Domaine du Haut Bourg
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Country of Origin: France
Location: Côtes de Grandlieu, Muscadet
People: Brothers Hervé & Nicolas Choblet, Owners
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Located in the heart of the Muscadet appellation, Côtes de Grandlieu, the Domaine du Haut Bourg was built by four generations of winegrowers. The first vine was planted in 1945, and today brothers Hervé and Nicolas Choblet run their 42-hectare estate vineyard together.
Fourteen kilometers southeast of Nantes, the Côtes de Grandlieu AOC is formed by nineteen townships that surround the Lac de Grand-Lieu. The Lac de Grand-Lieu, a wildlife preserve that houses 250 species of birds, is the largest natural lake in Europe and spans 6,300 hectares at its peak in winter. The appellation, created in December 1994, benefits from the distinct microclimate created by the lake. Thanks to this large body, the sun’s daily heat is retained, a compounding benefit to the wine crop that gets to ripen a little longer while avoiding frost.
The Haut Bourg Vineyard is located northwest of the lake in the town of Bouaye and enjoys a privileged exposure of south facing slopes. The soil contains micaschiste, granite pebbles and sand. The Lac de Grand-Lieu (south), the Loire River (north) and the low altitude (from 15 to 25 meters) has created a microclimate characterized by small temperature differences between day and night. This phenomenon allows an early harvest that retains the acids typical of Muscadet.
Hervé and Nicolas Choblet practice lutte raisonnée (sustainable viticulture) in the vineyard, meaning they try to avoid chemical or mechanical intervention at all possible times during the growing season except in the rare instance where they would risk losing their entire crop. Their vines average 30 years of age, with some vines as old as 60 years old. These old vines are highly valued in providing structure and richness to their wines. They plant densely, with 7,000 vines per hectare. Grass grows between the Guyot-trained vine rows. During the first three years after vine plantation, they plough the soil to obtain deep roots that help to create beautiful mineral flavors in the wines.
From harvest through vinification, all is handled at their estate, including bottling. The grapes are vinified traditionally: the must settles for 48 hours and ferments with indigenous yeasts at a controlled temperature to accentuate aromas and balance. All white wines are vinified on their lees, resulting in just the right amount of effervescence to accentuate the wines’ vibrant fruit expression. They make a regular Muscadet Sur-Lie, as well as a special cuvée aged a minimum of 7 years on the lees, the latter in particular showing off the amazing aging potential of their wines.
"Young Hervé and Nicolas Choblet, whom I have never met, are leading producers in the Côtes de Grandlieu. The Domaine du Haut Bourg was established by their great-grandfather in 1944 and the property’s oldest remaining vines were planted not long thereafter. Even by the standards of Muscadet generally, the Choblets’ wines frequently offer amazing value."