Delhommeau Muscadet de Sevre et Maine Harmonie 2009
Muscadet, although not as well known in the United States as it is in France, is the largest white wine appellation of the country. Several smaller appellations make up the general area of Muscadet including Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie, Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire, and Muscadet Coteaux des Grands Lieux.
The most famous is Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie. One of the only appellations to require ageing on the lees and to name this requirement in the name of the appellation, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie only comes from the best parcels of the region and must follow strict guidelines.
The Melon de Bourgogne grape, also called Muscadet, was brought to the region centuries ago from Burgundy. It flourished in this new environment and became famous in France for its ability to complement to saltiest of oysters and shellfish of the region.
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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.