Domaine Saint Nicolas

We always enjoy our convivial visits to Thierry Michon's winery on the Atlantic coast of France south of the city of Nantes. We spend a very enjoyable day tasting the entire range of his wines and bumping around his extensive vineyard plots in his white van. His commitment to biodynamics is commendable. He often comments that 'he is alone' meaning that his vineyards are not next to any other vineyards where there might be sprays used.

These are great wines from the Fiefs Vendéens appellation - one that is not very well known outside the Loire, however it is the only place in France where Pinot Noir and Gamay are grown in a maritime climate!

The vineyards also benefit from the cooling breezes from the nearby ocean and from the excellent soils consisting of clay derived from shale, schist and limestone. The bedrock here is very close to the surface but also very friable, meaning the roots can force their way down through the rocks searching for water.

You can listen to an interview given by Thierry during his visit to Australia in 2011.

http://www.spitbucket.com/video-review/Wine-Review-Domain-St-Nicolas-French-Cuvee-Episode-106?catId=1

Domaine Saint Nicolas Vin Mousseux de Qualité Be Bop 2011

Be Bop is a blend of Chenin Blanc and Grolleau Gris, which will supplement our dwindling supplies of Méthode Traditionnelle sparkling wines (i.e. sparkling wines that undergo a secondary fermentation as is the practice in Champagne). This wine is from the 2011 vintage and had 5 years on lees before disgorging.

This is a very fine sparkling wine which has benefitted from the time spent on lees.

RRP: $42

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Les Clous Blanc 2016

Les Clous is a south-westerly exposed vineyard which was planted in 1980. It’s been managed biodynamically since 1993.

The 2016 vintage is one of the best yet. It is beautiful wine made from a mix of 60% Chenin Blanc and 30% of Chardonnay and 10% Groslot Gris in this vintage. Both the Chardonnay and the Grolleau Gris play a subtle but noticeable role in this beautiful wine that goes so well with food.

The vines thrive on a souh-east facing slope where the soil is schist-derived clay mixed with quartz pebbles.

Bottled in the spring following vintage after elevage in old wooden foudre, it’s light and bright with a strong backbone from the Chenin and is a good wine for pouring by the glass, especially to match seafood dishes.

Note that this wine is in very, very limited supply!

RRP: $40

Certified organic by Ecocert and biodynamic by Demeter

Domaine Saint Nicolas Vin de France Vin de Thierry 2016

This is a one-off white cuvée, Vin de Thierry, a nod to the inimitable Thierry Michon who is the public face of this family domaine. It’s made from Chenin Blanc and Grolleau Gris but contains purchased fruit (the Chenin Blanc). Like many other domaines, Domaine Saint Nicolas was given a dispensation to buy fruit in 2016 because of the lack of grapes following the frosts. 60% of it was aged in foudre with the rest in 600 litre barrels. (To be technically correct there is also one 220 litre barrel of Chardonnay in the wine!)

It’s a wine to supplement the very limited quantity of Les Clous, and is fresh, but with length, and ready to be drunk in the next 12 months.

RRP: $39

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Reflets Rouge

This was the first wine we ever tried from Domaine Saint Nicolas and we were hugely impressed with the quality. We didn't realise that it was Thierry Michon's entry level wine! It is only Pinot Noir in this vintage.

The vines thrive on a south-east facing slope where the soil is schist-derived clay mixed with quartz pebbles.

The wine was matured for between 6 months to a year in wooden foudres.

It is an elegant wine with good structure. It has not been filtered at our request and we are very happy with the results. This is a smooth and delicious wine that will go very well with a wide range of foods.

RRP: $32 for 2011, $35 for 2014

Certified organic by Ecocert and biodynamic by Demeter

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Reflets RosÉ 2016

The Domaine Saint Nicolas Rose is a delicate, pale pink perfumed beauty that is quite savoury with a dry finish making it perfect as an aperitif.

The wine is predominantly Pinot Noir although there is some Negrette and Groslot Gris as well to provide some additional complexity.

The vineyard faces south-west and the soil is comprised of clay and schist with lots of quartz pebbles. The wine was matured in old barrels for 6 months.

This is great value for money at this price.

RRP: $37

Certified organic by Ecocert and biodynamic by Demeter

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Gammes en May Rouge

The Domaine Saint Nicolas Gammes en May is a light, refreshing and delicious pure Gamay red wine. It is great for summer drinking served slightly chilled. 

It has less filtering than other Domaine Saint Nicolas wines, which gives it a meaty texture that belies its apparent light juiciness.

The vines thrive on a souh-east facing slope where the soil is schist-derived clay.

The wine was matured for 6 months in wooden foudres.

This wine represents excellent value for money at this price. The closure is DIAM. Because this wine is very natural you might find quite a bit of sediment in the bottle - but it doesn't matter, this wine is really, really fresh and delicious.

