Perfect wine for spring

A view of vine rows growing on the slope of a hill in the Loire Valley region. Leaves are illuminate

A view of vine rows growing on the slope of a hill in the Loire Valley region. Leaves are illuminated by the light of an autumnal sun, at the end of the afternoon - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

As the seasons turn, so does our taste for wine, writes Fiona Taylor, of Christopher Piper Wines, in Ottery St Mary, who offers a suggestion for spring.


Muscadet - Credit: Archant

Wines for many people can be summarised by the passing of the seasons. In winter – we like to drink heavy reds, rich with smoky tannins and spicy flavours, spring – lighter reds and whites filled with berry aromas, summer – sparkling and chilled whites, aromatic wines and pale pink rosés and finally autumn – darker denser wines to have with pheasant and other game birds and Sunday roasts with the turning of the clocks.

Since the sun has now decided to remain out for longer than just the odd hour at a time and with an exciting announcement from Domaine le Bretonnière in the Loire Valley, my thoughts have paused on Muscadet, a perfect spring wine.

Muscadet wines are made at western end of the Loire Valley surrounding the town of Nantes.

More Muscadet is produced than any other wine from this region and is made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape which can sustain cold temperatures and is quite prolific.

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The taste of the grape once picked is quite bland, HOWEVER, with good winemaking skills the ‘terroir’ and ageing can be used to mould this wine into something quite delicious.

The best Muscadet wines are aged ‘sur lie’ which means the wine is allowed to keep in contact with the natural yeast cells for a period of time (up to the winemaker) giving the wine aromas, complexity and flavour that is unique.

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If you haven’t tried Muscadet for a while, I can thoroughly recommend the Séléction du Domaine from Domaine le Bretonnière which has just (March 2018) won a Gold Medal in Paris at a top presentation of all Muscadet wines.

The Chapentier-Fleurance family have been running this estate for four generations and since 1989 has been run by two brothers, Pierre-Yves and Patrice. The wine comes from one of the most highly regarded villages in the Muscadet region (Le Landreau), from old-vine selection and has a distinctive white flower and green apple aroma with a crisp, penetrating fruitiness.

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