2015 Pepiere Chateau Thebaud Clos des Morines Muscadet
I actually feel a little remiss about this offer – this wine is so darn good, and so darn cheap, that I should have been all over it years ago, beating down doors to get it to you.
The wine is Pepiere’s Muscadet “Chateau Thébaud.” Actually, its full name is Domaine de la Pépière Château Thébaud “Clos des Morines”. Or just Thébaud for short.
Pepiere comes from the French word pepie, which means thirsty. Historically in Muscadet, there was never enough fresh water for human habitation. So the vines were literally the lifeblood of the village and, as Marc and Remi, the owners of Pepiere said, “the reason wine villagers were known to drink a little more than reasonable.”
Clos des Morines is a lieu-dit in the Muscadet Cru of Chateau Thebaud. Hence the long, complex name. Here Pepiere farms old vines from a vineyard sloping down to the river Maine. The vines are planted on one soil type – granite de Chateau Thebuad – that is quickly draining and forces the vines to work deep. In so doing, during dry spells they struggle to pull out water and develop a range of complex granitic flavors.
So that’s the explanation.
But to hell with explanations. When you taste a wine this good, it just doesn’t matter who, what, where, when or why. This taste shoots so far beyond technical explanations that you just need it in your glass:
The wine’s perfume simply explodes.
When I smelled it, I couldn’t believe it was Muscadet. Again, it’s so far beyond the category, you wonder why all the rest of Muscadet doesn’t smell like this: granite, wet stone, ocean spray, shucked oyster liquor, sand, shallots, white pepper. But believe it or not, that is all in the background to this ripe honeydew-melon, soft and generous fruit character. It’s amazing how such a mellow-smelling fruit can suddenly be brought to life by the vine.
And then there is the palate.
Maybe it’s best to start talking about the palate this way. I have been told that when you visit Pepiere, you taste everything. EVERYTHING. Not just the six current releases of different Muscadets, but every Muscadet Marc has made since 1948. And one of my faithful drinking buddies attests to the old wines’ vivacity and liveliness.
So what do I say about the palate? Any white wine that can make it five years, let alone 50, has got some very special mojo going on: sappy minerality, vivacious acidity, so clean and brisk yet so darn full and mouth-coating with flavors.
I’ll sum up: Pepiere’s Thebaud Muscadet is one darn amazing wine, beyond anything I ever had from Muscadet. If you love terroir-driven wines, buy a case. I did. If you end up drinking some and forgetting about the rest, don’t worry—sometime in the next 50 years, you’ll have given yourself a treasure.