “fine lees” for up to a year, depending on vintage and cuvee. It’s as “simple” as that.

harvesting

 

Making the red wines and the amphora fermented whites is of course a little bit different. We have an extensive series of videos with Fred in which he explains his techniques. Below, Fred discusses the farming required to produce red wines in the region.