June 2017 issue of Decanter: Muscadet is back
Back in February 2017 Decanter magazine held a panel tasting of Muscadet with extended lees aging. I was one of the trio of tasters. The other two were Chris Kissack (The Wine Doctor) and Ben Llewelyn (Carte Blanche). It was easily the most impressive Decanter panel tasting that I have ever been to as the depth of quality was remarkable. There were 11 wines judged to be Outstanding with three of these scored as Exceptional and a further 63 wine Highly Recommended. Few of these wines cost more than £20 and many £15 or under, so offering remarkable quality.
2007 Excelsior, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Domaine Pierre Luneau Papin was the top wine with an aggregate score of 99 points.
Although all three of us on the panel are fans of good Muscadet, we were, however, taken aback by the number of excellent wines that we tasted from the around 110 samples submitted. These extended lees aging Muscadets provide a different expression of Muscadet – more complex and with a great depth of flavour and are great value.
Their quality will not be a surprise to my fellow Les 5 colleagues as a few years ago David brought a superb 1989 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine to one of our dinners at Le Relais (Angers)
2017 Decanter World Wine Awards and April frost
Last week was the latest edition of the Decanter World Wine Awards tasting. This competition was launched in 2004 and I have been the Regional Chair for the Loire since its inception. This year DWWA attracted some 17,200 entries and it was both good and humbling to see that the Loire entries had kept up despite the succession of small vintages since 2012 and in particular with all the difficulties producers experienced during the 2016 growing season.
Very sadly, just as last year, DWWA took place while producers in the Loire and other parts of France and Europe were being threatened again by a succession of April frosts. Just like last year some of the most serious damage occurred early in the morning of 27th April. Unlike the devastating frost of April 1991, which happened over a single night, 2016 and 2017 have seen a series of frosts over several nights spread over two weeks causing huge stress for producers and often areas that escaped the initial frosts were subsequently hit.
My post next Tuesday will be a round-up of how badly the Loire has been hit by frost in 2017.