André's Travel Log
Sherry Camp and Muscadet, March 2011
All About Site in Muscadet
On the final leg of our journey we rolled into a great site that it is from our oldest friend in the business Bernard Chéreau of Chéreau Carré in Muscadet. We finished our journey through Europe here and I am humbled by this incredible domaine. Unfortunately, as I spent so much time building up our Spain portfolio, visits to Bernard’s cellar were infrequent. On my previous visit he had surprised me with the incredibly complex Clos de L’Oisilinière. A Muscadet aged upwards of 4 years on the lees. We bought it that first year when we tasted it but unfortunately time did not permit a visit. This year I was not going to miss visiting this famed Clos. Knowing that it was a vineyard surrounded by an oak forest at the confluence of the Sèvre and Maine rivers, I knew I would not be disappointed. And that would turn out to be a gross understatement! This wild site is exactly at the location where the Sèvre and the Maine rivers merge. The wind blowing through this ten hectar site, the south facing hills of vines upwards of 80 year old vines on Orto-Gneiss soils brought a feeling of knowing that one is standing on a privileged site. Solid bed rock underneath straight to the rivers. Double Premières Côtes!
Bernard explained to us about the inherent simplicity of how this wine is made. There are two cuvées: the one we bring in named after this famed Clos and a second known as Chateau L’Oisilinières en Rameau. The wines are all vinified in cement tanks underground at a facility on site. The wines sit undisturbed in this dark and quiet location aging on the lees. The Clos spends four years on the lees and the Chateau six months before being bottled. This is not Muscadet for beginners, steely and flinty with incredible persistence. This site made me reflect about the travel of the last 18 days and all the sites we had visited starting with Sherry and ending with Muscadet. In the end it really is all about having the location the rest is static, a diversion from the truth. When you have site you have it all. We are fortunate to represent some great sites and this visit reminded me of why I continue to work with Bernard Chereau after 28 years. It is not only that he has been a friend in the business but that he also happens to farm some the greatest plots.