Fred Lallier and Domaine Michel Brégeon

Easily one of the most powerful Muscadet wines I’ve ever had, this is the Gorges by Mr. Fred Lallier of Domaine Michel Brégeon.

His wines, they tend to stick out with a kind of quirkiness that somehow comes through – though not the flashy kind you’d get with the likes of Domaine Landron or Domaine de l’Ecu. Jo Landron’s moustache and Domaine de l’Ecu’s labels seem to scream for attention where Fred Lallier really is kind of a recluse.

Sitting across from Fred, his French-English dictionary always close by.

I had met Fred Lallier in 2018, when I had flown in to Nantes to visit a few wineries in the Loire Valley. Fred’s was one of the first I would visit in rainy Nantes.

Fred had taken over rom Michel Brégeon in 2011 and now farms about 9 hectares of vineyards mostly in the crus of Gorges and Clisson. He had implemented organic viticulture since having taken over at the estate. Where the Clisson vines are planted to Granitic soils, the vines of the Gorges are planted to a kind of soil that you only really find in this part of France. It is called Gabbro and is a type of blue volcanic soil, caused by underwater volcanoes, and is attributed to giving these wines their power.

A display of the gabbro rock on Fred’s table where were tasting from.

The wine felt full bodied for a Muscadet and felt like it had more heat than just 12% alcohol. The acidity balanced that power, giving it a crisp and fresh mouthfeel, its minerality pronounced and heavy, creating this sense of steeliness in the wine. As far as flavours go, the wine was incredibly lemony and flinty, with hints of lemon verbena and basil. Concentration of flavour was high beyond a doubt and started showing even some spice notes like sandalwood, eventually.

The cru system in Muscadet continues to expand with more sites being approved through a rigorous selection based off of various criteria. The Gorges cru was more recently approved in 2011, along with the crus of Clisson and Le Pallet. Along with its unique Gabbro soil type, the Gorges is also known for starting its harvests later than the surrounding areas, another reason why perhaps its wines can show these levels of fullness. These various crus of Muscadet should give the consumer greater options when it comes to purchasing the region’s wines, and would also appeal more to the serious and discerning drinkers who are after much more than just a midday quaff.

It is a shame that we don’t drink enough Muscadet, or get made fun of drinking Muscadet, when some of these well made examples can drink better with more complexity than some wines of Sancerre and the Chenin Blancs of Saumur. It is indeed a brilliant region to be discovering a bottle at a time, with every weekend fish roast, or on sunny afternoons with shucked oysters by the pool.

If you’d like to try this particular Muscadet by André-Michel Brégeon, and you live in Singapore, click here to buy online!