Oceanic expression of Melon de Bourgogne
The Muscadet region is located at the westernmost edge of the Loire Valley near the city of Nantes. It takes its name from the two rivers flowing through the vineyards: the Sèvre Nantaise and the Maine. Soils are composed by a varied structure of igneous and metamorphic rock from the Massif Armoricain, made up mainly of gneiss and mica schist, with smaller quantities of green-stone and granite. It benefits from a temperate oceanic climate, with precipitation evenly spread throughout the year. There are variations in climate from one end of the region to the other caused by the varying distances from the coast, the Loire or other bodies of water.
In the 17th century, Dutch wine merchants laid the foundation for the Muscadet style by encouraging the villagers of Nantes to plant the early ripening Melon de Bourgogne grape. Following the devastation in 1709 of winter frost to many of the vineyards in the Loire-Atlantique, King Louis XIV ordered that the frost resistant Melon de Bourgogne grape be given preferential treatment in the replanting of the area. Despite the inference of “Muskiness” in its name, Muscadet is a neutral flavor wine and the Melon de Bourgogne grape has no relation to the Muscat family of grapes.
The Muscadet wines are often bottled sur lie straight from the tank that they are fermented in without any racking or filtering. This creates wines that can be very cloudy and require decsenting to remove sediments but also produces wines that can be fuller bodied and show extra dimensions of freshness.