I’m nearing the end of my 6 tastings for Aldi and so here we are already at my penultimate note. Today we’re travelling to the western end of the Loire Valley, itself located in western France, and trying a Muscadet Sévre Et Maine. The name of the wine comes from the area as well as the two rivers that flow through the Pays Nantais.
The grape variety used for this wine is Melon de Bourgogne (aka Melon in the USA) which, as the name suggests, was traditionally a variety grown in Burgundy. Aside of some US plantings it is now so synonymous with the Loire that the grape is even sometimes known as Muscadet. Whilst the grape variety might be unfamiliar to many, the fact that the French plantings survive in the Loire is a good indication that the variety works in this maritime northern climate. This adopted homeland, alongside a fussy marginal northern climate (especially when moderated by the cool ocean breezes and the cool air from the Loire River itself), mean that we should be looking for both a delicate wine as well as a good overall quality.
The Exquisite Collection Muscadet Sévre Et Maine 2015, Loire Valley, France, 12%, £4.99
This wine is bottled under screw-cap as many a fresh youthful white wine is, and once again has the pleasing (to my eye) Royal blue coloured seal to offset against the green hue of the bottle.
In colour, this wine is on the lighter side of lemon yellow and has lovely green tints to the rim. The nose is one you don’t want to over-chill and kill the flavours on, as it pairs a lightness of touch with an intense delivery. It draws together a myriad of sensations which kick off with lots of lemon, a whiff of lime, green apples, grapey characters, and a touch of peach.
In the mouth the first thing I notice is the gloopy quality and good weight that the wine has. This is closely followed by a generous acidity which manages to be both all-encompassing and yet direct and linear. Next up is a crisp delivery of lemon citrus, fruity peach, a dash of orange peel, and a slightly sour ending, which for me is like taking a huge bite in to a grapefruit. The fruits are under-pinned with a smoky creaminess that comes from the lees (yeast) ageing, which is indicated by the addition of the words ‘Sur Lie’ on the bottle. This ageing is what also gives the wine its gloopy weight and definition.
The tangy acidity continues on the palate for some time after the swallow, along with some of the sour grapefruit notes. Overall this is an extremely juicy, bouncy, vibrant and fresh wine which will go perfectly with light bites, and most fish or seafood dishes, as well as patisserie.
I always write my own tasting notes before looking at the back of the bottle or included notes for the suggestions of the producer, and one thing that was mentioned a couple of times but completely evaded me (no matter how hard I looked) was mint. I simply couldn’t find it, but it’s worth mentioning it in case that’s your thing.
Overall this is an incredibly refreshing, and once again extremely competitively priced wine, given the layers of flavours that can be found. At just 12% alcohol (which was once the norm but, thanks to the New World and global warming, is probably actually considered a low alcohol level now) my own personal palate yearns for a bit more of the robust and fuller bodied white wines that I am used to. That’s not a criticism of the wine or how it compares to other bottles of Muscadet (of which delicacy is a key trait) but merely to highlight that whilst this does have an intense character, it is notable for a lighter, subtler style.
With thanks to Aldi UK for supplying the bottle used in this tasting.