Saturday, September 28, 2013

No Oyster is Safe - Celebrating Muscadet Month

This Muscadet from Claude Branger is one of the best white wines I've had recently. It defies any notion that Muscadets are simple quaffing wines. The energy of this wine is electric.

The number of producers making Muscadet as good as Claude Branger's is almost nil. There's probably less than a dozen, perhaps even less, which is shocking because Muscadet produces more wines than any other appellation in the Loire.

Claude and his son, Sebastien, farm their vineyards manually, utilizing sustainable and organic methods (they will be fully certified by 2016) being a long-time member of Terra Vitis. This means harvest is manual as well, which is not a common practice in Muscadet. Their flagship Muscadet called Terroir les Gras Moutons (the Fat Sheep vineyard) comes from one of the best sites in the appellation. The rocky granite soil here is thin, between 6 to 14 inches deep, with streaks of amphibolite, a greenish metamorphic rock. The vines were planted between 1930 and 1986, and average more than 50 years old. The meager soil and the old vines give naturally low yields, averaging 45 hl/ha, producing fruit with remarkable concentration

The wine spends up to 14 months on its lees in underground tanks resulting in a wine of extraordinary richness and complexity. The 2010 vintage is newly released and tasting it recently was a huge treat. A magnificent vintage that should not be missed by anyone who loves wine. I assure you that this is worth experiencing for $16. Keep some and enjoy a bottle or two over the next 5 years.

Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur lie "Terroir les Gras Moutons", Claude Branger 2010 $16.00 (click to buy!)

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