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In an effort to shed some light on how I study for WSET Diploma Course’s D3 exam, Le Club des Vins is running a series of posts covering wine regions. Today’s topic: Muscadet
Muscadet is located in Pays Nantais, which takes it name from the city of Nantes. The region is situated very close to the Atlantic Ocean.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
In a nutshell
- Cool maritime climate
- Schist and gneiss
- melon de Bourgogne
Cool maritime climate with cool springs, warm and humid summers and a constant threat of rain. It can be devastating in March/April (flowering) and in September (harvest). Another threat in this northern climate is, of course, spring frost. It can damage the buds (melon buds quite early).
Luckily, the regions benefits the well-drained soils, mostly schist and gneiss (similar to granite) and some sandy soils.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
🍇 Grapes & style
The star of the region is Melon de Bourgogne, a hardy variety making it well suited to the cool region. It’s quite a boring grape, very neutral character and high in acidity. The wines, however, aren’t necessarily boring 🙂 The best versions are aged sur lie, which uplifts the body and complexity. Since 2018, a splash (10%) of chardonnay is allowed in Muscadet AOC.
There are four Muscadet appellations, two larger ones, AOC Muscadet de Sevre et Maine (Loire’s largest appellation) and AOC Muscadet. The two smaller ones are called AOC Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire and AOC Muscadet Cotes de Grandlieu. From 2020 on, the maximum yield for Muscadet will be 70 ha/hl, whilst the maximum yield for the other appellations will stay the same at 55 ha/hl. In addition, there are 7 crus communaux launched, including Château-Thébaud, Clisson, Gorges and Le Pallet. Maximum yield is 45 ha/hl.
💡 Something you didn’t know
The term ’sur lie’ can be used in any of the AOCs. The odd thing is that sur lie wines must be bottled between 1 March and 30 November of the year following the harvest and in the winery in which they are made. The latter means that négociants can not buy wine to be aged sur lie (at least they can’t use the term). Funnily enough, the crus can’t use the term ’sur lie’ because they are required to be kept on the lees for 18+ months.
Your turn now
I always put a new region on instagram first. If you have any additions or comments on a region, please do share. You can drop a comment on instagram or on the website – see below. Your help is much appreciated!