New Landron: Clos la Cariziere
That's Jo Landron, you've probably read about him here before. We really love his wines. I thought I knew about all of them, but I was wrong, as I'd never tasted his Clos la Cariziere. We tasted it a few weeks ago, and it has now garnered quite an audience at Craft and Cru. If you haven't tried it yet, do so soon.
One of the things I struggle with as a wine lover, wine buyer and wine seller is the sustainability of fine wine. Even if the wine maker takes every step to preserve the environment and local culture, can they offer their wines at reasonable prices when their customers are halfway across the world? Must the finest wines of the world occupy the realm of luxury, excess, extravagance and indulgence? In many cases the answer is an unequivocal "yes". In some very delectable instances, we can say "of course not" and rejoice! Allow me to introduce Jo Landron and his wines: a case of what might be called "sustainable luxury".
Jo Landron's wines are certainly more sustainable than most: respect for the soil and the environment is paramount chez Landron and his prices are great even in the context of Muscadet's reputation as a "value region". I hesitate, however, to call Jo's wines "luxury" because it's just not his style. He is one of the most humble guys you will ever meet and it would only be the high quality and delicacy of his wines not price or image that would place his wines with other "luxuries". With his long standing reputation as one of the leaders in Muscadet he could have made his life easier and found a large national importer. Instead he works with small direct importers, with whom he maintains close relationships, assured that his wines are sold by people who love and understand them. This type of relationship with his Massachusetts importer ensures that we can offer his wines at incredibly reasonable prices.
Muscadet Sevre et Maine has long struggled with its humble reputation. The region is at the northern edge of viable viticultural land in France and the influence of the Atlantic ocean often brings rain during the growing season. Muscadet is also dominated by industrial operations that rely on chemicals in the vineyards, machine harvesting, and sterile winemaking, resulting in wines that are often boring, if not downright deplorable. There have, however, always been winemakers focused on the land, as well as excellent and distinctive wines. Their number is on the rise, but Jo Landron has been counted as a leader in this band apart since the '80s. He joined his father at the domaine in 1979 and by 1987 they had eliminated chemicals in the vineyards. By 1999 they were completely organic and with the 2011 vintage certified biodynamic.
The finest wines of Muscadet have seen a rise in popularity. There are numerous examples to be found locally, and one might see excellent Muscadet on well-curated restaurant lists, but the idea of Muscadet as serious is far from mainstream. This is a shame because great Muscadet deserves wider attention. Consider what Jancis Robinson has to say about the region: "The prospects in this part of the Loire are as bleak as its outlook into the cold, restless Atlantic. Muscadet is an endangered species, and the opportunity to save it lies with us: in our wallets and purses. Every cheap Pinot Grigio or branded Sauvignon Blanc we default to is a vote against wine's great diversity."
Jo Landron Clos la Cariziere 2019 - $18
Quick taste, but this was obviously superb Muscadet. Lemon, lime, ripe apple, a little pineapple and mirabelle, salty sea air, lettuce, a touch of yeast and nut skins. Silky and smooth upfront; pristine fresh fruit coats the palate; zippy, tart and saline through the classic dry finish. Built for seafood, especially oysters. This will develop positively for another few years maybe longer, but I might follow it closely, as it is probably in a sweet spot now. This is Melon as a bold contender. Bravo!
This stuff is a steal at $18, but if you buy a case (12 bottles) we'll knock 15% off. We ran out over the weekend, but more will arrive tomorrow morning.
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