Muscadet, 2018. L'Auriere

Muscadet, 2018. L'Auriere

Item #: C0721W2IF
Vintage: 2018
Varietal: Muscadet
Vineyard/Appellation: Loire, France
Color: Very Pale
Nose: Slight Citrus
Palate: Clingingly Dry
Finish: Imposing
Rating: 96
Cellaring/Serving Suggestions: Now thru 2022/Raw Fish, Salads/11.5% Alcohol by Volume

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L'Auriere means "the place where one extracts gold." Obviously, they hold their place at the mouth of the Loire River very highly. The winery has been in the Terrisson Family for four generations. The grape here is Melon de Bourgogne, which, unusually, was brought to Muscadet in the 17th Century by the Dutch including several red varieties. Less than 100 years later, however, a frost devastated the vineyards so badly, especially the reds, that red wine has not been made here ever since. Only the Melon de Bourgogne survived and is still in use today. Melon is a distant cousin to Chardonnay, but the flavor profiles are different enough that any familial heritage is insignificant.

Muscadet is made very differently than any other white wine. It is aged for seven month "sur lies." The "lies" are the tiny pieces of stem and seeds left over after fermentation. They are stirred regularly which add a clinging mouthfeel and renders the wine more forceful than it would be without this procedure. It also adds a slight petillance to the wine, meaning the barest hint of sparkle, which further enhances its complexity.

The result is a very dry, crisp wine with touches green apple and pear and a candied citrus finish. Its dryness necessitates imposing flavors be matched here like raw oysters or clams on the half shell splashed with lemon or red wine vinegar, smoked salmon in a dill sauce, or Hamachi sashimi with a fair amount of wasabi and soy sauce.