As a nod to today being Bastille Day, as well as being one of the first days of the Summer with a heat index advisory in and around Central Virginia, we go to one of the most under-appreciated wines in all of France. The Muscadet region is huddled around Nantes at the western end of the Loire where it empties into the Atlantic. The grape used, called Melon de Bourgogne, is much like Gamay is to Beaujolais in that it has only achieved real success in the one environment. Many other parts of the world have played around with Melon, but no place else has been able to match Muscadet's combination of lightness and mineral intensity, as well as insane affordability. The last 20+ years has seen increased attention to distinguishing older vines and the better pockets of quality, and Domaine de la Pepiere has been among the leaders of this movement, which has also led to the vast improvement of the 'basic' bottlings like this one.
The most distinct sign of quality for a Muscadet is whether or not it is aged 'sur lie', or on the unfiltered yeast and pulp.It takes time and extra effort, but it lends extra body to a wine that is otherwise one of the lightest whites in France. Some of the more industrially made ones are literally just a fraction above the color and texture of water. Still a pale gold in the glass, this has some obvious visual substance, as well as the tell-tale aromas of seashells and crisp white fruits. The sur lie aging brings out a surprising intensity and length to the almost briny citrus peel flavors on the palate, very mouthfilling and quenching especially when chilled down on a hot day. A great match with light citrus dishes or raw oyster, or simply as a refreshing bracer against the Central Virginia heat and humidity.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!