Domaine de la Combe Muscadet Tradition Muscadet Sevre & Maine Sur Lie 2022  £14.34

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Domaine de la Combe Vieilles Vignes Muscadet Sevre & Maine Sur Lie 2018

Domaine de la Combe (formerly Domaine les Grands Presbytères) in the village of Saint-Fiâcre, is nestled in the cradle of the Muscadet appellation between the two rivers of Sèvre and Maine. The slopes of these river valleys give the vines unique exposure. After centuries of erosion they grow on a terroir of schist, gneiss and mineral rich orthogneiss, a soil composition that means Saint-Fiâcre is considered one of the best sites for Muscadet Sèvre et Maine.

Wines are made from vines of different ages. The oldest were planted in 1950s - a rarity in an area where most are dug up after 40 years - whilst the most recent plantings date from 2016. Not only are new vines being planted when necessary, but the planting density is being increased from 7,000 to 7,700 vines per hectare to force the roots deeper into the rocky soils.

After working in vineyards across the world, Pierre-Henri Gadais returned to his family's domaine in 2016 to take over from his father, Christophe, who had taken it over from the previous owner - Nelly Marzelleau - in 2009. Passionate about the expression of terroir and protecting the environment, Pierre-Henri is in the process of converting the vineyard to fully organic viticulture, aiming for full certification by 2021.

The vineyard for this wine lies on one of the best sites in Nantais at Saint-Fiâcre. Here the soils are layered with orthogneiss, a cracked, mineral-rich rock through which the vine roots weave and nourish the vine. Made traditionally at this small estate, the grapes were hand-picked, lightly pressed to retain their delicacy and purity of flavour, and fermented at cool temperatures to preserve their aromas. The wine was left on its fine lees until the following spring to add complexity and extra richness.

Ripe pear fruit and flinty notes with a hint of yeasty lees on the nose. The palate has a classic salty tang and mineral complexity with some richness characteristic of the warm vintage and a tasty long finish.

Begs for shellfish on ice but would also work well with almost any grilled fish and soft cheeses.

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