It's been a long time since we had a Muscadet on the list. Light, coastal white wines from other areas—such as Albariño and Picpoul de Pinet—continue to find favour, though, so we are delighted to add to our range six new white wines from the estates of Les Frères Couillaud at the Atlantic end of the Loire Valley.
Amélie Duguet-Couillaud, her husband Vincent and her uncle François work together, combining traditional skills with the energy and ideas of a new generation. The vineyards are managed according to the principles of the Terra Vitis scheme for sustainable viticulture, and fruit quality comes first, even if this means reducing yields.
The Muscadet wines of the Château de la Ragotière vineyards are particularly well suited to ageing, and the schist and micaschist soils allow the roots of the vines to search out mineral traces deep below the surface. They also favour early development of new growth and steady ripening of the fruit—though late frosts can pose problems.
In addition to four new Muscadets, we have chosen a precise, supple Chardonnay and a vibrant, herbaceous Sauvignon. Amélie's curiosity as a vigneronne also leads the winery to offer small quantities of wine from less typical varieties: Riesling, Viognier and Petit Manseng, for example—there is clearly courage and enterprise as well as tradition in evidence in all these fine, mineral wines.