Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie: Jean-François Baron 2021
There's Muscadet, and then there's Muscadet. This zesty, palate-tingling wine - which is both 'de Sèvre et Maine' and 'Sur Lie' - is bone dry, makes a bracing aperitif, and goes down a treat with oysters, mussels and other 'fruits de mer'.
Yapp Brothers first shipped Muscadet in 1973, and have listed it every year since. Back in 1985 Robin Yapp cajoled Quentin Blake into illustrating an eye-catching, bespoke label depicting a Bacchanalian duo making merry, which has adorned every subsequent vintage and has accrued a loyal following.
The Muscadet wine itself has a pale colour, slightly saline 'sea breeze' scents and a life-enhancing acidity, having over-wintered on its fine lees before bottling, which imparts a subtle prickle of carbon dioxide.
|Style||White Wine, Sec, Light-bodied, Non Sparkling|
|Wine Region||Loire, Muscadet (Vin de Pays Nantais)|
|Grape Variety (Cépage)||Muscadet|
|Food & Wine Matching||Oysters, Seafood, White Fish|
|Cellarage||Best drunk within two years of vintage.|
|Vinification||Machine harvested grapes from 30+ year-old vines on clay-silica soils have a very simple and gentle pressing to avoid release of bitter skin compounds. Fermented at low temperatures (17 to 18 degrees C.). Aged on their lees for 6 months before being bottled the following March. This prolonged sojourn on the yeast debris of fermentation adds body and vivacity to the wine (at the risk of secondary fermentation). Wines made thus are entitled to be labelled 'sur lie'.|
|Alcohol By Volume (%)||12|
After decades toiling on the windswept plains of the Nantais, our erstwhile Muscadet grower – since 1973 - Sébastien Chereau decided that becoming a landscape gardener was an easier occupation, so he sold his vines to neighbour Jean-François Baron in 2020. Situated in Monnières in the heart of Nantes wine country between the Sèvre and Maine rivers, Jean-François and wife Claudine have been at the helm of the family domaine since 1990 and are the 4th generation of Barons to make wine in the locality. They now tend to 15 hectares of vines mostly for their principal bottling of Muscadet 'Sèvre et Maine sur Lie'. Working sustainably is the key aim of the couple and from 2020, they have been certified as 'Haute Valeur Environnementale', a regime which seeks to use as few fertilisers and herbicides as possible, and creates green zones to preserve wildlife habitats and encourage biodiversity. They use a novel system of bio-control to avoid the ravages of insects by releasing predatory insects in the vines to put off would-be crop ravagers.
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