Chateau de la Ragotiere Muscadet Sur Lie Black Label 2016
The old vines here do give some concentration. More importantly, they give a great swathe of ripe fruit that is so crisp and refreshing. Lemon and the lightest texture are lifted by intense acidity and a lively, fresh aftertaste.
Pair with sea food, scallops, lobster, grilled fish, Asian food, or goat cheese.
Built by the noble Loré de la Ragotiere family in the fourteenth century, Chateau de la Ragotière was purchased in 1979 by the Couillaud brothers. After acquiring the property, Bernard, François and Michel discovered an old cellar in the chapel housing vintages dating back to 1947. The Couillaud brothers strive to carry on the tradition of making high quality, long-lasting Muscadets. In addition to their Muscadet, the Couillaud brothers produce estate bottled Chardonnay under the Domaine de Bernier and Les Frères Couillaud labels. The wines are from 15 year old vines and 8% of the Bernier Chardonnay is barrel-fermented in French oak. The remainder, like their Muscadet, is aged “sur lie” in tanks, creating Chardonnays with lively acidity.
The Sèvre and Maine rivers converge and flow into the Loire river just before it meets the sea at the border of Brittany, creating the richest vineyard land in Muscadet. Ragotière’s holdings consist of 55 hectares including 25 hectars of the finest Muscadet vineyards in the Appellation Muscadet de Sevre et Maine, with the vines averaging over 25 years of age.
The Pays Nantais, Loire’s only region abutting the Atlantic coast, is solely focused on the Melon de Bourgogne grape in its handful of subzones: Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine, Muscadet-Coteaux de la Loire and Muscadet-Côtes de Grandlieu. Muscadet wines are dry, crisp, seaside whites made from Melon de Bourgogne and are ideal for the local seafood-focused cuisine. (They are not related to Muscat.) There is a new shift in the region to make these wines with extended lees contact, creating fleshy and more aromatic versions.
Made famous in Muscadet, a gently rolling, Atlantic-dominated countryside on the eastern edge of the Loire, Melon de Bourgogne is actually the most planted grape variety in the Loire Valley. But the best comes from Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, a subzone of Pays Nantais. Somm Secret—The wine called Muscadet may sound suggestive of “muscat,” but Melon de Bourgogne is not related. Its name also suggests origins in Burgundy, which it has, but was continuously outlawed there, like Gamay, during the 16th and 17th centuries.