At this time of year, the argument for Muscadet as the greatest single value wine in France cannot be upstaged by any region. And finding the appellation's greatest star entering at $18 per bottle makes this case even stronger.

In Muscadet, where the Atlantic Ocean is at its most influential, the Melon de Bourgogne grape is deep, textural, and under the Pepière name speaks to the heights possible to achieve. They offer immediate satisfaction, age at a glacial pace, and rival the sophistication found in Sancerre and Chablis, but at half the price. 

Marc Olivier and Rémi Branger work magic at Pepière, showcasing Melon's tell-tale notes of brioche, citrus fruits, and a briny, Atlantic ocean salinity that Muscadet has become adored for.

Clisson has been my single favorite bottling of Muscadet for many years. 8 hectares of this Cru go into this top cuvée. The distinctive soil, known as granite de Clisson, is made of very compact granite with veins of quartz and mica (pictured above). The absence of clay here separates this Cru from many others in the region. And the better draining granite soils here forced these old vines (up to 110 yrs-old) to dig very deep into the bedrock, giving a complexity that's made this a benchmark for the entire region.

Fermentation and aging takes place in steel vats where the wine is left completely undisturbed for two years, aging on the lees. This Sur Lie process of aging on the dead yeast cells is the reason these citrus-toned fruit flavors take on that brioche and creamy texture slowly over time. When bottled, the combo is one that's uniquely delicious and offers incredible aging potential in bottle. Here, Clisson is offered in magnums, both 2012 and 2014 are the two most successful vintages of this wine over the decade.

La Pepie is Pepières "entry level" wine, but please make no mistake, at $18 this will transform in the cellar over many years, yet brings a pop-n-pour element on release that makes it a favorite summer sharing wine. Coming from a parcel of more sandy soils on top of granite bedrock. A cooler full of ice and six bottles of La Pepie is about the easiest choice one can make when it's time to host and you need something light, crisp, and affordable.

Add some oysters or shellfish to the situation and suddenly things get dead-serious. Do not miss this as summer is in full swing. 2015 provided a perfect style for this wine, with the dry and hot temperatures endowing this "baby" Pepière with more stuffing and length than anytime in recent memory.

2015 Pepière "La Pepie" Muscadet Sèvre et Maine
$18 per bottle.

2014 Pepière Muscadet Clisson 1.5L
$63 per bottle.

2012 Pepière Muscadet Clisson 1.5L
$63 per bottle.