‘I’ve never tasted a Muscadet from Gadais, though I’ve heard of their Perrières. But I know that some Muscadets can age well (Clos du Pont from Guilbaud being a good example). An idea for a more in-depth article, Jim, if I am not asking too much?’ Hervé
Hervé – your wish is my command…
In the 1970s when I first started to get interested in wine the standard advice regarding Muscadet was ‘to drink the youngest available’, so a wine to drink young with the implication that within a couple of years or so any Muscadet still around would be way past its best. I accepted this dictum without question until sometime in the early 1980s when we were staying with friends in Bavaria. We and our hosts were invited out to dinner with some other friends. We had mussels and they served a Muscadet that must have been about 10 years old. When I saw the vintage I’ll admit to feeling very dubious that this wine would be drinkable. I was soon proved wrong as this older Muscadet was certainly very drinkable, which naturally raised questions about the advice to always drink Muscadet young.
These doubts were thoroughly confirmed in February 1989, soon after I ceased to work in education and started to write about wine, when I visited the Pays Nantais for Decanter magazine – my first ever professional visit. We spent an intensive four days – arriving on the Monday afternoon and leaving after lunch at Mon Rêve on the Friday afternoon. Although it was very cold this was a fascinating visit and we met a lot of very interesting producers including Louis Métaireau, Jean-Ernest Sauvion (Château du Cléray), Pascal Guilbaud, Jacques Guindon and Bernard Cherreau (Cherreau-Carré). Our tastings with producers included a number of older Muscadets, which were a real revelation. With Pascal Guibaud we tasted either his 1955 or 1953 Clos du Pont – still vibrant and proof that good Muscadet can age very well.
Soon after the ageability of Muscadet was further confimed when I met Pierre and Monique Luneau (Domaine Luneau-Papin). Over the years I have tasted wines from Pierre going well back into the 1970s. Also not long after my Muscadet trip I was invited to a Decanter tasting of old Muscadets, which culminated in an excellent half bottle of 1947 – already by then over 40 years old. Tasting these old wines it was apparent that with age they came to have some resemblance to mature Chablis or other Chardonnays from cool climate areas with a certain age.
The advent of the crus communaux Muscadets, although production of these wines remains limited, has made people more aware of the aging potential of top Muscadet.
Some producers to try: Jo Landron, Luneau-Papin, Bruno Coermerais, Bonnet-Huteau, Lieubeau, Jérémie Huchet, Domaine de la Pépière, Cherreau-Carré, Eric Chevalier, Jérôme Choblet, Domaine du Bourg, Guilbaud Frères, Domaine Michel Brégeon, Château du Cléray, Gadais Père et Fils and Domaine Grand Mouton (formerly the Métaireau family now Laure and Julien Rossignol since the end of 2018).