I was lucky enough to go to a close friend’s wedding earlier this Summer; taking in the happy scene through gaps in the forest of fascinators, it suddenly dawned on me how superbly delicious the wine was. Unsurprising really, what else should I have expected from the newly wed Millington/King dream team?
Muscadet is another victim of the ghost of vintages past. For a long time producers were seen to be churning out cheap plonk using the native grape Melon de Bourgogne. Happily, recent years have witnessed something of resurgence in popularity and quality. The turning point was in 1994, when the French authorities made the definition of ‘sur lie’ more stringent. Sur Lie fermentation is a technique which allows the wine to lie on its dead yeast cells for an extended period post-fermentation. That may not sound terribly sexy, but it’s exactly this that creates a noticeably more interesting and complex sipper. Imagine a poached egg pre-dolloping of hollandaise – it’s the hollandaise that turns breakfast into a brilliant brunch. The bees knees, the dogs bollocks, whatever you want to call it, there’s no denying that sur lie fermentation is the hollandaise of Melon de Bourgogne.
It’s a lovely dry duo of fresh lemony zest and salinity, the perfect pairing. A slight spritz is a welcome accompaniment to the rigorous minerality and bone dry finish (a great example of soil finding its way into a grape). The screeching acidity gives the wine a goosepimply flesh that seals the humdrum grape. It also makes the wines suitable for hiding away for a rainy day as it will evolve gracefully with age. Delightfully polite yet armed with ample lemony clout, this fancyable libation has the body and personality to be dangerously irresistible.
“One of the bargains of the wine world” (Jancis Robinson), it represents great value for money and holds its own against some of the great wines of the Loire…and so, join me in a toast:
To the delicious Matt and Millers – may their relationship be as beautifully evolving, grounded, and as zesty as this little number.