Muscadet, (AKA Melon Blanc or Melon de Bourgogne), is a white grape grown mainly in France’s Loire Valley. This cool-climate grape has high acidity and a slight salty taste from the Atlantic Ocean. These wines are light and dry, and pair exceptionally well with seafood. Due to its freshness, Muscadet is meant for immediate consumption and usually not made to age.
Muscadet is light-bodied and is known for its strikingly high acidity and fresh ocean taste. Its primary flavors are mostly green and citrus fruit, including green apple, fresh pear, lemon, and lime. Because of its strong coastal and salt-water influence, Muscadet can have a saline and even fizzy character. Hints of white flower and herb can also be detected in some styles. Muscadets that have extended “lees contact” whereby they are mixed with the dead fermentation yeast, also pick up additional flavors and textures that add to its complexity.
Muscadet Sèvre et Maine
Wines from the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine region are typically fermented in concrete or stainless steel, although they were historically fermented in large oak barrels. These neutrally-flavored vessels allow the grapes to keep their original taste, without imparting flavors derived from oak contact. Muscadet Sèvre et Maine with a “Sur Lie” label designation indicates that the wine aged on its lees (dead yeast) over the winter. The lees contact makes the wine richer and rounder, while also adding more complex flavors and texture to the wine.
Because Muscadet is highly acidic and slightly salty, it pairs well with seafood like white fish, mussels, sea bass, scallops, raw oysters, and lobster. It also compliments fish dishes in lemon, garlic or olive oil sauces. Muscadet is often enjoyed with heartier entrees like pan-fried oysters, fried chicken, and mushroom pizza. It can also partner well with soft cheeses such as brie and feta.
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