Jean-Baptiste Hardy is redefining what it means to make wine in Muscadet. After working harvests in Burgundy, South America, and New Zealand, he returned to his native village of Mouzillon, located just 25 kilometers from the city of Nantes in the heart of the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine area of western France. In 2018, he took over four hectares of old vines, and just two years later, released his two inaugural single-vineyard Melon de Bourgogne cuvées.
In 2022, Jean-Baptiste also took over 10 hectares of vines belonging to his parents (many of which come from old massale selections dating back to the 1960s), which grew his total holdings to 14 hectares. Along with Melon de Bourgogne, Jean-Baptiste’s vines are also planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Ploussard. A fervent believer in organic farming, Jean-Baptiste also implements biodynamic principles in his vineyard work, as he believes this means of cultivation best allows the unique mosaic of soils with which he works (volcanic gabbro, sand, clay) to shine. In addition to farming responsibly, Jean-Baptiste also implemented a new means of canopy management, including but not limited to trellising and leaf thinning, to ensure that the grape clusters receive optimal sunlight and, in turn, reach peak maturity.
In the cellar, all of Jean-Baptiste’s hand-harvested fruit is gently pressed, vinified, and aged sur-lie in large barrels for approximately one year, followed by six months in tank. Both wines undergo natural malolactic fermentation. All bottling is done without fining, filtration, or added sulfites. The resulting wines are vibrant, textured, and simply delightful to drink.
Jean-Baptiste is one of several young winemakers transforming the face of the Muscadet region. What was once deemed a place of one-dimensional, mass-produced wines is quickly transforming into a mecca of artisanal craftsmanship. We look forward to following Jean-Baptiste’s journey, one that is certain to be fruitful, to say the least.