Domaine de la Pepiere Chateau Thebaud Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine
The cru of Château Thébaud came into Pépière world via Marc Ollivier's partner Rémi Branger, whose father farmed two parcels of it for decades. There are 14 hectares of vines--up to 65 years old--on a south-facing, earlier-ripening slope. The soils are of granite de Thébaud, a granite differing from that of Clisson in containing more feldspar and clay--this means more nutrients for the vines, cooler soil temperature, slower ripening, better water retention, and porosity that allows the roots to go deep to the hard granite mother rock. The farming is organic and harvest and all work by hand.
As with the rest of the Pepière wines, the fruit is direct-pressed in whole clusters and the juice settled naturally for 12 hours. It is then fermented in stainless steel tanks with natural yeasts; the wine is aged on its lees in large underground vats until bottling without fining or filtering. Thébaud needs longer aging on the lees than any of the other wines, for 3.5 years in the case of 2012. It is typically the most austere, intensely salty, and mineral of the line-up.