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Michel Delhommeau

Brittany, parts of Normandy, and the western part of the Loire valley are essentially built on a foundation of cooled lava and magma. […]

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Michel Delhommeau

Brittany, parts of Normandy, and the western part of the Loire valley are essentially built on a foundation of cooled lava and magma. Over millions of years this lava has metamorphosed into many kinds of geological structures. The most common in the Loire is granite, and in Muscadet, it’s everywhere. Vineyards are carved out of its hard surface and the hallmark minerality that it helps to produce makes Muscadet one of the great white wines of the world. In one village in the Muscadet region, Monnières, this cooled lava didn’t change into granite. Instead, it stayed in relatively unchanged fashion and today is called gabbro. It is one of the purest forms of molten magma as it is formed underground, and without an escape route, turns crystalline.

Michel and Nathalie Delhommeau, a young couple making some of the most crystalline Muscadets you can find, own 27 hectares of vines planted on this gabbro. Some of their holdings are old vines planted before World War II. The property, which is in conversion to organic certification, is one of the few in the region to vinify by parcel and use indigenous yeast. The wines here are simply made but not simple. There is no wood aging. There is very little lees stirring. There are no fancy techniques. The grapes are harvested, they are gently crushed, they ferment naturally, and then they take a long winter’s nap until March. It is, above all, the gabbro that is the loudest voice in this conversation.

Recently Michel and Nathalie have started buying small amounts of vines on other soils types like the hard granite of Monnières Saint Fiacre and Clisson which they will separate out into new cuvées. These, along with the higher-end current wines, will spend a longer time in tank to help develop the structure before bottling.

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“If you ever hesitated to love Muscadet, these have the capacity to change that preconception... They do not come from hard and sour granite soils, but from molten lava called gabbro. This crystalline soil gives wines of finesse and elegance, but also charm—a character you can rarely find in Muscadet”

– Stephan Reinhardt
Loire, France
  • Location
    Loire, France
  • Primary Appellation
    Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine
  • Proprietor
    Famille Delhommeau
  • Winemaker
    Michel Delhommeau
  • Size / Elevation
    27 hectares / 30–50 meters
  • Age of Vines
    15-45+ years
  • Farming
    Certified Organic (ECOCERT)
  • Varieties
    Melon de Bourgogne
  • Cellar
    Natural yeast fermentation in tank after pneumatic pressing and settling, aging in tank on fine lees
  • Portfolio
    Jon-David Headrick Selections
  • Visit Website

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