Posts Tagged Muscadet



This week, four more wines that I couldn’t quite into my Irish Times articles but are certainly worth considering for your Christmas celebrations.

La Grange 2022 Le Landreau, Domaine Luneau-Papin
Muscadet de Sèvre & Maine, Tiré sur Lie

Fresh, luscious pear and apple fruits, zingy citrus peel, and a lovely saline mineral note. Concentrated and long. All this with a mere 12% alcohol. Perfect as an aperitif, with oysters or other seafood.

€23 from Whelehan’s, Loughlinstown,

Luneau-Papin is one of the great producers of Muscadet, now in its 9th generation. You have to look hard to see the name Muscadet de Sèvre & Maine sur Lie on the label, as the producer would prefer us to concentrate on the village of Le Landreau where the vines are planted. From vineyards planted in 1974 around the winery, the soils are schist and mica schist, giving real verve to the wine.

Lopez de Haro Rioja Crianza 2020

Medium-bodied with smooth ripe red cherry and raspberry fruits and very subtle vanilla oak. The fruits shine through, and there is good balancing acidity to give it life. Great value for money. This would certainly go nicely with turkey, lamb or dishes with red peppers.

€16 from 64Wine, Glasthule; Green Man Wines, Dublin 6W; Martin’s Off-Licence, D3;;

Lopez de Haro is part of Vintae, a very dynamic relatively young company, founded in the early part of the 21st century. They have 300 hectares of vines, half of those in Rioja, the rest in Navarra, Aragon, Toro and Ribera del Duero. The Riojas are made in a modern style with plenty of ripe fruit and subtle oak, usually offer great value for money. Look out too for their excellent white Rioja Reserva.

Chapelle de Potensac Médoc 2016

Perfectly balanced fresh, elegant blackcurrant and red cherry fruits, a light spiciness, and soft mature tannins. You could keep it a few more years, but it is perfect now. Great value for money too.

€29 from Whelehan’s, Loughlinstown.

Château Potensac has always been one of my favourite wines from Bordeaux, offering a true reflection of the Médoc at very fair prices. The property is owned by Domaines Delon, also proprietors of Ch. Léoville Las Cases, Clos du Marquis and Château Nénin in Pomerol. La Chapelle is the second wine of Potensac, first released in 2002. Like its elder brother it is a classic Médoc. 75% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Cabernet Franc.

Castas Escondidas 2018, Douro, Casa Ferreirinha

Smooth and rich with intense firm dark fruits, good freshness and acidity, with plenty of well-integrated tannins. You could drink it now; I would decant it just before dinner. A bit too tannic for turkey, but this would be great with game and red meats.

€56.95 from Contarf Wines; Redmonds, D6; Pinto Wines, D9; Ely Wine Store, Maynooth;

Casa Ferreirinha was the first producer in the Douro region to dedicate themselves exclusively to table wine, as opposed to Port. Owned by Sogrape, they have 520 hectares of vines in various parts of the Douro valley. Castas Escondidas or ‘hidden varieties’, is a blend of some of the lesser-known grape varieties of the Douro, including Tinta Amarela, Touriga Femea, Tinta Francisca, Tinto Cão, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Bastardo, Marufo Tinto and some old field blends.

Posted in: The Wine on Wednesday, Top Drop

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Lowish alcohol white wines ideal for summer evenings

First published in The Irish Times, Saturday 28th May, 2022

The Irish summer is notoriously unreliable, but we are a positive nation and always try to suck up every last minute of sun. As temperatures rise and we venture outdoors to enjoy the sunshine, we start seeking out more refreshing, lower alcohol wines to drink alongside summer salads and lighter fish and chicken dishes.

We are looking for enticing vivid, citrus-laden crisp wines with bright flowing fruits, wines that will satiate and quench our thirst. Alcohol levels for red wines seem to be on a steady increase, but it is still relatively easy to find lowish alcohol whites, ideal for those long summer evenings.

Don’t ignore richer white wines completely though; with more substantial dishes, they can really shine. A Chardonnay, Viognier or Rhône-style blend, especially those with a little oak ageing, can provide an excellent partner for salmon, chicken and pork served with creamy sauces, barbecued white meats and fish, as well as mild curries.

Our go-to white wines are Marlborough Sauvignon, Rías Baixas and Pinot Grigio from the Veneto, all great options. Check the label for alcohol levels, as they can vary in strength, remembering that producers are allowed a leeway .5% either way. There are plenty of alternatives though.

I am always drawn towards Italian white wines, most of which are 12.5% or less. This includes Soave and the nervy fresh wines of Trentino and Campania. As well as the Ribolla Gialla featured here, I would be tempted by the i Clivi Ribolla Gialla (€22.50, 64 Wine) for a special occasion.

Elsewhere you could look out for most dry or off-dry Riesling from Austria, Germany, Alsace or Australia, Grüner Veltliner from Austria, or fresher unoaked Chardonnay. Portugal and Spain offer plenty of choice. Alvarinho and Vinho Verde from Portugal are made for summertime drinking.

