Muscadet Delicious

Refreshing, minerally, lime-infused wine spritzer. An apt description for the ’08 Chateau Des Cleons Muscadet Sévre Et Maine. The wine is light in appearance, and a sip reveals layers of citrus, tartness like key lime pie sans sugar, and with low alcohol content, one glass quenched my thirst without leaving me light-headed. I picked this charm up at Trader Joe’s for a mere $7, and I would purchase it again in an instant. Most of the reviews I have read about the Chateau Des Cleons Muscadet Sévre Et Maine are positive, although someone thought it unbalanced, which I heartily disagree with. This wine would serve well with light fair like herbed goat cheese and toasted baquette, or a fish like salmon or talapia, seafood that you usually spray with lemon or lime. I have to confess, in the end, what sold me on this wine was the fact that it appeals to my shameless little inner Francophile. Kevin Zraly writes that Muscadet is a favorite at Parisian bistros because it is so easy to drink, so light in style, and is a charming balance of acid and fruit. I have of course already conjured an image in my head of doing just that when I visit Paris. Je voudrais un verre du Muscadet, s’il vous plaît monsieur!

Naturally, after I drank this wine, I had to know more. I pulled this map from The Wine Doctor, and it oriented me to the area of France where Muscadet is produced. As you can see, the region is situated south-east of Paris in the Loire Valley next to the Atlantic Ocean, and makers of this varietal recommend drinking Muscadet with seafood from the Atlantic, including shellfish, clams, and oysters. Muscadet is made from 100% melon de bourgogne grapes, and is usually labeled sur lie, referring to a vinification technique in which the wine is left on its lees.  The lees include things like grape seeds, yeast cells, pulp, stems, and skins that remain after fermentation, usually skimmed away in other wines, but left to add an element of creaminess to Muscadet to cut out some of that acid perhaps?

The majority of Muscadet (80%!) and the best hails from the appellation Muscadet Sévre Et Maine, where Chateau Des Cleons Muscadet originates. A fun fact from Food & Wine’s 2009 Wine Guide: the region’s soil is naturally high in acid, which is why the Muscadet puckered the insides of my cheeks and my tongue when I tasted it. That is also why it possesses characteristics of mineral and citrus. Here is a sampling of a few notable articles, blog posts, and a video I have discovered in my research on Muscadet.

1) Gary V (@garyvee) tasted Muscadet on The Thunder Show back in 2007! Click here to watch. He promotes the pairing of this wine with shellfish and oysters. He also mentions that while most of the melon de bourgogne grapes are grown in the Loire Valley, a few thrive here in Oregon. Has anyone tasted an Oregon Muscadet that they could recommend?

2) Great profile of another Muscadet on the blog, Smell Swirl Slurp. Gotta love the header image as well! I’m such a sucker for black and white photography. Click here to read!

3) I’m such a foodie so I couldn’t resist linking up to a post about the making of a fancy oyster dish with a Muscadet sauce. Yum here!

4) Jamie Goode asks “Can Muscadet be serious?” in this post.

5) A cutesy article from a Food & Wine writer on her search for terroir on the cheap. She highlights Muscadet as an underappreciated wine, but one that can exude complexity and terroir for $100 less than paying for a white from Burgundy.

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5 Responses to Muscadet Delicious

  1. Ben Simons says:

    Sounds refreshing and delicious. I have actually never had a Muscadet, so I will definitely add this to my list of things to try. Sounds like I should grab some shellfish to pair it with while I’m at it. Mmmmm, this is making me hungry.

  2. Sean says:

    Unfortunately I cannot think of a Muscadet in Oregon, and I don’t really know it well either, however I know you have some great Pinot Noir there, and I’m a little jealous about that… what does Jersey have? Some decent beers, although I thoroughly enjoy the Rogue Brutal Bitter!

  3. Jesse Porter says:

    The guy on StarkSilverCreek is just trying to be a little too cool for school. He saw “$5.99 at Trader Joe’s” and immediately made up his mind that it couldn’t possibly be any good. Yes, of course the wine is minerally… has he ever had a Muscadet before? They’re all minerally! He calls the finish sour and dry, but I’d say more tart and dry, which is exactly what you want in a Muscadet.

    Great review, Megan. Let me know if you find that Oregon melon de Bourgogne… I want to try it.

  4. Thanks for the link.

    We’re huge fans of Muscadet…when in doubt it is always our default inexpensive white. Perfect with shellfish and most seafood.

    And as an aperitif.

    Makes me thirsty just typing this…we’re sitting outside on this warm, sunny afternoon. Wouldn’t a crisp, minerally glass be perfect right now?? Haven’t had the one you review from TJ’s, but will pick it up. Right now.


    • mjwrites says:

      My pleasure! You will have to let me know if you find it and enjoy it as much as I did. I am a huge fan of Muscadet now as well after this experience.

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