I wrote an article today on autumnal wines. It was 30 degrees and sweltering outside. Yesterday, I saw a photo of Phillip Schofield on Instagram or Twitter, I forget which, sitting, wearing a Christmas jumper, in front of a full Christmas spread, crackers and all. Let’s just say, my job of ‘getting in the mood’ was probably a little easier than Phil’s.
So while I wrote about enjoying a game pie alongside a big, earthy red, all that was really on my mind, and has been most sunny days this summer, is a big cold glass of deliciously refreshing Muscadet. Yep, that’s right folks, good old Muscadet – it’s all the rage, don’t you know and coming back with a vengeance.
To be honest, I don’t really get why it went out of style in the first place. It doesn’t have an offensive bone in its (light) body. It’s crisp, dry, unoaked with a delightful crunch of lemon sherbert fizz. Classically paired with Oysters and seafood, it’s inexpensive and up there with the Picpoul de Pinets and Albarinos of the wine world.
So this summer, I have mainly been drinking, Domaine de la Noe Muscadet Sevre et Maine ‘Sur Lie’ and at under £9, it’s an absolute wine of value. I suppose there in answers the question as to why Muscadet lost its edge. That there isn’t a very snappy, nor sexy title, and I guess once the new world started slapping grape varieties on the labels, the mystery of Muscadet became a bit too much and it disappeared into the vat of complicated French wine labels as we all began to drink overoaked Chardonnay.
I will therefore enlighten you about all you need to know about Muscadet and why it should never have been sidelined. First off, it’s from the Loire Valley in France, right out on the western seaboard nearby to Nantes. It’s made from the grape ‘Melon de Bourgogne’, if you’ve ever heard of it, it’s relatively low in alcohol and the better examples, such as this one, state the ‘sur lie’ on the label. This means that the wine has been left to develop for a while on the sediment (dead yeast cells known as ‘lees’ or ‘lie’) that are part of the fallout of fermentation (the other bit being the alcohol), thus giving the wine a little more body and depth, with a creamier, nuttier flavour. Also, importantly, Muscadet is dry, as dry as a bone, and doesn’t have anything to do with the grape variety Muscat, which is synonymous with sweet wine. Lastly, Muscadet is an absolute bargain, so give it a go!
Any other questions? I guess you’ll want to taste it? Lucky for you, I’ll have it open at Emmett’s Farm Shop on Saturday 24th September and of course, the Autumn Wine Tasting on 8th October, so come along and rediscover the retro fabulousness that is Muscadet.