LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE
Having studied at Briacé and gained experience with Emile Peynaud and Pascal Ribéreau-Gayon, both of the Faculty of Oenology at the University of Bordeaux, it is perhaps no surprise that Luneau-Papin is one of Muscadet’s leading lights. In his immaculate winery, Pierre proceeds to vinify in small batches according to the origin of the fruit. The harvest is done by hand, also a rarity in the region, to avoid any oxidation before pressing. There is an immediate light débourbage (separation of juice from gross lees), then a 4-week fermentation at 20 degrees, followed by 6 months (or longer for some cuvées) of aging in stainless-steel vats on fine lees. This is the classic Muscadet-sur-lie process, where the wine is kept on its lees, with a fair amount of CO2 as protection, until bottling in the spring following the harvest. The only modern technique used here is macération pelliculaire (maceration of lightly crushed berries before pressing), which varies in proportion according to the cuvées.