A laser-beam, citrus fruit and acid driven quaffer. Tingling acidity, with notes of ripe white grapefruit and lime intermingled with stony minerality. Uncomplicated, unabashedly easy drinking and refreshing. Paid this with good friends and conversation on a patio…you may need more than one bottle for that occasion though.
Melon de Bourgogne is a crossing between Pinot Blanc and the little known Gouais Blanc varietal. It was once prevalent in the vineyards of Burgundy (hence it’s name), until it was ordered to be destroyed by the Burgundians in the 18th century. By then it had a toehold in the Atlantic area of the Loire Valley around Nantes, where it became the dominant varietal and the base varietal of Muscadet. Typically high in acid, fesh and mineral driven, it typically does not take to new oak very well. Complexity is gained by spending time on it’s lees. The best examples can gain some stone fruit notes to go along with the characteristic citrus elements.
Muscadet sits in the Nantais region of the Loire Valley. Bordered by the foothills of the Mauges and Bocage Verdeen ranges, vineyards are frequently planted on the steep hillsides of the Sèvre and Maine Rivers. Sitting on the soil of the Massif Armoricain, it’s soils are primarily gneiss, schist and granite. There are crushed seashells and sand pockets leftover from retreating oceanic waters in many of the vineyards. Melon de Bourgogne, a white grape, is the only varietal allowed in appelation status bottlings. The wines are typically light to medium bodied, with vibrant acidity.
At the mouth of the iconic Sèvre and Maine Rivers, in the little village of Saint-Fiacre, the Cantrie vineyard is planted in schist soils, known for their intense minerality and great drainage. These are northern facing vineyards, where the grapes do not see as much sun s some of their others. The wines from here have more marked acidity and lighter mouth feel, with lower alcohol levlels, despite their long growing season and full phenolic ripeness.
Hand harvested and pressed during the evening to ensure a constant temperature, the grapes are macerated for 12 hours on the skins. Only indigenous yeasts are used during fermentation. This is a lighter styled wine (only 11% alc), bottled early to preserve primary fruit flavours.