Good Muscadet ages brilliantly

1989 Premier Jour 25 août, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Louis Métaireau 
A rare and unique bottle given to me by Louis many years ago.
With age the Melon showing its Burgundian roots complexity and finesse 
but with wonderful fresh vibrancy
Drunk @ The Harrow on 20th November 2014

‘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).

 

5 réflexions sur “Good Muscadet ages brilliantly

  1. Funny, Jim, but Muscat de Rivesaltes, far from being close to Muscadet – except for the first five letters -, was exactly in the same spirit in 1988 when I landed in Perpignan. « Drink it as young as possible ! » claimed the local producers including the Cazes brothers. A few years later, I wondered what an old muscat could be like : was it worth aging ? I opened a ten years old (1986) given to me by André Cazes and it was such a marvelous wine that I served it on a « foie gras frais poêlé » at christmas 1997. Another ten years or so after this experiment, the Cazes’ put a few old vintages on their price list which, more recently, also included a very young « Muscat de Noël » released a few weeks after Beaujolais (and Muscadet) Nouveau. That, in my opinion, resumes the conception of wine !
    Well, a good aged Muscadet (mine being Jerémie Huchet’s) is also a great treat for wine lovers like you and I. That’s why we secretly keep a few bottles in our cellars !
    And please pardon my spelling mistakes…

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  2. David Cobbold

    Totally agree with all of this. Yves Legrand, of Chemin des Vignes, organised a couple of years ago a blind tasting in which he mixed some aged Muscadets (around 4 to 10 years, depending, if I remember right) with some white Burgundies (unoaked or just lightly to even things up a bit). The latter included the Bourgogne from Leflaive. My top 3 wines were all Muscadets.

    On a visit to the region I tasted some wonderful old ones also. I would add the following names to Jim’s very good list : Frères Couillaud, Château du Cléray, Bruno Cormerais, Günther-Chéreau, Joseph Landron,

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  3. saintphilbert

    Thank you for the producers of Muscadet. With an expected average yield of 15 hectoliters per hectare this year, they’re going to need some support. I think you mean Pierre Guidon and not Jacques Guindon. And also, the Grand Mouton estate was bought by Laure and Julien Rossignol.

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    1. Jim Budd

      saintphilbert Thank you for the update. I wasn’t aware that the Métaireaus had sold Grand Mouton. I am pretty sure that it was Jacques Guindon that I met in 1989 and not his son Pierre.

      J'aime

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