Monday, April 25, 2011

The New Wave: Aged Muscadet

It is worth remembering that the very idea of a superior, much less profoundly delicious, Muscadet is still quite new. Ten years ago even most advanced wine critics condemned the Nantais to the production of wines “ drunk as soon as purchased, by the mouthful, without the magnifying glass of scrutiny.” No one had reckoned that people like Guy Brossard and Marc Ollivier would come along and demonstrate that the humble melon de bourgogne grape could produce wines for cellaring on a par with cru Chablis.

Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Granite de Clisson 2007: This wine has been on its lees for two years, long enough that it exceeds the permissable limits for “sur lie,” so those words do not appear on the label. Someday the INAO is going to have to catch up with all the new developments. While we're waiting, we'll enjoy the aromas of lime, oystershell, and asian pear, and what one of us called the “full-spectrum citrus” (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit) flavors and beautiful broad, briny character of this effort from  Marc Ollivier. (We got this bottle from Josh at Table Wine, price was in the vicinity of $25, which seems like a lot for Muscadet, but only if you're still using the Old Paradigm of gulpable white.)

The appellation Le Cru Clisson is scheduled for review by the INAO in June, covering the granite-rich soils of the village of the same name and the surrounding area. “Granite de Clisson” is an example of a Le Troisième Niveau wine—Muscadet made at “the Third Level” of quality. For more on the ins and outs of Muscadet appellations, read Chris Kissack's excellent review of Nantais wines.

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