Muscadet is a dry white wine from the extreme west of the Loire Valley near the port town of Nantes. It is enjoying quite a revival at present as sommeliers and gourmets alike are appreciating its yeasty “sur lies” character and pure, salty, mineral notes as a great match for modern cuisine and the “umami” factor.
Produced from the Melon de Bourgogne grape (which has nothing to do with Burgundy, and for that reason today they only use the word Melon in the region), Muscadet is the most produced wine in the Loire. The grape was first planted in the early 18th century and Dutch traders praised it for its neutral, pure flavours when they used the grape for distillation purposes. There are three different production zones but the area of Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine is by far the largest with 80% of the total wine being produced here. The Atlantic Ocean is a great influence on the zesty character of Muscadet. The mineral rich soils are made up of clay, gravel schist and sand.
The “sur lie” mention on the label refers to the way the wines are made; after fermentation, the wine is allowed to age on the dead yeast cells (lees), which through the process of autolysis, add depth, body and structure to the wine. The wines are light and crisp and depending upon the length of aging on the yeast, can have deep, bready flavours rather similar to Fino sherry. Their obvious food matching is the oysters and other shellfish from the coast.
- 2017 Domaine DavidClos du Ferré Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine0.75l White€7.45 €6.16Muscadet is simply the best wine to drink with oysters ; both salty and fruity at the same time, it has the tangy acidity which brings out the freshness in shellfish and notes of citrus fruit and pears which add a further dimension of taste. The Clos du Ferré 2017 has an expressive nose of lavender, mint and William’s pears and was harvested at the end of August 2017. It is a very open and generous wine with lovely minerality, peachstone and schist flavours and a lingering note of yeasty, umami flavour. Drink now with oysters, langoustines and fresh seafood.
- 2012 Domaine DavidClos du Ferré, Goulaine Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine0.75l White€11.89 €9.83Aged Muscadet is delicious ; it combines the salty, tangy flavours of the sea with the generous, umami flavours of the long aging on the yeast and is therefore an excellent match for modern gastronomy – crisp enough to be refreshing yet vintage rich enough to be interesting. The 2012 reveals attractive sweet fruit, some spice and a generous, round texture. Produced from 100% Melon de Bourgogne grapes from a special parcel of more than 55 year old vines, the wine is fermented on its natural yeasts before being left on the lees for at least two years before bottling. Delicious served with seafood, oysters and lobsters. Drink now.