Zeste 2022

Producer: Domaine de la Combe
Region: Loire Valley
Appellation: Vin de France
Country: France
Wine Type: White
Variety: Melon de Bourgogne
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Alcohol: 12%
Residual Sugar: 0 g/L
Soil: orthogneiss
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Cellar Profile

Nestled along the Sèvre River, in the Nantes region of the Loire Valley, sits the village of Saint-Fiacre. This is Muscadet country and home to owner/winemaker Pierre-Henri Gadais’ exciting new winery, Domaine de la Combe. Gadais is one of the talented and driven new winemakers that is working hard to bring this storied region back to its former glory. The vineyard sits on the southern slopes of a valley carved out of metamorphic rock, with pebbly soil on top of layers of schist. The excellent drainage and steep slopes ensure that, despite the periodic heavy rainfalls in the region, the vines are forced to dig deep into the rocky soil to get water. Grapes are organically and sustainably grown and the estate was certified in organic agriculture in 2021. Gadais believes in minimal intervention in the cellar, utilizing indigenous yeasts and chill stabilizing to avoid malolactic fermentation. He also believes Melon de Bourgogne – the only grape variety he grows – should spend some time sitting on its lees and eschews new oak or barriques. Wines are produced in tiny lots and are some of the most complex Muscadet from the region.


Muscadet sits in the Nantais region of the Loire Valley. Bordered by the foothills of the Mauges and Bocage Verdeen ranges, vineyards are frequently planted on the steep hillsides of the Sèvre and Maine Rivers. Sitting on the Armoricain Massif, its soils are primarily gneiss, schist and granite. There are crushed seashells and sand pockets leftover from retreating oceanic waters in many of the vineyards. Melon de Bourgogne is the only variety allowed in appellation-status bottlings. These white wines are typically light- to medium- bodied with vibrant acidity.


This single-varietal Melon cuvée comes from a selection of grapes from a single plot called “Le Moque Chien”. At the mouth of the iconic Sèvre and Maine Rivers, in the little village of Saint-Fiacre, the vineyard is planted in gneiss, which has a similar composition to granite. From old vines planted in 1967, sitting in the widely acclaimed lieu-dit of Pétière, the vines have an advantageous southeastern exposure that allows them to enjoy full sun during the day. This is important, as strong Atlantic winds severely moderate temperatures and cool evenings are the norm during the growing season.


Melon de Bourgogne is a crossing between Pinot Blanc and the little known Gouais Blanc. It was prevalent in the vineyards of Burgundy (hence its name) until it was ordered to be destroyed by the Burgundians in the 18th century. By then, it had a toehold in the Atlantic area of the Loire Valley around Nantes, where it became the dominant grape and the base for Muscadet. Typically high in acid, fresh and mineral-driven, it does not take to new oak very well. Complexity is gained by spending time on its lees. The best examples gain stone fruit notes to go along with the characteristic citrus elements.


Slightly overripe grapes are hand-harvested, then placed in a barrel for carbonic maceration of whole clusters. The skin contact juice is blended with free run juice before being transferred back into the barrels used for maceration to complete fermentation. Only indigenous yeasts are used and the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation on its own. It is aged on its lees for 8 months, without any racking or stirring, before being bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Tasting Notes 

An orange Muscadet! Tawny-orange flecks and rich gold hue, with aromas of blood orange, papaya and spice. The palate is dry, but richer than a normal Muscadet. On the palate, you’ll find tropical notes, candied orange peel, cardamom, white grapefruit and ocean spray minerality. There is a touch of grip from the skin contact, but the wine is creamier than one would expect, given the varietal and the region. Chill and serve alongside a roast chicken dinner, roasted aubergine and cauliflower or grilled halloumi.