Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Refreshing Whites: Muscadet

Tired of drinking the same white variety all the time? Isn’t it time to try something new and affordable? What about a dry white with refreshing acidity, like Muscadet

Located at the western side of the Loire Valley and close to the Atlantic, Muscadet enjoys a cool and humid climate influenced by the ocean, perfect to grow white grapes, which in this case is the Melon de Bourgogne variety.  Melon de Bourgogne is a crossing of Pinot Blanc and Gouais Blanc and it was brought to the area from Burgundy after a frost destroyed most vineyards in the region in 1709. About 12,000 ha are dedicated to growing Melon de Bourgogne, mostly planted in a variety of soils that include, schist, granite or gneiss.

Map courtesy of Loire
Valley Wines/ Sopexa
In the red circle, the areas of Muscadet

There are four important appellations in this region, located around the town of Nantes,  the most important is Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine, named after the two rivers that cross this AOP and where most of wine is produced, about ¾  of the total production, followed by Muscadet Coteaux de La Loire, Muscadet-Côtes de Grandlieu and basic Muscadet. Wines made in the first three AOP are aged with the lees (dead yeasts) which thanks to autolysis will give the wines creaminess and a bit of spritz. 

Stylistically Muscadet is a light, dry and crisp white with balanced alcohol (maximum by law is 12%) on the palate it will show interesting minerality, and citrus notes: lime, lemon zest, lemon curd and honeysuckle. The best match for this wine is seafood, especially oysters, mussels, but also shrimp and lobster. 

If the words “sur lie” appear on the label, by law the wine must be bottled between March and November of the year after harvest, usually without filtration. Some producers choose to keep wines on lees longer in an effort to obtain a fuller wine. Try to drink this young, to a maximum of 3 years after the harvest.

Recommended producers:
Domaine de L’ecu, Pierre Luneau Papin, Domaine de La Pepiere, Joseph Landron, Chereau Carre and Domaine de La Grange, Château de la Ragotière.

Muscadet that I tasted lately that I liked: 
Château de la Ragotière Muscadet Black Label Sur Lie 2018 $17.99
Château de la Ragotière Muscadet Cuvée Amélie 2015 $17.99
These two fine samples of Muscadet were aged for 10 months with their lees and come from old vines with an average of 30 to 60 years in the first case and 50 years in the second sample. Light bodied, crispy and extremely elegant prove that less is always more. Highly recommended! Cheers, Silvina

#muscadet #thoughtsoflawina #drywhite #melondebourgogne #ChâteaudelaRagotière
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