Wines of the Week: Domaine la Pepière & Ken Wright Cellars

Domaine la Pepière 2022 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie Vieilles Vignes Clos des Briords 93
Ken Wright Cellars 2021 Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Oregon 90
by Robert Millman & Ian D’Agata

Domaine la Pepière 2022 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie Vieilles Vignes Clos des Briords             93

by Robert Millman

I have written about Domaine de la Pepiere’s top wine, the Clisson in an earlier review for TerroirSense. The Domaine was founded by Marc Ollivier in 1984. He started with a mere seven hectares. The Briords was his first cru in Muscadet. Its 4.4 hectares are suffused with granite. The average age of the vines is between 50 and 70 years. It was the first of the estate’s wines to be sold in America starting with the 1988 vintage. For lovers of Loire Valley white wine, the Clos Briords is the defining wine of Muscadet. I tasted the 2022 recently and was reminded vividly of how brilliant and satisfying the wine is. The fact that it sells for $US 23 makes it one of the greatest values in white wine on the market.

Marc Ollivier’s last vintage was 2019. He turned his estate over to the two people who had been working with him side by side for a long time: Remi Banger joined Ollivier in 2005 and Gwenaelle Croix in 2011. She helped persuade Ollivier to convert the farming to biodynamics. One of the remarkable features of the Pepière Muscadets is how long they age. I have tasted ten years old Briords which were as fresh as a daisy. After the disastrous 2021 vintage in Muscadet (and much of the Loire Valley for that matter) 2022 was a sigh of deep relief: a large crop of healthy ripe fruit. The 2022 Clos de Briords is brilliantly intense on the palate with scents and flavors of pear, apple, mint and verbena. The wine skips across the palate then grips the mouth with pleasant salinity. It is simply a wonderful wine that utterly belies its affordability. Drinking Window: 2023-2033.

Ken Wright Cellars 2021 Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Oregon            90

by Ian D’Agata

In 1986, Ken Wright moved to McMinnville and started Panther Creek Cellars where his desire to focus on and making vineyard-designated Pinot Noir wines became apparent to all. If today people speak of the Canary or Carter vineyards, it is thanks to Wright and his work. In 1994 he moved on, and founded Ken Wright Cellars located in bucolic Carlton in Oregon. Today, Ken Wright Cellars makes as many as thirteen different single vineyard Pinot Noir wines with grapes sourced from Northern Willamette Valley vines. Differently from all those, the 2021 Pinot Noir Willamette Valley bottling is made with grapes from a bunch of different vineyards such as Abbot Claim and McCrone.

The Ken Wright Cellars 2021 Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Oregon is easygoing and fresh, providing a nicely accessible mouthful of Pinot Noir wine. Deep bright ruby. Aromas and flavours of boysenberry, blueberry and strawberry, with hints of damp earth, truffles and spices. The finish is long and lively, leaving behind a nicely silky mouthfeel. Made from organic certified grapes. Drinking window: 2024-2028.


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