Loire Valley Tourist Offices in Region of Nantes.
THE WINES OF NANTES - Muscadet - Muscadet Sur Lie
Nantes makes an ideal base for this region with and from the clusters of small blue numbered circles you can see the area where the most wineries with tasting rooms are located
The Nantes region has been producing wine since the Rman era. After the fall of Rome, isolated monasteries continued to grow vines and took advantage of numerous routes of communication to develop overseas commerce. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the local wine trade was dominated by Dutch distillers, for whom Nantes was a convenient port from which to ship the wine that they used to make brandy. It was the Dutch who first planted a few vines of the Melon de Bourgogne, which today makes Muscadet Sur Lie, one of the most popular wines in the world.
Although it is the only appellation contrôlée of the region, and by far its best-known wine, Muscadet Sur Lie is not the only wine of the region. Crisp tangy white wines are also produced. . Fiefs Vendéens and Coteaux d’Ancenis produce red and white wines but are little known outside of their home.
Muscadet is the best-known wine of the region around Nantes and one of France’s most popular wines. These wines perfectly reflect their maritime environment, and which make them a natural partner for the superlative Belon oysters of Brittany.
Muscadet accounts for 700,000 hectoliters annually (from 200,000 wineries, each averaging 30 acres), making it the largest white wine appellation in France. The vineyards are planted at low altitude and the ocean climate is characterized by large variations in precipitation, temperature and sunshine from one year to the next.
Muscadet appellations include Muscadet AOC and three regional appellations. .Muscadet Sèvre et Maine (located to the southeast of Nantes) stretches over 23 communes for a total of 21,646 acres and Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire covers 24 communes and 497 acres, in the region of Ancenis on both sides of the Loire River. Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu produces 15,400 hectoliters of wine annually on 726 acres. Since 1972, each winery must have its wines approved by an official tasting board before they can use these appellations.
In addition, Muscadet produced and matured in accordance with strict guidelines may be designated “Muscadet Sur Lie.” Keeping the wine on the lees – yeast -(sur lie) over the winter between fermentation and bottling allows the wine’s aromas to develop. A slight Carbonic gas is produced by this process, and this gives the wine a special liveliness on the palate. Producers must respect the regional appellation laws regarding pruning, yield and maturity, as well as techniques of vinification. Approximately 300,000 hectoliters, or about 40% of total Muscadet production, is fermented sur lie. Muscadet Sur Lie is crisp, dry and supple. Pale yellow in color with hints of green, it has aromas of fruits, often combined with mineral accents. A slight carbonation and good acidity also contribute to the wine’s fresh, lively character. Muscadet is best enjoyed within three years of harvest, with exceptions for the great vintages, which can develop richness and complexity for a decade.