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Thursday, 17 March 2011

Thierry Michon: Domain St Nicolas

I recently had the pleasure of a quick business trip down to Sydney.  Naturally I left sufficient time to be able to take in a couple of the fantastic wine outlets in Sydney and it was at Fix St James where generous host/ owner Stuart Knox allowed this interloper to stay for a trade tasting of the wines of Domain St Nicolas.  Thierry Michon is the vigneron of Domain St Nicolas and was in Australia as part of the Return to Terroir initiative.

Spread over 32 hectares, the Domain St Nicolas estate has been cultivated organically since 1995. No synthetic pesticides or other chemical products are applied.  Thierry often comments that 'he is alone' - meaning that his vineyards are not next to any other vineyards where there might be sprays used.  In fact whilst all wines are certified Biodynamic.

From Thierry's site: "The estate is situated on the Ile d’Olonne which borders the old salt marshes of the Pays des Olonnes. The vines are planted facing south-west for the Pinot Noir, Gamay and Cabernet and south-east for the Chardonnay and Chenin on clay and schisty soils." 

The region recently received AOC status - thus some of the wines produced will technically be illegal under the conditions of the appellation, Thierry will be given a period of grace but ultimately it is likely he will classify the wines as 'Vin de Table'.  Because he's like that.  And he can.

I've no doubt not done these wines justice, but it's all part of my education. 

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Brem Les Clous Blanc 2009
A blend of Chenin, Chardonnay and a touch of Groslot Gris.  You can smell the marsh in the aromas present, manifesting to me like heather, lavender and almond.  Good tight, crisp palate. 

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Brem Reflets Rose 2009 
Gamay, Pinot Noir and Groslot Gris.  One for the #RoseRev: Gloriously pale pink colour with berry aromas with a savoury dry finish many of us are now familiar with. 

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Brem Cuvee Maria Blanc 2005
Straight Chardonnay, named after Thierry's grandmother.  Made in the Burgundian style with new oak treatment.  Apparently this tastes very similar to White Burgundy, this correspondent not having consumed enough to refute or support that claim.  I found it fairly lean, good minerality with an exemplary finish. 

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Brem Gammes en May Rouge 2009
The name is simply a play on Gamay.  No carbonic maceration lends the nose a slightly earthen mushroomy aroma still supported by typical bubblegum notes.  The back palate exhibits a slightly more savoury note. 

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Brem Reflets Rouge 2009
A blend of Pinot Noir, Gamay and Cabernet Franc.  Light berry aromas on the palate but the real beauty of the wine is the incredible lightness of being in the palate.  Fantastic delicate balance in the mouth. 

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Brem Cabaret Rouge 2007
Beautiful perfume and trademark blackcurrant aroma.  The wine showed a good tannic backbone and length. 

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Brem Cabaret Rouge 2006
Perfume here was not as dominant but this was compensated for by a finer body, smoother tannins - yet still persistent with that driving finish. 

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Brem Cuvee Le Poiré 2008
Made from 100% Negrette, a variety more at home around Toulouse.  Gloriously perfumed - yet again - to me it showed some Gamay like qualities: light berry, sweet fruit characteristics.  Yet the palate was leathery with fine tannins.  Interesting variety, apparently goes well with fatty foods. 

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Brem La Grande Pièce Rouge 2005
Pinot Noir made in the Burgundian style.  To me the core exhibited a strong hit of raspberry yet this transitioned to a spicy back end, alluding to a faint Maritime hit.

Source: Fix St James
Price: $Free
Alcohol: Yes
Closure: About 17:00


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