Serious Eats Amateur Wine Taste-Along Report: Muscadet
Armed with the findings from last week's introduction to Muscadet, we let our taste buds explore a few bottles of this tart and tangy white this week.
Despite the fact that we were stuck indoors for the tasting, it was also clear that these light and refreshing wines would be great to enjoy outdoors in these last few weeks of summer (assuming no more hurricanes and earthquakes are in the mix). The bright acidity, low alcohol, and slight effervescence made Muscadet a summertime white we're likely to reach for again. And with a couple dozen raw oysters on the half shell, we were well equipped to enjoy these wines—and discover which ones stood out.
Here's what we tasted.
- Marc Pesnot 'La Boheme 2010 ($12)
- Domaine de la Louvetrie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Amphibolite Nature 2010 ($17)
- Domaine de L'Aurière Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine 2009 ($7)
- Luneau-Papin Domaine Pierre de la Grange 2010 ($15)
- André-Michel Bregeon 2009 ($14)
The group loved the light and crisp Marc Pesnot 'La Boheme' 2010. With a delicate effervescence, this wine had clean apple/cider fruit flavors coming through—it's an easy drinking introduction to Muscadet. For just $12, it's a wine we'd definitely buy again.
The other favorite was the Pierre de la Grange 2010. This was a more flavorful, fuller-bodied wine, as we anticipated when we noticed that the label said sur lie (meaning it was allowed to rest in contact with the lees, or dead yeast, remember?) The fruit characteristics had more complexity than some of the others, and some tasters were reminded a bit of apple cider. This wine also had a slight effervescence that wiped the palate clean, and great minerality that paired well with our snacks of oysters and tangy goat cheese. And at $15, it's not too hard on the wallet, either.
A Good Value
The next well-received bottle, which fell in the middle-to-top of the pack for most folks was the Domaine de L'Aurière Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine 2009. We picked this wine up at our local shop for a grand total of $7—and it turned out to be a great deal. This wine (also with sur lie on the label) offered a fragrant scent and a berry-like tartness. This pleasing wine offered nice, bright acidity and lots of minerality.
The Domaine de la Louvetrie Amphibolite Nature 2010 was one of the wines that didn't resonate as much with our tasters (and at $17 a pop, this was our most expensive option). The flavors were more delicate, and some tasters though it lacked structure. However, what was interesting about this juice was the texture—the effervescence came off as tiny little bubbles tickling the tongue. One taster even commented it tasted "quite like Champagne."
The other bottle that fell a bit flat was the André-Michel Bregeon 2009. Although the sur lie treatment showed through with a pronounced bready flavor, quite a few of our tasters thought this dominated over the fruit and mineral characteristics we were looking for. Of course, your taste may differ.
Now, we'll turn it over to you. Have you been drinking Muscadet this summer? Are there bottles you're particularly fond of? Share your thoughts with us!
About the author: Seema Gunda is an avid wine traveler, collector, and student with a background in chemistry and a day job in consulting.