Muscadet has long been regarded as a cheap and cheerful white wine unable to sustain much more than a reputation for accompanying seafood as a food pairing. But this wine has much more to offer than simplicity.
Muscadet is often confused with the similar sounding Muscat wine. However, the resemblance ends with the first five letters of the names. One is an appellation (Muscadet) for where the wine is produced and the other a grape (muscat).
South and east of Nantes, France’s seventh largest city, is Muscadet country. An easy geographical reference is it’s at the most western end of the Loire Valley just before pushing into the Atlantic Ocean. Muscadet is made 100 percent from the Melon de Bourgogne grape.
There are two styles, Muscadet and Muscadet sur lie. Muscadet is a very light, crisp, refreshing dry wine. Is served young and fresh, giving it a lively dry, refreshing style. Muscadet sur lie spends at least six months aging on its lees (dead yeast cells.) This technique gives the wine more depth and complexity while maintaining its characteristic high acidity.
So the next time you are perusing your wine shop searching for a wonderfully dry, refreshing white wine, take a look at Muscadet.
- 2014 Signature de Loire Muscadet, France (about $10 retail)
- 2014 Sauvion Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine, France (about $18 retail)