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Domaine de l'Ecu | Fred & Claire Niger
'Muscadet was underrated the last few decades because of the winemakers, high yields, harvesting machines, chemicals, and modern oenology. Fortunately, it’s moving in a good way. It has been a hard job making people understand that Melon de Bourgogne can be a fascinating grape variety.'
Sometimes it only takes a moment and you feel an instant familiarity, comfort and connection that has the potential to become a special friendship for life. When we visited Fred and Claire from Domaine de L’Ecu in Le Landreau earlier this year, it felt like an immediate match.
Fred and Claire are a power couple, and have made some of Muscadet’s most respected wines for the past decade. While there is a clear emphasis on local varieties like Folle Blanche, Melon de Bourgogne and Cabernet Franc, they have also been lucky to collaborate with close friends around France and Italy - under their Le Temps des Copains range - to bottle incredible amphora aged wines, all of which show a great level of intuition and skill required when working with such a broad range of varieties.
While the estate has been organically farmed since 1975, and converted to biodynamic farming in the late 1990s, Fred and Claire also believe in the concept of ‘Cosmoculture’ — something they discovered through their friend and fellow
vigneron Philippe Viret. Fred explains, ’the concept lies on linking magnetic and cosmic energy fields, which gives benefits to plant, animal and humans, and in turn reenergizes and preserves the living balance and ecosystems. In day-to-day life, Fred is convinced that harnessing such magnetic fields has a positive effect on disease resistance, which ultimately allows them to reduce the level of (organic) treatments used within their vineyards.
For our first release, we are introducing two distinct cuvées based on the signature ‘Muscadet’ appellation, ‘Granite’ and ‘Orthogneiss’, which show the great impact of soils on Melon de Bourgogne. Alongside those, ‘Marguerite’ — a singular expression of Folle Blanche, ‘Celeste’ — Claire’s energetic love child of Folle Blanche and Chardonnay, as well as the incredible Chardonnay ‘Faust’, all represent wines that are kept outside of the appellation, but nonetheless echo a unique vibrancy in the wines rarely found in these varieties. Perhaps the most iconic cuvée is ‘Mephisto’ — a 100% Cabernet Franc grown on a tiny 0.8 ha granite soil parcel.