Let’s have another look at a wine produced from the cheeky little Melon de Bourgogne grape…..
The Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine AOC lies just to the South & East of the city of Nantes in the Loire Valley….we’re only about 25kms from where the Loire River meets the Atlantic here and the appellation covers some 8000 hectares.
There are four appellations in total….Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine sprang into being in 1936 along with the Muscadet Coteaux de Loire sub-appellation(467 ha) with the generic Muscadet appellation added the following year in 1937……the new kid on the block is the Muscadet de Cotes de Grands Lieu, added in 1994…..in total there are some 13,000 ha under vine.
The soils around these parts is born of granite……thrust upward in the pre-Cambrian era forming the Massif Armoricain, with subsequent uplifts depositing veins of schist, gneiss and a basalt-like hard rock called gabbro through the original material.
This of course, eroded over millions of years….flattening the region and leaving a hodge-podge of rich, minerally soil…..quartz, mica, feldspar have weathered into clays and combine with silicas & sands to create a unique growing medium for the much maligned Melon de Bourgogne grape…..a grape that HRH Jancis refers to as ” not a noble grape” in the Oxford Companion to Wine …….way to give a grape an inferiority complex Jancis!
With its proximity to the Atlantic, I guess you could say that the wines of Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine are born of both sea & granite….minerally & chiselled but with eye-poppingly pure & fresh flavours and a distinct sapid, saline acid cut that (along with Chablis) is one of the great matches with the briney goodness of oysters.
Jerome Bretaudeau made wine for other producers before setting up his own domaine in 2005……Domaine de Belle Vue covers 8ha in the Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine appellation over two separate plots. One with vines planted in the 1920′s on granitic soils and the second……where this particular wine come s from….planted in the 1950′s on rich clay soils.
Jerome harvests (by hand…a rarity in the region) at very low yields for the region and uses only natural yeasts for all the fermentations.
Pale straw in the glass with vivid aromas of pithy citrus fruits….lemon and grapefruit, crunchy green apples, white flowers, minerals, petrichor, sea shells and brine with hints of fennel, marzipan and light herbal wafts.
The entry onto the palate startles with pure, energetic lemon and green apple fruit drenched in minerals and stone. There are hints of light herbs, marzipan and white flowers. Not an overly complex wine, but that’s not what it’s about. It’s all about minerally drive and the sapid, saline beauty of the acid line driving across the palate….thirst-quenching to the core, nervy, energetic and toned…..it’s just a joy to drink.
Price: $35 – Closure: Cork – Alcohol: 12% – Source: Cellar – Importer: Andrew Guard Fine Wines