2020 Domaine de la Pépière "Briords" Muscadet Sèvre et Maine
2020 Domaine de la Pépière "Briords" Muscadet Sèvre et Maine

Is There a Better Value for French White Wine Than This Muscadet?

400 Words (Or So) on Domaine de la Pépière's "Briords"

3 min read

When I ask my friends why they don’t drink more French wine, there is a common refrain. No, it is not the obtuse labeling. It is that they’re expensive. And I totally get that. Behind the curtain, there are many reasons for that high price (our three-tier system, overhead costs for land and labor in France, the French bureaucracy, and increasingly navigating extreme weather — which has been particularly harsh in France this year). But by far, the biggest culprit for this is global demand. French wine is the O.G. of fine wine, and it seems like nothing will change that.

Somehow, Muscadet — a unique white wine from the lower Loire River Valley — seems to have ducked under these price-inflating obstacles.

Yet somehow, Muscadet — a unique white wine from the lower Loire River Valley — seems to have ducked under these price-inflating obstacles. Whether its the region’s reputation for simple supermarket wines, or the fact its top wines just haven’t fully caught fire with trendsetters yet, you can score some great deals with Muscadet.

Like this wine, which is truly one of the finest white wines I’ve tasted all year, and which typically costs less than $25: Domaine de la Pépière’s “Briords” Muscadet Sèvre et Maine.

There is nothing simple about this wine. If you see it, buy a half case. You’ll want this versatile, textural, playful yet complex sipper for the waning days of summer as well as the upcoming holidays. Hell: make it a full case, because this winery’s work deserves to be rewarded.

What makes “Briords” such a standout is its personality: it is amiable yet deep; comforting yet sharp. In my listing of Domaine de la Pépière as one of the Essential Winemakers of France, I noted that it has a child-like disposition. Young kids can delight you one moment with a goofy invention and a silly drawing, and then surprise you with a profound question about the universe the next. While drinking the 2020 “Briords” recently, I had a similar trajectory. This wine is fun, was my mantra one minute … So much so that I don’t even want to take notes. Then a single sip later, my senses were reeling, trying to pinpoint what surprising flavor and texture and sensation I was experiencing.

Muscadet wines are often paired with shellfish-based cuisines and indeed, their salty-like sensations on the finish make them a near-perfect match. But I wouldn’t hesitate to line this wine up with something more fatty and rich. The spectrum of possibilities is very wide with this surprisingly affordable wine.

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2020 Domaine de la Pépière “Briords” Muscadet Sèvre et Maine

2020 Domaine de la Pépière "Briords" Muscadet Sèvre et MaineMuscadet Sèvre et Maine AOC – Loire 
Grapes: Melon de Bourgogne (100%)
Alcohol: 12%
Opinion: ★★★★★ (out of five)
Food-friendliness: Impeccable
Value: Exceptional

A beginner might like … how this wine requires little thought. Pour a chilled glass for your friends and you’ll likely hear “mmm, this is good!” and little else. It doesn’t need decoding, but it prefers to party with food. Think ripe peaches and white flowers with a zippy acidity and creamy texture: now see what’s in the cheese drawer.

A wine obsessive might like … how this wine actually demands quite a bit of attention. Melon de Bourgogne is a rather low-intensity grape in terms of aromatic compounds, but it takes well to long lees aging. “Briords” spends seven months on the lees without racking. Additionally, the vines for this single-vineyard wine range from 30 to 70 years old, making this one of the most flavor-rich versions of Muscadet around. It all balances out into a stunning wine worthy of meditation if that’s your jam.

 

Note: This wine was purchased with funds raised from our subscription drive. Thank you.

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