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Jul 26, 2014
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Drink This Weekend Edition: The manifold misunderstandings of muscadet

April 4th 03:04pm, 2014

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Perhaps it’s our longing for warmer weather, our yen for coastal flavors or maybe we’ve just been drinking too many stout beers, but lately, we’ve been thinking a lot about muscadet.

First, a few clarifications: Muscadet is not muscat, Moscato, moscatel or muscadelle. In fact, it is nothing like wines made from those grapes. Moreover, muscadet is not a grape, but it does come from just one grape – melon de Bourgogne. And no, it is not from Burgundy. Muscadet is from the western Loire Valley, from a region called Pays de la Loire. And to make things a little more confusing, muscadet wine comes from any one of four appellations, the largest of which is – you guessed it –muscadet!

Perhaps the most unfortunate feature of muscadet is that it sounds like muscat, a grape that is generally vinified sweet with a relatively low acidity. Muscadet, on the other hand, is very dry with a refreshing acidity. It tends to be aged on the dead yeast cells (called lees) used for fermentation. This adds a creamy, nutty richness that rounds out what can be a rather linear, aromatic, gustatory profile when not handled correctly.

If your eyes have glazed over and you are thinking, These jerks really revel in pure pedantry. I’m gonna go get a glass of Cali chard and suck down a dozen freshly shucked Duxburys, please wait. You see, muscadet might just be the world’s best oyster wine. The wine’s vigorous acidity provides a counterbalance to the sweet melon flavors of west coast oysters, and the nutty, briny notes of Muscadet harmonize with the brine of east coast oysters, while the citrus notes provide a piquant counterpoint.

That said, muscadet pairs with a great number of foods, though we think seafood, particularly shellfish and crustaceans, are ideal matches. Of course, we also enjoy it on its own, and with a maximum allowed alcohol level of 12 percent alcohol leve and a light-to-medium body, muscadet is a perfect spring and summer wine. Drink this every day above 79 degrees (or any day you desire affordable pleasure).

Our pick: Pierre Luneau-Papin (Domaine Pierre de La Grange), 2012 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Val de Loire, France

On the nose: peanut skin due to nine months spent on the lees, plus briny lemon and ocean air

On the palate: crushed seashell, honeydew melon rind, Anjou pear, and pleasantly prickly acidity

Vintage is important here; be sure to seek out the 2012, which is available by the glass at De Mun Oyster Bar and will soon be on shelves at Parker’s Table, Lukas Liquor, The Wine and Cheese Place and The Wine Merchant.

By Daniels and Lauren Blake-Parseliti

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One Response to “Drink This Weekend Edition: The manifold misunderstandings of muscadet”

  1. L. Myers Says:
    April 4th, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Just curious….what price range would be appropriate?

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