Every Monday, discover new wines, regions, and ways to understand this fermenting sea.
Munching Vidal Blanc on Keuka Lake, New York
The theme is “translation” for this, the thirty second Monthly Wine Writing Challenge.
Luckily, my Aunt surprised me recently.
She hosts near-monthly dinners, cooks great food, and pours copious amounts of sparkling wine. I bring good bottles that survived my workweek. Well, at our last powwow she had something new from Oregon.
Now, most American wine is an act of translation. Why? Because we try to conjugate European grapes with American soil, climate, and palates. Results taste familiar but different: like speaking French with a Texan accent. But with today’s wine, America forgot the encyclopedia. Continue reading
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
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
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
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