Other Muscadets and Oddities: Coteaux de la Loire, Grandlieu, Gros Plant, Fiefs Vendeens, Chenin, and Muscadet

Yes. Winter grips the Northern hemisphere. But turn your minds to warmer weather. Our 7 month 13 country EU Austerity Drinking Tour has visited Muscadet’s famed Sèvre-et-Maine and every-day Muscadet.  This Monday, we try on Muscadet’s other wine regions for size.

On the Loire’s right bank, North of Sèvre et Maine sits Coteaux de la Loire in the hills above Ancenis:

NantesNewMapcdl They too mainly grow Muscadet.  But how do they perform:

Les Vignerons de la Noëlle‘s “Folies Siffait” Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire, France 2011

Like most Muscadet, Noëlle looks pale lemon with a slight fizz.  Young, powered aromas include pear, yeast, and mineral.  Dry, crunchy acidity makes for a featherweight body, that is clean and not fruity.  Flavors of wax, salt, lime juice, and coastal air fill our palates for a pleasant, medium length.

Noëlle’s Côteaux is good (3 of 5), simple, fresh, and unassuming. The price is perfect at €4.50.

Lets swing southwest to Lake Grand-Lieu:

NantesNewMapGrandlieu The Muscadet grape remains the same, so what’s different? Although closer to the cold Gulf Stream of the Atlantic Coast, Grand-Lieu lake provides a protective heat sink. Soils are mineral-rich yet marshy.  Only the best spots are higher up with gravel for drainage. So…

Domaines des Herbauges, Château de la Pierre, Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu, France 2010

Again, a lithesome lemon color.  Average intensity aromas turn more to ripe golden delicious apple, vanilla, and slight nutmeg. Gone are the mineral and pear of above.  Acids still reigns supreme, but a fuller, medium body is doubled by a creamier texture. Mind you, this Grandlieu still feels zippy; this is France’s coldest and wettest climate after all.  Flavors again are average intensity and similar to CdL, with grapefruit, and fresh lemon juice, but notably more salt and mineral. The length is longer too.

Herbauges’ Grandlieu is good (3 of 5) and certainly fuller yet saltier (€6.20).

But the Loire Atlantique grows more than Muscadet. Let’s switch grapes: Folle Blanche

NantesNewMapGrosPlantMuscadet’s fringes are too coastal (W) or hilly (E) to grow quality Muscadet. Instead Folle Blanche, aka Gros Plant, aka that bland base for Cognac and Armagnac, has infamy for France’s leanest, most acidic wine.  A dutch need for liquor spread it all over Western France.  Today, vineyards dwindle for this cooking wine.

Domaine de la Landelle, Folle Blanche, “Cuvée Domaine” Gros Plant, France 2011

This Folle Blanche looks water-clear with barely a tint of green.  However, the nose is markedly loaded, with melon, citrus, and bubblegum aromas.  Dryness, no body, and high acids lead to limp flavors of citrus, grass, and salt. The length is short. The wine is acceptable (2 of 5) for drinking, but probably better in a sauce (€4.15).

Hmm…we can’t end there. Further afield, our glasses swim South to Fiefs Vendéens:

LoireMap2FiefVendeensFiefs Vendéens grows Pinot, Cab, and Negrette.  It is a small, marginally Loire Valley wine region. Today’s white consists of 80% Chenin Blanc, and 20% Chardonnay.

Domaine Coirier, La Petite Groie, Fiefs Vendéens, Pissote, France 2010

The color looks pale and lemon.  Delicate aromas of ripe white melon, nut, and light butter woo us.  The palate feels dry, only moderately acidic, with flecks of woody tannin (from local oak), some alcohol, some body, and a lovely creamy texture.  Flavors of ripe white pear and melon fight, creating a dual personality of on-and-off cream -vs- wild tropical fruit.  The length is medium. Coirier’s white is pretty good (3 of 5). (€11.80).

So, from the Loire’s Western fringes, an array of interesting, variant, and decent whites can be bought for under $15.  Worry not, next Monday we’ll up our game (and EU Austerity price point).


About waywardwine

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2 Responses to Other Muscadets and Oddities: Coteaux de la Loire, Grandlieu, Gros Plant, Fiefs Vendeens, Chenin, and Muscadet

  1. Wonderful maps help to realize how extensive and varied this grop of grapes is.

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