Domaine de l'Écu makes my favourite wine of the year


Expression de Granite Muscadet-Sevre et Maine 2005 (about $19)

With a tip of his hat to the soil that the Melon de Bourgogne vines sit upon, Guy Brossard at Domaine de l'Écu creates a memorable Muscadet in more ways than one.

He makes an organic, biodynamic, terroir-driven wine from the Nantais region of France and it's terrific. He produces a touchstone for the zesty, minerally and briny style of modern Muscadet, the definitive wine where the Loire abuts the Altantic Ocean. And you could literally say this wine has touched stone -- it is after all named after the granite under the vines -- and when you taste it, it still seems like it's reaching out and bringing you that wonderful stoniness and minerality.

That's not why I think it is a wine of the year however. On top of being the epitome of great Muscadet, in 2005 this cuvée goes great lengths to integrate remarkably luscious fruit flavours into a perfectly balanced white wine that promises ageing potential. And it does all this at under $20.

At the place I bought my bottles of the Expression de Granite -- the SAQ -- the total per bottle came to $19.55. That was in October. Prices have gone down markedly since then, but so have SAQ stocks. In fact, the SAQ catalogue no longer even lists this item. Click on the bottle image above to go to The Wine Doctor's resourceful reference page, which includes tool to find stockists that carry this wine. (I see that this is another Doctor who has just posted notes on this wine in December.)

Many places should still carry the 2005 Expression de Granite outside of Quebec (along with the Planeta this might be the most widely distributed bottle in my top five). American merchants will likely sell it at pricepoints down to $15. Grab them! Or tell me where I can get more for myself, please. As always seems to be the case, the fab 05 vintage is being ever-rapidly replaced with the subsequent vintages.

This is a truly amazing wine, and likely the cuvée I am most confident proclaiming the "best" that's out there.

Eyes: Light and transparent.

Nose: This struck me as typical. Citrus fruit, subtly rasping aromas, mineral and slightly floral, maybe anise.

Mouth: In the mouth, the distinction of this wine is revealed. Very saline at front palate, enticing weight and personality through the mid-palate, and fine length echoing strongly a level of fruit not often seen in a Muscadet. A tremendous expression! It is masterful how a firm and briny attack relinquishes to strong and fruity finish -- no Muscadet I've known has a such an amazing arc going from saline to citrus as this one does.

Stomach: Great on its own as a classy aperatif. But because this wine is so much more dynamic than the usual Muscadet, don't limit food pairings to oysters. I think it makes me light up so much because it carries tones of licorice and anisette. So any dish relying on a fennel bulb would be a perfect match. Equally as good would be savoury salads featuring orange sections to echo the lovely citrus notes. Ultimately the admirable acid suggests its versatility. I would like to try this with fresh fish in a herb sauce with lime, savoy cabbage coleslaw, zesty garnishes with capers and shallots, and so much more.


Joe said...

You bought this at SAQ, correct? Do you know if they plan on listing it again?

Marcus said...

I found the last couple of bottles of the 2005 on the South Shore. I called to see what's coming up and the SAQ has more bottles on order but the vinage cannot be determined (sounds like 2006 though). They are to arrive over the next couple of months and should find their way to stores by spring.

Joe said...

thanks for doing the research - give me a heads up if you see it.

Kelly said...

This sounds great, Marcus. I'll be looking for it.