We pass the lovely hills of Saumur and Chinon: famed for cabernet franc.
Then the miserable, industrial Angers flattens before us: a wine region overstretched to countless styles, including the derided Rosé d’Anjou.
But finally our train stops in magnificent Nantes.
Yes. Nantes has castles, chocolate shops, and museums: very French but very Brittany. Really though, Nantes, in a nutshell, is Syfy’s town of Eureka. Jules Verne was born here. Industrial cranes and factories pop up everywhere. The city boasts more trams, buses, trains, and bike-shares than needed. They have a whole island dedicated to steam-punk machines:
But Wayward Wine came for vineyards. We leave this futuristic jewel for Vertou in the Sèvre-et-Maine region a few miles South East.
Public transport drops us in sleepy Vertou on the Sèvre River.
We hike upriver in search of vines:
Muscadet is everywhere. The Dutch planted this edgy green grape to make brandy in the 1600s. Then a freeze in 1709 led the Sun King, Louis XIV himself, to rip out all the red grapes and turn the region completely over to Muscadet. However…
Who knew? Maybe this red is an artifact variety, a test row of gamay, or some mutation. Either way, Muscadet monoculture reigns supreme. So we set about trying to understand more:
We walk up the hill and the terroir changes:
All that grape talk makes us thirsty. We leave in search of wine. But not a tasting room is open. We could almost hear the French declare “It’s sunny. Why work?”. Muscadet ain’t Napa. But tanned and happy, we traveled back to Nantes.
Visit next Monday. Our EU Austerity Drinking Tour will taste through Nantes’ many fabulous Muscadets and visit Clisson.
In the meantime, we’re off to ride our mechanical heron:
- TRAVEL: Reap of Muscadet (intoxicatingprose.com)
- Pierre-Luc Bouchard Muscadet Sevre Et Maine 2011 wine review by (PB) (winecask.blogspot.com)
- Chenonceau Castle, Gamay, and a new AOC Touraine Chenonceaux (waywardwine.com)
- Nantes! (timmaass.wordpress.com)
- Bored of Pinot Grigio? (winewaffle.wordpress.com)
- Wine Tour Made Easy: Maison des Vins de Loire de Tours, France (waywardwine.com)
- Nantes, almost every weekend (kvnescbar.wordpress.com)