Part 1: A top white wine below $15 - Melon de Bourgogne (Muscadet)
This is part 1 of a new series looking into wines below $15, as requested by the community. Instead of producing one long (and possibly boring) report, I will carry this series through the summer focusing on a selection of wines at a reasonable price. So once a week, I will introduce you guys to a new wine, provide alternatives, and what to look out for when tasting this specific style. Also don't think I will just drink good wine, nope I will also be rating wines both good and bad to ensure you don't make a mistake in your local wine shop/grocery store.
Part 1: Muscadet (Melon de Bourgogne) - Pays Nantais (Lower Loire)
Alright so if you understand nothing written in the above title, don't freak out, let's take a step back.
1) Region: Western Loire (Centre - West France)
2) Grape: Muscadet (not Muscat! This is no sweet wine y'all, this is bone dry)
3) Climate: Winters are cool and damp, summers are warm and dry.
3) Flavors to look out for: Lemon/Lime peel, Granny Smith (green) apple, sea salt, and oyster shells
4) Textures: High acidity, refreshing, low alcohol, bone dry with a saline texture
5) Food pairings: Shellfish like oysters, shrimps, or mussels. A simple white fish and maybe even fish tacos?
6) How to serve? Cold Cold Cold
So where is this Pays Nantais you speak of?
Pays Nantais: East of the above map, right next to the Atlantic Ocean
A note about food pairings: Well this is simple, don't over think it. I always find you have to match with what the locals eat. So in this case we are located in the Pays Nantais (by the coast), they certainly are not eating Lasagna or Cheese fondue. They eat a lot of fish and so hence, you pair these wines with, well fish and simple dishes. This might seems obvious, however when was the last time you saw someone drinking a Muscadet with an Italian pizza? Like never.
So why do I like this style of wine so much? It does what it says on the tin. It is light, refreshing, pairs with most light fish dishes and can be a hero by itself. Heck when we are out of this lockdown, and you head to a garden party and don't want to spend $$$ on wine, this will get the job done, and is a huge crowd pleaser. I am not sure I know someone who doesn't like this wine for the price.
So my go to Muscadet is the Chéreau-Carré Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine sur Lie 2018 - My tasting notes are as follows:
Aromas of the citrus, lemon, white flowers and the salty air of the sea, on the palate I found a well balanced yet simple wine with lots of citrus, pear and a very saline and easy finish.
Hopefully, this post has introduced you to a new variety that I love and best of all will not break the bank!
As a little extra information: If you want to go more high end then they have some fantastic Crus which are worth searching out including: 'Clisson', 'Georges' and 'Le Pallet', these crus are more complete and will go with slightly heavier food, such as a fish stew or fish with a cream sauce. Santé!