Situated near Nantes, as the Loire River meets the Atlantic, you’ll come across the sprawling hillside vineyards of Muscadet. And as our Loire month continues here at Virgin Wines, today I am going to explore this humble area in a little more depth.
Despite the diversity of styles produced throughout the Loire, Muscadet is a one trick pony. But that’s not a bad thing, by any means!
Only one grape variety, the white grape Melon de Bourgogne, is permitted in the production of Muscadet and key influences resulting from the Atlantic Ocean – damp, mild winters and early, dry growing seasons – play their part in shaping the wine style. The resulting wines are typically delicious and refreshing, yet delicate on the palate, with hints of green grass, pear and apple. Add in the bready, yeast notes that are often gained when the wine has spent the winter on its lees (look out for “sur lie” on the label) and you’ll get a wonderfully textured wine, with great intensity.
The influence of the Atlantic doesn’t stop there either. It’s no coincidence that Muscadet is a food friendly wine, often making a perfect accompaniment to seafood and shellfish. However, as a veggie, I prefer to partner my Muscadet with a tasty Greek salad, with extra olives. It’s a great match!
The wines from Muscadet express outstanding quality – often rivalling that expected from a Chablis or white Chateauneuf du Pape – yet rarely receive the same kudos. In my view, Muscadet has amazing potential and is worth making the time to try. We currently have two brilliant examples available on our website and I really would encourage you to give them a go.
Domaine les Grands Presbyteres Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie 2009 has been a firm favourite amongst our Buyers for a couple of years now. It was sourced from St Fiacre, one of the best sites for Muscadet and has crisp, flinty notes. Wine writer Sarah Ahmed loved it and from the comments and ratings, it would appear as though many of you do too.
Alternatively, try Chateau Sainte Radegonde Muscadet Sur Lie 2010. Fairly new to our range, members of our Discovery Club are in luck as it features in the current case. This is a cracking wine, which is a match made in heaven for grilled mackerel or langoustines. From an estate that dates back to the 11thC but with modern day winemaking facilities and a sustainable focus, this wine has an impressive story to show off to your friends.