Unlike the garrulous, generous, always entertaining Michel, his wines “need years just to begin to speak”. Sometimes that’s because they are still encased in their underground womb five years after harvest, resting and soaking up flavour from the lees, but more often they just seem to take a very long time to come round. Whatever the case, it is almost certainly a waste to drink his wines before their tenth birthday, when they start to unfurl into exquisitely poised, minerally marvels.
We do not know why (nor does Michel, when we asked), but we suspect it’s a combination of the gabbro bedrock, which his ancient vines are firmly rooted in, simple, low-fuss farming, and equally straightforward vinification, with no technological and chemical trickery. In certain vintages, he will set aside a cuve or two for extended lees aging, bottling only when he thinks it’s ready.
Michel often makes two or more cuvees of Muscadet each vintage, and the 2005 we have was bottled on 2 March 2011, more than five years after harvest. We think it is extraordinary now, but will only get better in the coming decades. The Gai Perlé is of similar quality and will also benefit from bottle aging.
Please also see our blog post about Michel.