Produced in the Loire Valley close to Nantes in the Pays de la Loire region Muscadet is well-respected and of course consumed by the French. It may not have such a high-profile in Ireland (yet) as we continue to pick bottles of the more well-known whites such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis and Pinot Grigio off the shelves (I do it myself). Wines Direct are now stocking a fabulous Muscadet in Ireland and I was lucky enough to enjoy a glass with a small group of wine enthusiasts at a wine and food pairing lunch.
Who is the wine maker?
The man behind this Muscadet is winemaker Jo Landron. Our intimate group had the pleasure of hearing first hand about his passions, philosophy and practice of wine making. He is very much hands on at his vineyard and is an advocate of bio dynamics. The principle of this organic winemaking is based on the belief that the lunar energies that influence our oceans and seas also affect the rhythms of life on terra firma. It has a certain romance to it but Jo tells us that it is very labour intensive process. The family have a long history of wine making with his father having started the vineyard in the 1940s. The range of soil specific wines produced each have their own distinct personalities, the Muscadet being no exception. Today Domaine de La Louvetrie is run by Jo and his wife Jocelyn.
So what does it taste like
It’s a refreshing dry white with a relatively high acidity level. While it has hints of citrus fruit it not’s overpowering. There is a mineral and subtle herbal quality to it which lets you almost feel as well as taste it and the wine has a depth to it. There is also a sparkle to the wine from trapped carbon dioxide which comes from the wine making process. The wine is allowed to rest on the sediment which accumulates during the fermentation process. This process is indicated by the words ‘sur lie’ which appear on the label.
What to pair it with?
Muscadet pairs exceptionally well with a variety of seafood’s. At our tasting in Restaurant Forty One in Residence, chef Graham Neville put together a specially curated seafood menu to compliment the wine. Our menu included a wonderfully light broth of mussels with spring vegetables and herbs as well as smoked salmon and Clogherhead crab. Of course not everyone will be lucky enough to have such innovative seafood dishes served to them, so a suggestion might be some mussels in white wine sauce (try a little Muscadet in it) or perhaps some oysters or prawns which will pair equally well.
Where can you buy it?
You can pick up a bottle of Muscadet for about €16 in Wines Direct in Arnotts (basement level) or of course order online with them, they offer nationwide delivery in 48 hours, and its worth the wait.