Vineyard: 3 hectares parcel with 45-55 year old vines
Soil: Top soil is granulous and not very deep (30-50 cm). Sub-soil of orthogneiss, a metamorphosed igneous rock where minerals are arranged in bands.
Viticulture: Organically farmed since 1975, biodynamic-demeter certified since 1998. Soil worked manually and yields are kept low. All grapes are hand harvested.
Vinification: Gravity fed with no use of pumps. Wild yeast fermentations with no racking of the must. Only 25 mg of sulfur added between alcoholic and malolactic fermentation.
Aging: Aged on the lees in underground vats for 15-18 months.
Production: 1,420 cases
Notes: The Muscadet with the broadest shoulders in the Domaine de l'Ecu lineup, Orthogneiss is layered, complex and almost creamy but with a razor-edged acidity. A singular wine in a singlular group of wines.
Niger reported that his gneiss- and orthogneiss-based vineyards demanded especially careful selection in the aftermath of 2015’s late summer rain and subsequently persistent humidity, but the results here are clean and expressive. Smoky suggestions of struck flint mingle with quarry dust, fresh apple and lemon on the nose. There is a richer mouth feel here than in the corresponding “Granite” or “Gneiss” – even a hint of oiliness – but that has not precluded clarity or consummate refreshment on the finish, to which tingling impingements of lemon zest and stone lend invigoration.