Fiefs Vendeens wine appellation in the Loire Valley, France Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Fiefs Vendeens wine appellation
Wine appellation

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Country: France

The Fiefs Vendeens wine appellation lies just below the Loire Valley on the west coast of France. It is not too far from the Muscadet appellation. The appellation is divided into four distinct sub-appellations (called denominations) called Pissotte, Mareuil, Brem and Vix. Pissotte and Vix are tiny areas to the north and south of Fontenay-Le-Comte in the west of the Vendée and cover the area of the communes of the same name. The other two are larger areas closer to the coast near Les Sables d'Olonne in the case of Brem and to the south of La Roche sur Yon in the case of Mareuil.
As you drive south from the city of Nantes the terrain flattens and the plains look like they battle against winds sweeping in from the Atlantic. Salt smells fill the air.
The vines that line the roads here are deliberately stunted. They crouch low to the ground so the winds cannot wreak havoc. Soils range from sodden clay to beautiful, striated ancient schist that imparts an incredible mineral flavour to the grapes that thrive on these difficult soils.
The appellation allows red, white and rose wines. The whites are made from Chenin Blanc with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc also allowed and the reds and rose from Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay Noir and Negrette.
There are some wonderful wines produced here with Pinot Noir working very well in the schist soils and the temperate climate which is regulated by cooling breezes from the Atlantic Ocean.
The area is of interest because the red wines rely on grape varieties that are usually associated with other parts of France. Thus we see some great reds from winemakers such as J. Mourat Pere & Fils using Negrette which is more commonly associated with the Fronton appellation in south west France and the lovely food-friendly biodynamic wines of Domaine St. Nicolas which use Pinot Noir, a grape more commonly associated with the Burgundy and Champagne districts.
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