What to drink this week
Surprises in Muscadet
This wine can rival Chablis and Mosel Riesling, declares Harry Eyres
I don’t know about you, but my general view of Muscadet was, until recently, of a neutral, crisp white wine, good for accompanying oysters or mussels in a harbourfront restaurant in Honfleur, but which didn’t taste of very much. To be sure, the qualification sur lie, meaning the wine has been aged on its lees, might add a bit more richness and depth, but, essentially, Muscadet was a light quaffer.
Why you should be drinking it
How wrong I was! After a revelatory experience with a trio of terroir-specific Muscadets, I’m now thinking that this is one of the most exciting wine areas in France—muscadet can be as great as Chablis or the finest Mosel Riesling. A movement towards identifying and defining the finest cru sites has been under way for some time: in 2011, the first three —Clisson, Gorges and Le Pallet— were established, with several more in the pipeline. It’s just the beginning of something truly remarkable.
What to drink
Muscadet Les Gautronnières Sur Lie Bonnet-huteau 2015 (£11; www. tanners-wines.co.uk) is a positive, pale-straw colour, with a crisp nose that suggests wet stone—not obviously aromatic, but appetising. On the palate, there’s surprising richness, but also fine tension and lemony acidity. Muscadet Goulaine Bonnet-huteau 2013 (below, £14.95; www.tannerswines.co.uk) has a fascinatingly intense, minerally nose and great finesse, with tension and salinity on the palate—you may think my comparison with Mosel Riesling is far-fetched, but stay with it. Finally, Granit de Châteauthébaud 2010 Domaine de la Chauvinière (£14; www. tanners-wines.co.uk) shows the fascinating, smoky and earthy complexity the finest cru Muscadet can achieve with age—as good as premier cru Meursault? Why not!