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Brilliant New Releases from a Loire Valley Benchmark

Brilliant New Releases from a Loire Valley Benchmark
On a recent visit to one of Muscadet’s benchmarks, Domaine Jo Landron, we were blown away by both the latest vintages and how well the single-site wines age! Jo Landron not only helped put single-vineyard Muscadet on the map (20 years ago), but he’s also been a pioneer in the Loire for quality farming, having converted to biodynamics 20 years ago. The attention to detail shows in the vineyards and the winery, where large wooden casks, Tava amphora and concrete are the aging vessels of choice. The resulting wines are racy, mineral expressions with enough pulpy fruit, character and deliciousness to rival the best wines of many other (more famous and expensive) white wine regions. But, of course, they have a personality all their own.

Jo Landron has now been joined by his thoughtful and quietly spoken daughter Hélène (and husband Nicolas), who is certainly a chip off the old block. Her comments at the tasting and in the vineyard were as insightful as her (much more experienced) father! Hélène has brought sheep into the vineyards as part of the biodynamic system. No matter which label (or labels!) you choose, these wines will repay you in the best possible way, delivering depth, purity, terroir expression and sheer deliciousness at remarkably fair prices. These are Muscadets with soul—Muscadets to compete with top-notch Chablis, German Riesling or the finest Sancerre. And when it comes to the sparkling version, with first-rate Champagne!

Crowning the offer is the 2017 vintage of Jo Landron’s tour-de-force La Fief de Breuil, a captivating Muscadet of muscly depth and finely wrought precision to remind the world of the heights—and aging potential—to which Muscadet can aspire.

 

The Wines

Jo Landron Brut Atmosphères NV

Jo Landron Brut Atmosphères NV

This Loire bubbles has been enjoying plenty of love among those who know the wine, and no wonder. It’s a hand-harvested, estate-grown, biodynamic, naturally fermented, low-dosage fizz that shows up many conventional Champagnes for both quality and value. Topping off an impressive package is the marvellous label designed by legendary French illustrator, Michel Tolmer (of Mimi, Fifi and Glouglou fame).

Jo Landron is not a fan of using Muscadet’s Melon de Bourgogne for sparkling wine, preferring instead a blend of around 75% Folle Blanche (grown on sandy clay), with a balance of Pinot Noir (grown on gravelly soils). Vine age varies between 18 and 30 years. The yields are typically between 50 and 60 hl/ha—far lower than the average yields in Champagne. The base wines are fermented naturally and then go through a traditional second fermentation in bottle, where they remain for a minimum of 24 months. The dosage ranges from zero to a low five grams per litre (depending on the bottling). Moreover, the fruit for this cuvée is always from a single vintage.

This list of attributes sounds like the winegrowing and making approach of a top grower in Champagne, not a humble Muscadet producer! It's no surprise then that the result is a wine of impressive depth and complexity. Expect a super-mineral, earthy, rocky wine with waves of racy citrus and fresh nectarine fruit and lots of flinty, talc-like, salty complexity, then a delicious lick of smoky Pinot breadiness to close. This is simply one of the finest sparkling bargains going around.

This list of attributes sounds like the winegrowing and making approach of a top grower in Champagne, not a humble Muscadet producer! It's no surprise then that the result is a wine of impressive depth and complexity. Expect a super-mineral, earthy, rocky wine with waves of racy citrus and fresh nectarine fruit and lots of flinty, talc-like, salty complexity, then a delicious lick of smoky Pinot breadiness to close. This is simply one of the finest sparkling bargains going around.

Jo Landron Brut Atmosphères NV
Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Amphibolite 2020

Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Amphibolite 2020

Biodynamic. Landron's most mineral cuvée derives its name from the greenish, metamorphic bedrock (amphibolite) that dominates the soils in which it is grown. Produced from vines aged between 35 and 40 years, this unique wine was vinified with only a short period on lees, as Jo Landron wanted to retain as much freshness and minerality as possible. Only minor doses of sulphur were used to block malo. Bottling occurred early (in March, and without filtration), to retain the earth-to-glass essence of the wine.

Filled with energy and grip, this has those deeply satisfying oyster shell and saline qualities that make this nervy, savoury Muscadet one of the most gastronomic dry whites in our portfolio.

Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Amphibolite 2020
Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Amphibolite 2021

Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Amphibolite 2021

Biodynamic. This cuvée derives its name from the greenish, metamorphic bedrock (amphibolite) that dominates the soils in which it is grown. Produced from vines aged between 35 and 40 years, this unique wine was vinified with only a short period on lees, as Jo Landron wanted to retain as much freshness and minerality as possible. Only minor doses of sulphur were used to block malo. Bottling occurred early (in March), and without filtration, to retain the earth-to-glass essence of the wine. 

With some lovely textural padding this year it's an ultra-pure, racy expression of Muscadet loaded with white floral notes and all kinds of citrus underpinned by the iodine minerality that is a hallmark of this cuvée.


With some lovely textural padding this year it's an ultra-pure, racy expression of Muscadet loaded with white floral notes and all kinds of citrus underpinned by the iodine minerality that is a hallmark of this cuvée.

Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Amphibolite 2021
Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine La Louvetrie 2020

Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine La Louvetrie 2020

Jo Landron’s La Louvetrie cuvée originates from soils rich in amphibolite, sand, clay and gneiss. It remains the estate’s only wine made from a blend of different sites (and includes younger-vine fruit from Landron’s top vineyards). The vines for this release are 15-30 years old and cropped low (for Muscadet) at just 50hl/ha. It was bottled with a low dose of sulphur after an élevage between eight and 12 months.

