Tag Archives: European Union

My Fair Muscadet: Plain Grape Turned Into Audrey Hepburn

Before New Year’s Eve kicks in, this Monday’s EU Austerity Drinking Tour post revisits a candy shop on France’s Atlantic Coast.

We zig zag through Nantes’ medieval streets.

The rain and gray sky drives us in and out of glittering shops. But not far from city center glows Gorges Gautier: chocolatier:

“Chocolate? But this an EU Austerity Drinking Tour travel post”, you wonder. Fret not. Past the window’s marzipan mountains and licorice forests, which look like a Francophilic Candyland, we spot Muscadet:

Inside, surrounded by a sea of gilding and ornate wood paneling, we go to the bar. A magic mound of green foil promises chocolates with Nantes’ famed grape Muscadet and its spirit hide inside. Continue reading

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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:

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. Continue reading

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Aging Wine on Sludge: Muscadet Sur lie -vs- Sans lie

Last Monday’s EU Austerity Drinking Tour visited Clisson: home to Muscdet Sèvre et Maine. Before we left, we popped into their tasting room and found this:

Muscadet wine filled this barrel-with-its-skirt-lifted. Neon lights lit the thing that makes Muscadet fantastic: sludge:

That sludge consists of months of sedimentation of dead yeast and particulates. Called lie (lees), nearly half of Muscadet Sèvre et Maine proudly adds “sur lie” (on the lees) to its labels. But why?

To find out, we sample through twenty wines for free at Nantes’ Maison des Vins de Loire:

Let’s begin with plain ‘ol Muscadet:

Château-Thébaud uses grapes from grower Poiron Dabin. Its pale gold color runs from the core to the rim. Pure, strong aromas waft of honey, flint, smoke, and salt. It feels dry, still racing with acidity, mild alcohol, a lightish body, and moderately intense flavors of tart green apple, grass, salt, and bees’ wax. The length is only medium. Yet five years old, this Muscadet remains fresh and clean cut. It is textbook, faultless, and very good (4 of 5). Continue reading

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Clisson: Wine Village with an Italy Fixation: EU Austerity Drinking Tour #52

Last Monday’s EU AUSTERITY DRINKING TOUR took us to the vines of Vertou in the heart of Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine (see post: here).

Today we travel further up the Sèvre River to the Southeast edge of wine making in Muscadet: Clisson.

We leave futurist Nantes late. Our hangovers slow us down. So we buy new floss, deodorant, toothpaste, and toothbrushes. No greater joy exists for the traveler than fresh toiletries.

Our train stretches through 30 minutes of vineyards and villages. The river basin turns into hills. And we arrive at Clisson. Continue reading

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Nantes, Muscadet, and the vines of Sevre et Maine: EU Austerity Drinking Tour #51

86 days into our EU Austerity Drinking Tour, we leave Tours for Nantes: port of entry into France’s Loire River.

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, magnificent island dedicated to steam-punk machines: Continue reading

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