RRP: $32 for 2015 and $34 for 2016

Certified organic by Ecocert and biodynamic by Demeter

Tecnical Specification

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Le Haut des Clous Blanc

This is the prestige white from this domaine and is made from 100% Chenin Blanc. It has been fermented with natural yeasts then aged for 18 months in with 80% old oak and up to 20% of the wine exposed to new oak.

The grapes benefit from the schist soils that dominate this area and provide the minerality that is so marked in this wine and the cooling breezes from the Atlantic Ocean which you can see from the vineyard which reduce disease pressure. The vines are approximately 25 years old.

The biodynamic viticulture that Thierry Michon has practised for so long leads to healthier grapes packed with flavour.

RRP: $54 for 2012, $58 for 2014, $62 for 2015 and $64 for 2016

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens La Grande Pièce Rouge

This is one of the domaine's prestige red wine and is made from pure Pinot Noir from vines that are at least 25 years old and that provide very low yields (<30 hectolitres per hectare). The south-west facing vineyard, on schist, has been cultivated biodynamically since 1993. It is already elegant and refined but will continue to improve with age. It is a sensible 13% alcohol. Elevage is in 100% new oak.

RRP: $59 for 2004 and $97 for 2013

Certified organic by Ecocert and biodynamic by Demeter

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Amphore Blanc 2014

The Amphora Blanc is made primarily from Chenin Blanc that has been aged in a clay amphora. It comes from the same vineyard as the Haut des Clous which has older vines than the Les Clous vineyard.

This is an elegant and interesting wine that holds up very well after the bottle is opened and, in fact, improves as it gets more air.

A lovely wine!

RRP: $114

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Cuvee Maria Blanc 2011

Cuvee Maria is named after Thierry's grandmother. This is a very Burgundian wine being made from pure Chardonnay. It spent 18 months in small old oak barrels and now has had several years’ maturation in the bottle. If you like the wines of Burgundy then you will love this cuvee. Only 1200 bottles of this wine was produced.

RRP: $38

Certified organic by Ecocert and biodynamic by Demeter

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Cabaret Rouge 2013

This is a wine that is typical of the Loire region. It is made from pure Cabernet Franc that has been aged in barriques for a year. This is a particularly good example of a Loire Cabernet Franc. It is a great food wine which is drinking very nicely now.

It is unusual for a wine of this quality to be available for such a reasonable price. In all the wine tastings that we have carried out in Australia this has been regarded as a beautiful expression of the Cabernet Franc grape.

RRP: $40

Certified organic by Ecocert and biodynamic by Demeter

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Cuvee Jacques Rouge 2012

This silky cuvee is named after Thierry's grandfather and is a blend of Pinot Noir (90%) and Cabernet Franc (10%). It was aged in barriques for 18 months prior to bottling.

The Pinot Noir comes from vines between 20 and 30 years old, planted on schist soil. The Cabernet Franc vines are between 15 and 25 years old on clay soil. The vineyards have been cultivated with biodynamic practices since 1995. The grapes are hand-picked and completely destemmed. The maceration was in a wooden tank for 10-12 days with pigeage. The elevage is 18 months in oak barriques.

This wine has only recently been released because Thierry likes them to gain some age in the bottle prior to distribution.

RRP: $52

Certified organic by Ecocert and biodynamic by Demeter

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Cuvee Le Poiré

This is an intriguing wine made from an intriguing grape (100% Negrette). The vineyard from which this wine is made faces south and the soil is schist-derived clay sitting on schist and granite.

The wine was matured for 18 months in old barrels.

The colour is deep red and the flavour has hints of cherries and plums and a lingering, intense spiciness. One reviewer referred to it as 'brooding and primary'. It is a great, full-flavoured, intense wine. We think it is like a Pinot Noir on steroids! This one is well worth a try.

RRP: $55 for 2007, $57 for 2010, $61 for 2011

Certified organic by Ecocert and biodynamic by Demeter

Domaine Saint Nicolas Vin de Table Soleil de Chine Blanc 2011

The Domaine Saint Nicolas Soleil de Chine is a sweet 100% Chenin Blanc with 22 grams of residual sugar. The grapes are grown on vines that average in age between 15 and 25 years and that are grown in schist soils. A beautiful wine for dessert or for soft cheese.

RRP: SOLD OUT

Certified organic by Ecocert and biodynamic by Demeter

 

 

Tasmanian Licence No: 58292

WARNING

Under the Liquor Licensing Act 1990 it is an offence:

for alcohol to be delivered to a person under the age of 18 years.

Penalty: Fine not exceeding 20 penalty units ($3,080 as at, July 2015)

for a person under the age of 18 years to purchase liquor.

Penalty: Fine not exceeding 10 penalty units ($1,540 as at, July 2015)