It is a blinder of a wine, packed full of juicy fruit and vibrant Atlantic zing. The new vintage is not dissimilar to last year’s stunner, with generous, zesty, pithy, lemon/lime fruit alongside a ton of salinity. It glides with fantastic vibrancy across the palate, with oodles of compact fruit balanced by a mouth-watering stony/savoury element and a cool finish that crackles with freshness and length. The value on offer here is off the charts.

It is a blinder of a wine, packed full of juicy fruit and vibrant Atlantic zing. The new vintage is not dissimilar to last year’s stunner, with generous, zesty, pithy, lemon/lime fruit alongside a ton of salinity. It glides with fantastic vibrancy across the palate, with oodles of compact fruit balanced by a mouth-watering stony/savoury element and a cool finish that crackles with freshness and length. The value on offer here is off the charts.

Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine La Louvetrie 2020
Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Le Clos La Carizière 2019

Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Le Clos La Carizière 2019

Biodynamic. The Château de la Carizière in Haye Fouassière dates to 1926. Jo Landron took over the estate’s vines in 1998, and immediately began converting the vineyard to organics. The vineyard covers 10 hectares of orthogneiss terroir, planted with vines aged between 55 and 70 years. This wine is drawn from four hectares, where the yields are strictly curbed as low as 38 ha/hectare. Harvested by hand and fermented with wild yeasts, the wine aged on its lees for 10 months before bottling. A model of finesse and lightness, it’s a fantastically vibrant and pulpy Muscadet, with beautifully crisp, stony finish.






A model of finesse and lightness, it’s a fantastically vibrant and pulpy Muscadet, with beautifully crisp, stony finish.

“It is fragrant on the nose, with a very expressive style scented with crushed orange, apricot and freesia. The palate feels very dry, with a lightly bitter start, leading to a modestly textured midpalate. Here it maintains a dry stance, very minerally, with no shortage of phenolic substance, tension and acidity. An attractive wine but it may benefit from a year or so in bottle to soften some of its edges.”
92 points, Chris Kissack, The Wine Doctor
Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Le Clos La Carizière 2019
Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Le Fief du Breil 2017

Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Le Fief du Breil 2017

Le Fief du Breil comes from a single, six-hectare biodynamically farmed vineyard, situated on a south-facing slope above the Sèvre river in La Haye-Fouassière. Fief is a term from the Middle Ages which means a piece of land once associated with (and probably owned by) the local Abbey or Duke. This in turn infers quality, as the local rulers tended to keep the best parcels for themselves. Breil means ‘next to the forest’, indicating the woodland this parcel borders. The vines are also surrounded by old walls, another sign of its historical significance.

The soils here are rich in silex (flint), river pebbles, quartz and granite, all laid over a bedrock of orthogneiss—a geologically complex site. While Muscadet is generally flat, Jo notes that this vineyard is on “a hill by local standards”. The vines are also open directly to the south, an ideal exposure to produce one of the region's benchmarks. The vines here are 45 years old; Landron prunes very short, and also shoot-thins to restrict yields. 

Hand-harvested, the juice was slowly and naturally fermented before being raised in Landron's large, subterranean cement tanks. This bottling has spent a full 30 months on its lees. Posesses the sort of multi-layered complexity that is about as far removed from the regional stereotype as can be imagined.


Posesses the sort of multi-layered complexity that is about as far removed from the regional stereotype as can be imagined.

“Jo’s top cuvée, a cru prototype, is sourced from vines aged more than 30 years, planted in soils of orthogneiss and quartz. This was vinified in cement cuve, followed by 36 months on the lees. The nose is just beautiful, elegantly polished, with notes of blanched almond, fragrant vanilla and dried citrus fruits. A super style on the palate, tense but also dense, polished, a little sinewy even, which I like, always with that bitter grip. A delightful style freshened with nuances of iodine and apple skin, this is excellent, and is clearly set to go the distance in the cellar.”
95 points, Chris Kissack, The Wine Doctor
Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Le Fief du Breil 2017
Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Les Houx 2020

Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Les Houx 2020

Biodynamic. Les Houx, in La Haye-Fouassière, is one of Landron’s oldest vineyards. The mature, low-yielding vines are rooted in shallow sandy/clay soils, rich in quartz and shot through with iron (which gives the wine a flinty nature), over a bedrock of gneiss and clay. It's brilliant terroir that gives a denser, fleshier, more complex style of Muscadet. Harvested by hand and fermented with wild yeasts, the wine aged on its lees for 12-14 months before bottling. 

Although more opulent and layered than Landron’s other wines, the rocky, acid soils of this parcel impart a balancing freshness, even in warmer years. Its dense, structured, and lingering palate delivers textural stone fruits interwoven with the smoky mineral signature of these sandstone soils. It’s a dynamic Muscadet that goes far beyond the “drink with oysters” cliché, so match it with substantial fish or white meat dishes that call for something savoury and mineral.




Although more opulent and layered than Landron’s other wines, the rocky, acid soils of this parcel impart a balancing freshness, even in warmer years. Its dense, structured, and lingering palate delivers textural stone fruits interwoven with the smoky mineral signature of these sandstone soils. It’s a dynamic Muscadet that goes far beyond the “drink with oysters” cliché, so match it with substantial fish or white meat dishes that call for something savoury and mineral.

Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Les Houx 2020

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