Cool, Crisp and Always Refreshing

Muscadet's tall bottle - One of France's best values for refreshing (and surprisingly interesting) everyday white wine. Sur lie a mark of more intense Muscadet.

I was at a tasting recently and immediately perked up when I saw the tall, green, chilled one, tilting invitingly in its bucket of ice. Of course, I mean Muscadet. I couldn't wait to have my glass filled.

Muscadet isn't going to set off rockets in your mouth with a barrage of exploding oak bombs and floral and spice detonations, but somehow when you've parted your last mussel or the last oyster has slithered down your gullet, you'll feel mighty satisfied. The food will somehow just taste better because of the long, tall, green one, trust me. But any type of seafood will get our amicable little Muscadet going.

Muscadet is very dry with wonderful zippy acidity and crispness. Muscadet has a bit of nervousness to it. There is some minerality and its lovely flavors of agrumes (a mélange of citrus) will probably persuade you to prick another cork and liberate some more juice. It happens all the time at my house.

It certainly doesn't hurt that Muscadet is pretty darn affordable these days. We all want wines we can drink regularly and this is one of them. Muscadet comes from the Loire near Nantes. Nantes is the westernmost big town on the Loire River, before it streams out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Wines like Chinon, and Bourgueil, and Vouvray are Loire wines. Muscadet is a white Loire that is made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape, but which is more often, today, just called Muscadet. I like my Muscadet very fresh so I drink it within three years of the harvest.

Chateau de la Bodiniere is an estate that has been making a great Muscadet in recent years - lively, fresh and, of course, very dry with a complex and aromatic nose. The proprietor here is the Famille Cousseau. They have completely updated the vineyard and built a modern winery.

The Famille Cousseau are traditional winemakers who don't believe in messing around with oak in their Muscadet, and I have to say I agree with them. The average age of the vines is about 25 years old and of course the wines are sur lie.

That's another thing. Don't buy a Muscadet that doesn't have sur lie on the label. Sur lie means that the wine has sat on its lees (the sediment that forms during fermentation) right up until the time it is bottled and that the wine has been bottled in the cellars in which it was vinified. One racking to remove the whacking big pieces of sediment is allowed, but that's it. Sitting on the lees emboldens a Muscadet's personality and puts a little flesh on its bones.

When was the last time you had an icy goblet of Muscadet - I'd wager too long. Cynthia Hurley

Domaine de la Bodiniere Muscadet 2007  

Domaine de la Bodiniere Muscadet 2007

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