The Quincy appellation has long been seen as an affordable alternative to Sancerre and shares much of the pedigree of its more famous neighbour.
Domaine de l'Epine started as a story of two friends – Elodie Vilpellet and Magali Le Roh. In 2015, as promised to her father before his death, Magali took over her family’s estate, which spans 30 hectares within the total 300 hectares of the Quincy appellation.
The first vines were planted in the Le Roh’s Domaine in 2000 and part of Magali’s promise to her father was to develop viticulture further. When her first Quincy was made, she named it ‘Une Promesse’ in honour of her pledge. In 2017, Magali met Elodie, the daughter of grape growers from Quincy, who had studied viticulture and oenology and worked as oenologist in Sancerre for 5 years.
Together, they created Domaine de l'Epine – a young domaine with already remarkable wines. Today, 3.70 ha of vines are already producing wines and another 2.70 ha that will come into production.
Magali has since stepped away from the project, and so Elodie is proudly soldiering on, on her own. She is in the process of buying back the land and will continue to honour their promise to her friend’s father.
Domaine de l’Epine takes a sustainable ‘lutte raisonnée’ approach to viticulture, relying on careful vineyard husbandry to balance the vineyards. Treatments are minimised and carried out only when necessary. Yields are kept in check at 45hl/ha, even if the appellation allows for up to 65hl/ha.
The most important goal of Domaine is to respect the balance of the grapes to obtain a harmonious wine.
The 3.8 hectares vineyards lie in Quincy in the Loire Valley, close in style and location to the famous appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. The climate in Quincy is classified as continental, generally cold and dry in the winter, mild and wet in the spring, sunny and warm in the summer then soft and humid in autumn. Soils are rich in sand and gravels, conducive to the development of richer Sauvignon Blanc when compared to more mineral styles of Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé, grown widely in calcareous and Silex soils.
Vines are pruned in single Guyot from December to March. In spring, once frost risk has passed, shoot thinning is carried out to remove excessive vegetative growth. Grapes are tasted regularly to determine ideal ripeness for harvesting, which can be spread over two to three weeks between mid-September and early October. Grapes are gently harvested, and a sorting table helps to select the best berries for wine production.