The green verdant Loire Valley in France produces a bevy of summer whites, often at great prices, from Muscadet to Sancerre, including many great Sauvignon Blanc. Don’t ignore other grapes such as Chenin Blanc and Melon de Bourgogne.

Here are four different countries and four different grapes featuring as wines of the week, and no Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Albariño, Riesling or Chardonnay among them.

Ribolla Gialla 2021, Venezia-Giulia, M&S Found, Italy 12%, €11 Light crisp orange peel and pears with subtle almonds. This would be great with herby pasta dishes, or clam linguini. From: Marks & Spencer

Domaine du Haut Bourg Pavillon 2020, Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu sur lie 12%, €17 A very moreish summery Muscadet with succulent sprightly pear and apple fruits finishing dry. Perfect with a bowl of mussels, cold shellfish, or creamy goat’s cheese salads. From:Wines on the Green, D2.

Wagner Stempel Sylvaner Siefersheim 2021, Rheinhessen (organic)12%, €22.50-23 A joy to drink; pure limpid pear and apple fruits scented with fresh herbs and a thirst-quenching citrus. Drink it by itself or with al fresco salads and picnics. From: 64 Wine, Glasthule; Blackrock Cellar.

Xisto Ilimitado Branco 2020, Douro Valley, Portugal 12.5%, €24 Zesty and bright with lively stone fruits, pears and a strong mineral backbone. Wonderful wine; I can see myself sipping a glass of this looking out over the Douro Valley. Try it with grilled oily fish including salmon, or chicken salads. From: 64 Wine, Glasthule; Sweeneys D3;; Pinto Wines, D9; Baggot Street Wines, D4; Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock; Loose Canon, D2; Green Man Wines, D6; Lennox Street Grocer, D8; Lilith, D7.

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La Perdrix de l’Année des Bêtes Curieuses, Muscadet sur granit 2014

<strong>La Perdrix de l’Année des Bêtes Curieuses, Muscadet sur granit 2014</strong>

DSCF6804La Perdrix de l’Année des Bêtes Curieuses, Muscadet sur granit 2014
€14.50 from One Pery Square, Limerick; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock;
The Drink Store, Stoneybatter; La Touche, Greystones.

Vivid and mineral with delicious flowing green fruits and a crisp finish. Don’t worry about the vintage. Muscadet can take a few years.

Drink with shellfish and simple fish dishes.

I have been enjoying countless bottles of Muscadet this summer. It is such a joyous drink; light and fresh, but with a complexity and depth rarely found in a wine at either this price, or at 12% alcohol. Only Riesling comes to mind, but you don’t find many good dry Riesling below €15.

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Domaine de la Chauvinière, Muscadet de Sèvre & Maine Sur Lie 2014

<strong>Domaine de la Chauvinière, Muscadet de Sèvre & Maine Sur Lie 2014</strong>

DSCF5570Domaine de la Chauvinière, Muscadet de Sèvre & Maine Sur Lie 2014
€13.95 (2nd bottle ½ price) from O’Briens

Muscadet is so much more interesting than Picpoul de Pinet, often called the Muscadet of the south, and currently very fashionable. Picpoul is a good crisp dry white wine. In the hands of a clever winemaker, it can be a little better than that, but most of those on offer come from one large producer. Muscadet on the other hand, is also be light, crisp and dry, but it can offer so much more. The really good ones (which sadly cost over €15) have a depth and complexity you will never find in a Picpoul. The Chauvinière is made by one of the best growers in the region. It has a lovely leesy touch, some lemon zest, and delicious light apple fruits. Perfect summer drinking, and great value for money.

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Muscadet: the perfect al fresco summer wine

Muscadet: the perfect al fresco summer wine

First published in The Irish Times
Sat, Jul 11, 2015, 01:00

Those of you of a certain vintage will remember Muscadet with a shudder. For a while in the 1970s and 1980s, this was the favourite tipple of the wine drinking classes. No drinks party was complete without it, and it featured on every wine list in the country. To meet demand, the vineyard area expanded dramatically and the larger companies started making vast quantities of very cheap wine.Most was pretty dire and a some of it probably didn’t even come from the Muscadet region. We moved on to the New World, and poor Muscadet hasn’t really gotten a look in since. Which is a pity as the region has long ago reformed itself (the good producers never went away), and now offers the intelligent buyer a selection of light wines, beautifully made and complex, with a character all of their own.There are few finer things in life than a large plateful of spanking fresh plain seafood washed down with generous quantities of Muscadet. As with Beaujolais, it is the perfect al fresco summer wine, one that seems made to drink outdoors at lunchtime.

