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Benoit hasn't had a year like 2021 in quite a while. The four days of consecutive frost saw him lose 90% of the grapes that would typically be used in this wine. With many of his neighbours in a similar position with not much fruit to spare, he had to look further afield for some negocé fruit in order to produce the much-loved Natürlich. Fortunately in Bergerac they'd had a particularly fresh vintage, with big yields and good acidity: Benoit was able to head to a friend to pick a good chunk of Semillon to take back home.
So it is, that Naturlich 2021 is an 80/10/10 blend of direct-pressed Semillon, Pinot Noir and Gamay, no disgorgement and no sulphur added: the Semillon brings a little fleshy stone-fruit this year, but otherwise the acidity and minerality we all know and love is here.
Third-generation winemaker Bernard had been working with his brother Jo in the heart of Muscadet Sèvre et Maine area, before moving in 2002 to the lesser-known and therefore cheaper area of Ancenis, (to the North-East of Nantes). Initially his whole production was sold in bulk, but when eldest son Benoît returned in 2008 after his degree in viticulture and oenology, they started to bottle their own wine - organic conversion began in 2010. They now farm around 25 hectares and moved to a 'new' cellar in the town of Oudon for the 2017 harvest. They have a mix of varieties planted, including Melon de Bourgogne, Folle Blanche, Pinot Gris, Gamay, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2013 Benoît started making sparkling wines, producing a selection of lively and bright Pet-Nats. The climate of the Coteaux de la Loire is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and the Loire River. It is a soft climate; not too cold, not too warm and little rainy - with hilly relief to the edge of the Loire. It allows for deep roots, so good ripeness. The moderate temperature in summer allows for freshness in the wine. The ocean winds follow the Loire and reduce the humidity in the air. They make wines with freshness and personality; expressing the diverse mix of soils that Muscadet offers - roundness from gneiss, more minerality from schist.