MUSCADET. 1981 – B.& G.
by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | April 1983
We cross the French mainland, to Brittany, for our white wine this month. For a stretch of 72 miles from the mouth of the River Loire at the Atlantic, vineyards cover three appellations: “Muscadet”, “Muscadet des Coteaux de la Loire”, and “Muscadet de Sevres et Maine” The latter region produces the best of the Muscadet wines.
Very uncommon to French wine tradition, Muscadet wine is named after the grape it is made from. It is unique to this area, and is fermented, aged, and stored in concrete vats exclusively. It sees no wood ageing. The resulting wine is a young, fresh, dry wine that has been growing in popularity in France and overseas. When newly bottled, it can have traces of the natural carbon dioxide from the fermentation, giving a refreshing liveliness to the palate.
Our Muscadet is a sleeper, among the wines offered by Barton & Guestier currently. B & G is one of the giants of the French wine business. They too are “negociants-eleveurs” like the suppliers of our red wine last month. The firm of Barton & Guestier was founded by an Irishman, Thomas Barton, in 1725. Leaving a family of merchants in Northern Ireland, he settled in Bordeaux, and applied himself to wine trade. In 1802, Hugh Barton, a descendant, made Daniel Guestier, a long-time French associate, a partner in the business. At the time of the American Revolution, Frahfois Guestier ran the blockade with his boat “Le Grande Nancy” to supply George Washington’s troops with wines. Ever since, the United States has been a major market for B. & G. wines.
The wine is faint yellow in color. It has a light fruity nose with the characteristic aroma of the grape. It has a medium body, with a slight sensation of sweetness that is not really there.
It is a result of the fruitiness. The taste quickly changes into a crispness of acid. It has a refreshing, pleasant finish that is lemony. Serve well chilled with oysters, seafood prepared with white sauces, or as a mid-afternoon summer cooler.
Cellaring Notes: Drink now. Muscadet loses its charm after two years.