Wines by Region / Loire Valley / Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine / Domaine Pierre-Luc Bouchaud
Domaine Pierre-Luc Bouchaud - Muscadet
Saint-Fiacre-sur-Maine, Loire Atlantique
Producing 80% of all Muscadet, the Muscadet Sevre et Maine AOP was officially established in 1936. It covers around 8,200 hectares across 23 villages. In one of those villages, St. Fiacre-sur-Maine, sits Domaine Pierre-Luc Bouchaud. Pierre-Luc comes from a line of several generations of grape growers (beginning in 1850). After graduation from university in 1987, he returned to his family domaine (created in 1920) and soon took over for his father. Over the next 20 years, he expanded his vineyards from 11 to 20 hectares.
Bouchaud’s winery is located next to his home in St. Fiacre-sur-Maine, the community that grows more grapes than any other in France. There, on schist soils, he has planted Muscadet, Egiodola (bonus points if you’ve heard of that grape!), Côt, and Chardonnay. Bouchaud works sustainably, plowing his soil, using organic composts and only spraying when absolutely necessary. He has begun organic conversion, however, and is on track to be certified with the 2021 vintage.
The grapes are picked (in some cases manually) and crushed, and the juice is fermented in cement-lined and stainless steel tanks. The wine is then aged on its lees in underground tanks until bottling, which normally takes place in the late spring. In 2006, Bouchaud was the rare recipient of the Prix d’Excellence for receiving top notes over the course of five years at the Concours General Agricole in Paris.
Pierre-Luc Bouchaud Pont Caffino
This is the name of parcel of vines that make up the cru Château Thebaud, located where the Sevre and Maine rivers meet. Unlike Le Perd son Pain’s schist soil, granite terrain is the soil for this cuvée, with vines planted just above a ledge overlooking the rivers. While Bouchaud does release a Chateau Thebaud wine in certain vintages, Pont Caffino is released every year. The grapes are hand harvested and undergo a similar vinification to Le Perd Son Pain in an effort to show off its more intense minerality without the dominant yeasty notes that arrive with prolonged aging sur lie. Granite seems to make the aromas pop a bit more than schist, and give it a slightly leaner, higher acid texture. Aromas include green apple and pear pith, along with some stony grip on the finish.
Pierre-Luc Bouchaud Le Perd Son Pain This wine comes from the 10-hectare parcel of the same name, which translates literally as to lose one’s bread. The schist just below a thin layer of silt and sandy soil was thought not to be appropriate to anything but vines, as wheat and barley were lost in its arid dryness. Average yields of the 50-year old vines are 55 hl/ha. After gentle pressing and a cold soak in tank of about 8 hours, the temperature is raised and fermentation begins. The final alcoholic degree normally is 12-12.5%. The wine then rests sur lie (usually with some lees stirring depending on the vintage) for 7 months. It has a lovely mineraled texture, with flavors that include citrus, green apple and melon.
Pierre-Luc Bouchaud “Château Thebaud”
Château Thebaud is the name of a commune not far from St. Fiacre. It is a new cru in the appellation. Along with the other dozen or so crus, it desperately wants the world to know that the region can produce amazing, complex and ageworthy wines rather than cheap, neutral, high acid wines which often lack character. Bouchaud’s Château Thibault comes from the granite-laden Pont Caffino vineyard and sees lower yields and longer lees aging (30 months). The result is a more vinous Muscadet which, even though aged solely in tank, has the texture and complexity of a wine aged in oak.
Serve this with fish rather than shellfish.