I want to share a stunning winner from the Loire Valley, made by Marc Ollivier, fully hand harvested, from Muscadet’s heralded appellation between the Sevre and Maine rivers, that sits on its lees until bottling, which you can drink now or lay away for more than 25 years, brought to us by Louis/Dressner . Oh and by the way, it costs $13. An apparent anomaly amidst withering $US buying power, what is it about this world-class product that can be acquired from Europe, including shipping and handling, for less than a twenty dollar bill? Besides fleur de sel, Muscadet has to be unique in this distinction.
Somehow, US wine enthusiasts keep overlooking this western most region of the Loire, and the prices reflect limited demand. I ignored the wines for a long time too. It might be the unfamiliar Melon de Bourgogne, a grape that fails to roll off the tongues of new world winos. Or, it could be the honest and austere qualities of the wines that pair up so well with oysters and other shellfish, bereft of more familiar and overwhelming flavors of butter, tropical fruits, and caramel. As my final hypothetical assumption in this dangerous stream of generalizations, I suspect American wine consumers place limited value on white wines that can be squirreled away for more than 20 years without disintegrating into the orange swill our domestic products are mostly destined for.
Paired tonight with deboned, rolled, and roasted breast of turkey stuffed with our neighbor’s spicy Carlisle grown garlic, prosciutto, sage, and rosemary, and then served over truffled orzo pasta, the 2008 Pepiere Muscadet de Sevre et Maine Sur Lie was deployed to see if it’s crispness and acidity could withstand this melange of powerful flavors. The wine comes across with crisp apples that finish with just enough pleasing sourness, and combines with lemony citrus notes. Its bright acids knit together with a surprisingly medium rich mouthfeel. Through it all, there is a clean and austere character that permeates from attack to finish, never feeling lean or light on fruit or stuffing. It is an honest wine that appears as if it can only come from its originating patch of land in western France. Not surprisingly, the vineyards that Olliver farms for this bottling consists of 40+ year original stock.
The wine never shrank under the power of the meal’s flavors. It was like the skinny tall kid that refused to be bullied. It refreshed the palate and grounded the food flavors, keeping the wine and food dancing symbiotically through the meal. This Muscadet proved versatile, with enough agility to caress fresh oysters and to tame intoxicating herbal/truffle flavors.
I think I am going to be shocked if I find another white wine with as much to offer for $13. I don’t see that happening this year, next year, or maybe ever again. Tasting so fine tonight, I can’t even imagine what 20 years of cellaring will produce. At this price, I am buying enough to insure that I find out.