Jérémie Huchet & Jérémie Mouret, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine "Clisson"
Jérémie Huchet & Jérémie Mouret, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine "Clisson"

Jérémie Huchet & Jérémie Mouret, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine "Clisson"

Loire Valley, France 2018 (750mL)
Regular price$34.00

Jérémie Huchet & Jérémie Mouret, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine "Clisson"

Sommeliers all over the globe (ourselves included) have been loudly singing the praises of Muscadet for years now. But just in case you’ve somehow missed the pitch, here it is: At their epoch, these Atlantic Coast cousins of Chardonnay can age gracefully for many years and reach heights of aromatic complexity, scintillating texture, and mineral magic that rival the top vineyards in Puligny-Montrachet or Chablis. And today’s discovery from one of our favorite talents in the region, Jérémie Huchet, checks everyone of those boxes and hits all the right notes, with aplomb. Together with his unofficial “twin,” Jérémie Mouret, they produce some of the most precise and exuberant wines in this appellation, and this cru botting of “Clisson” is perhaps their finest effort. At six years of age, this sea-shell-laden gem is still very much in its youth, which is all the more reason to stock your cellar, and the pedestrian price makes it very easy to do so. If you enjoy expressive, bone-dry white wine without the influence of oak, then you simply must have some Muscadet around at all times!

Melon de Bourgogne, the grape of Muscadet, is a sibling to Chardonnay and a scion of Pinot Noir. But respect has come slowly for this Burgundy variety. A brisk Medieval trade existed between the monasteries of Burgundy and the Loire Valley, yet Melon’s arrival in the western Loire Valley is traditionally dated to 1709, when existing varieties in the field succumbed to a bitter winter. Banished to France’s Atlantic Coast, near the city of Nantes, Melon de Bourgogne cemented its place in the Loire Valley after phylloxera arrived in the late 1800s. The wine became “Muscadet,” confined by early 20th-century appellation law to one grape variety (Melon) and one geographic region (the countryside surrounding Nantes). It ballooned in popularity and production. Muscadet was oyster wine: a tart, lemony sidekick to slurp down with the region’s bountiful seafood. The already neutral flavor profile of Muscadet narrowed as vineyard yields skyrocketed, and by the late 20th century the Muscadet image was frozen in its tracks. In this way Muscadet was homogenized, and most bottles tasted the same. 

Yet centuries after Burgundy fragmented, Muscadet began to do the same. Producers realized that there were competing geological forces at work under the Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine AOC—the most important of four Muscadet AOCs—and began to explore them. Domaine de l’Ecu, Domaine de la Pépière, and others started experimenting, first by bottling soil types separately, then by carving out “crus” within the region. It’s a work in progress, but it’s fascinating. Of the nine crus that now are officially recognized, “Clisson” produces some of the most structured, precise, and mineral drenched wines. And they are known for aging extremely well. 

The Jérémies, Huchet and Mouret, met some years ago at a wine fair and have been collaborating under the name “Les Bête Curieuses” or “The Curious Beast” ever since. Their mission is to showcase the special diversity of terroir along the Sèvre et Maine—where the best Muscadet has historically been made—and to prove, with their wines, that these bottles deserve a place among the world’s best white wines. They farm everything organically, limiting yields and harvesting when the perfect balance of fruit, acid, and savor is achieved. They use very traditional methods—often forgotten during the mid 20th rush to mass produce Muscadet—of aging the wines for many months on their lees in large, cement tanks that are buried underground in the cellar. 

These extraordinary efforts combine the textural richness that lees aging delivers and a little of that heady rising-dough-bakeshop scent with the racy, crystalline, saline character that good Muscadet can deliver. Pull the cork on today’s 2018 and let it blossom for a bit rather than slurp it down: It’s a bright and relatively deep straw-gold in the glass, bursting forth with notes of yellow apple, white peach, sea spray, smoke, crushed oyster shells…all in all the perfect mix of fruit and earth in a wine that is focused, compact, tactile, and just super-satisfying all around. It may go without saying that this is a seafood white extraordinaire: Splash it in a decanter for 20-30 minutes before serving in all-purpose white wine stems at 50-55 degrees. If you long for the days when you could find excellent white Burgundy for well under $40, don’t despair! Just make a slight turn towards the coast of France and just before you get to the ocean you’ll find yourself in a paradise of extraordinary white wine values. That’s Muscadet: Now it’s time to stock up!

Jérémie Huchet & Jérémie Mouret, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine "Clisson"

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