Rich and textured for a Muscadet. There is a touch of apricot and peach on the nose. The typistic citrus elements are there as well, with a whiff of gunsmoke. Ripe green apple, lemon-lime and a hint of peach are framed by fresh acidity. A touch of biscuity, autolytic notes as well. This si a fabulous contemplation wine with plenty of complexity, but would pair wonderfully with grilled sea bass.
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.
Part of the Cru Monnières-Saint-Fiacre (the equivalent to a Villages designation in Burgundy), this incredibly steep, south-facing vineyard is 70% gneiss and 30% mica laced schist. A tiny, one hectare plot is densely planted to stress the vines, to extract the most complexity possible from the vineyard. These are extremely old vines, some of the oldest in all of Muscadet.
Hand harvested at peak maturity, during the evening to ensure the spontaneous fermentations have ambient temperature controls. Yielding only half the grapes of what the already stringent appelation rules allow, the grapes are pressed immediately and gravity fed into large used oak for a 3 week fermentation, then 26 months of aging on it’s lees. During the early part of the process, there is regular batonnage, then after a couple of months, the wine is left alone until bottling.