We’re very happy to introduce three new cheeses this week.
Le Somport Fermier $24.99/lb
A farmstead Tomme made from raw cow’s milk in the mountainous Basque Pyrenees of France. This semi-soft cheese is aged for five months. Mild and creamy with delicate mushroom notes and a long hazelnut finish. Truly TASTY! Pairs well with a Basque Irouleguy red wine.
2011 Brana Ohitza Irouleguy Rouge $26.99
This is an incredible, full-bodied, but not massive, red wine that’s driven by tannins and black fruits. Lots of character and flavor here with mineral, game meat, fresh thyme, rosemary, and mint, as well as dark chocolate, black cherry, plum and blackcurrant.
Tomme Corse Brebis $31.99/lb
We love Tomme Corse Chevre, and now we carry itsbrebis counterpart. This Tomme is made from pasteurized sheep’s milk on the island of Corsica. Rich, savory, and slightly salty with a peppery tang. Described to us by our French cheesemonger as “à mourir d’envie”, a cheese to die for. Pair this Tomme with a Corsican red.
2010 Domaine Maestracci ‘E Prove’ Corse Calvi $17.99
“Something about its tannin, black fruit, herbs, and spices makes it almost as fundamental as olive oil at any Mediterranean meal.” – Kermit Lynch.
“Schlossberger” Cave Aged Gruyère $27.99/lb
Schlossberger Gruyère is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk, and aged in caves near the Schlossberg castle in Switzerland. After its aging period of 18 months, bits of salt crystal begin to form, giving the cheese a pleasant crunch. A firm and creamy gruyère, with butter, herb, and hazelnut notes.
From time to time we like to shine a spotlight on outstanding wineries and winemakers. There are only a handful of truly worthy Muscadet producers, and Domaine de la Pépière is most certainly one of the greats. Marc Ollivier has more than done his fair share in insuring Muscadet’s meteoric rise to the top. His insistence on clean vineyard practices in a region where that can be very difficult, as well as concentration on single terroir bottlings, has set a quality standard for Muscadet that is very high.
Domaine de la Pépière
When Marc Ollivier is on, these are the top wines of the AOC – wines that are not only delicious young, but that can also age 10, 20 or 30 years. Ollivier’s Muscadet-sur-Lie is the authentic item — it has lees contact until the time of bottling, generally in late May. This extended contact gives it the crispness that makes Muscadet so refreshing, and the classic wine match for seafood. It is the traditional way to make Muscadet, but has become the exception as growers and shippers rush to bottle “technically correct” wines by early January.
In this rush to bottle, Muscadet producers use special “starter” yeasts (which often also add flavors and aromas) to accelerate fermentation and enzymes or other techniques to finish the wine early. Sterile filtration is in rampant use. Ollivier takes his time. He hand harvests (also a rarity in the region), uses natural yeasts, waits for the wine to finish and bottles with a very light filtration. The vineyards are in old vines (40 years and older) with a particularly good exposition on a plateau overlooking the river Sèvre. All the vineyards are from original stock: Ollivier is the only grower in the Muscadet who does not have a single clonal selection in his vineyards.
The vinification techniques are traditional for the area: no skin maceration but direct pressing within 2 hours of picking, racking of the must after 12 hours to remove the solid matter, and controlled temperatures, not to exceed 71.6 degrees F, for the fermentation. The aging of the wine, on its lees in stainless steel vats, lasts until bottling, about eight months later.
–Notes adapted from the Louis Dressner website, Domaine de la Pépière’s importer.
2014 Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet Sévre et Maine sur Lie $13.99
The white labeled regular 2014 Muscadet des Sèvre et Maine “sur lie” has a yeasty aroma of fully ripe yellow-fleshed fruits mixed with citrus flavors. It is a medium-bodied and minerally structured, fresh and salty Muscadet of great purity with a good aftertaste. It’s already drinkable, but can age for ten years or more, although it should be consumed sooner rather than later, due to its attractive fruit and vibrancy.
2013 Domaine de la Pépière ‘Clisson’ Muscadet Sévre et Maine $22.99
One of Ollivier’s most famous bottlings, Clisson is largely a granitic site that has been recognized for its unique terroir. Clisson produces a tightly knit, mineral driven Melon de Bourgogne that while delicious when young, can be a revelation when allowed to age for a few years.
“A remarkable, high-toned nose of pear, peach, almond extract, basswood (a.k.a. linden, a.k.a. tillieul), and pungent citrus oils and buckwheat leads to a palate of subtly oily texture; expansive richness and northerly orchard fruit ripeness unexpected from Muscadet; as well as deep saline, and crustacean minerality. Piquant nuttiness, sizzling citrus oil, and licks of salt offer counterpoint to the fruit in a finish of vibratory intensity.” – Wine Advocate.
2013 Domaine de la Pépière ‘Monnières-Saint Fiacre’ Muscadet Sévre et Maine $22.99
This is a new labeling for Pepière, but Ollivier has worked this vineyard for some time now- these grapes previously went into his ‘Gras Moutons’ bottling. Monnières-Saint Fiacre was recently recognized as part of the “cru communaux” system which includes 9 different vineyards, all with with special terroirs and qualities. The Monnières-Saint Fiacre is softer and more creamy than the Clisson Muscadet, and perhaps a better candidate for early drinking, although there is no doubt this will age more than gracefully.
Note: Paris grocery also regularly stocks the superb Domaine de La Pépière ‘Clos de Briords’ Muscadet, when available. $18.99
Kelsey & Manuel