Muscadet is the wine; the grape variety is Melon de Bourgogne, a distant relative of Chardonnay. The vast majority of the vines, some 20,000 acres, are grown in the Sèvre-et-Maine region and most bottles will bear this name on the label.In recent years, two other smaller sub-regions to the north have been created, Coteaux de la Loire and Côtes de Grandlieu. Muscadet-Côtes de Grandlieu tends to be riper and fruitier; Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire is lighter and more linear.Muscadet sometimes suffers a little due to its reputation as a crisp light white to go with seafood; although it will never be a big wine, that does not mean it is simple. The best have a wonderful subtle complexity. At a wine fair a decade ago, I worked my way around half-a-dozen small domaines, tasting some superb wines, including some excellent 10 year-old Muscadet.However, I would not recommend ageing your bottles; to me this is a wine best enjoyed in the first few years of its life, when the elegant plump fruits are to the fore. I am happy to say that a few intrepid outlets are now importing some of the top estates – Terroirs in Donnybrook in Dublin has the biodynamic Domaine de l’Ecu, and Le Caveau in Kilkenny has Château du Coing. Whelehans in Loughlinstown in Dublin imports the excellent Luneau-Papin, The Wine Store has Domaine Huchet and Wines Direct offers the wonderful Domaine de la Louvetrie. Most sell at €15-€20, very good value for quality wines. These days, most of the multiples offer decent inexpensive Muscadet. “Sur Lie”, which appears on most bottles, refers to the practice of leaving the wines on their lees, or dead yeast cells, for a period after fermentation. Bottled without filtration, the wines have a slight prickle and a soft creamy texture. Producers in many wine regions, including Burgundy and Rías Baixas, age white wines on their lees for 12 to 24 months to add flavour and complexity. It is traditional in Muscadet.

I am the proud owner of a Muscadet vineyard. A few years ago at a wine fair in the Loire, a producer presented me with a wax-covered stick and a small sack. The bag contained salt, Sel de Guérande, and the stick was a Melon de Bourgogne vine. These I was told, were Brittany’s greatest products. I enjoyed the salt and stuck the vine into the only vaguely sunny spot in the garden. Last year, it produced three bunches of very green acidic grapes. I don’t think the vignerons of Muscadet have much to fear from the vineyards of Wicklow.

DSCF5570Muscadet de Sèvre & Maine sur lie, Domaine de la Chauvinière 2013

Lovely light refreshing dry wine with delicate ripe plump apple fruits. Perfect with all manner of fishy things. Try it with oysters for a real treat.

Stockists: O’Briens; James Nicholson , Crossgar.

ImageMuscadet de Sèvre & Maine sur lie, Clos des Montys 2014

Jeremie Huchet makes the Chauviniére above and this delicious wine too; clean, subtle almost snow-like with a lovely long finish and a subtle spritz.

Stockists: Jus de Vine; McCabes; Redmonds; One Pery Sq. Limerick.

DSCF5496Muscadet de Sèvre & Maine sur lie, Les Pierres Blanches, Domaine Luneau-Papin

Delicate refined and crisp with the finest of floral, lemon-scented pristine fruit.
Exquisite wine.

Stockists: Whelehan Wines, Loughlinstown

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Muscadet de Sèvre & Maine sur lie, Domaine de la Chauvinière 2013

Muscadet  de Sèvre & Maine sur lie, Domaine de la Chauvinière 2013



Available from O’Briens

Lovely light refreshing dry wine with delicate ripe plump apple fruits. Perfect with all manner of fishy things. I had mine with prawns and dill with pasta.

Muscadet appears to be coming back into fashion again. Gone are the cheap incredibly acidic fruitless wines – although you can still find a few in the supermarkets. There have always been plenty of really good estates producing really good complex elegant wines; over the last few months I have tasted several amazingly good wines, some of which will feature in a forthcoming Irish Times article. In the meantime enjoy this delicious well-priced summery wine from O’Briens.


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Two Summer Classics

Two lighter fresher wines for this lovely warm sunny weather. Both are well-known names that are under-valued.

 Fleurie Domaine de la Madone 2012 €18.49

I love good Beaujolais but these days the best wines all seem to cost more than €20. I was therefore delighted to come across this delicious Fleurie at such a great price.  It has wonderful fresh aromas and concentrated but light juicy strawberry fruits, with a lip-smacking lingering finish. This is a light wine (13% alcohol and no tannins) so you could drink without food, but I would recommend it with anything porky, especially charcuterie, or chicken. I rarely drink wine during the day, but this would fit into that wonderful category of ‘luncheon wine’.

Stockists: Mitchell & Son, Glasthule, IFSC, Andreson’s Foodhall, Glasnevin, Dublin 9.

Ch. du Coing de St. Fiacre 2011 Muscadet de Sèvre & Maine €15.35

Yes Muscadet! Those of a certain age will remember how fashionable Muscadet was back in the 1980’s, when it was served at every event. Sadly the quality went downhill and we moved on to Chardonnay and then Sauvignon Blanc. Good Muscadet is one of the most delicious wines, light in alcohol, crisp and dry, with subtle green fruits. I love its purity of flavour and ability to improve with every sip. Drink it as the locals would, with a large bowl of mussels or a plate of fresh Irish oysters. This is the perfect example; light plump green fruits shot through with a zesty lemony acidity.

Stockists: Dicey Reilly Ballyshannon; Redmonds, Ranelagh; Le Caveau, Kilkenny;

World Wide Wine Waterford; Mac Guinness, Dundalk; Baggot Street Wines; Corkscrew, Chatham St.; Fallon and Byrne, Exchequer St.; Listons, Camden St.

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