Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

MWG September 11th tasting: Unmuscadets

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Located in Saint-Julien-de-Concelles, a few kilometres east of the Loire estuary, Marc Pesnot’s 13-hectare Domaine de Sénéchalière has schistous soils and is planted mainly to Melon de Bourgogne (aka Muscadet) along with Folle Blanche and Abouriou. He farms organically, works the soil manually and favours a non-interventionalist approach to winemaking. Despite being in the heart of the Muscadet AOC, Pesnot is insistent that he doesn’t make Muscadet.

Vin de France 2013, Miss Terre, Domaine de la Sénéchalière ($29.00, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Melon de Bourgogne from vines between 50 and 80 years old. Manually harvested and destemmed. Alcoholic fermentation with indigenous yeasts lasts around four months. Unlike Muscadets, this also undergoes malolactic fermentation. Unfiltered and unfined. A tiny amount of sulphur (20 mg/l) is added at bottling. 12% ABV. The cuvée’s name refers to the soil (terre) the grapes are grown in and to the mystery of malolactic fermentation. Quebec agent: Glou.
Lovely nose of elderflower, lemon and minerals. Light- to medium-bodied and quite dry, with a silky texture and a soft tartness. Squeaky clean fruit, a touch of bitter lemon, lots of minerals and a long, saline finish add up to a satisfying, food-friendly sipper. (Buy again? Yes.)

Vin de France 2013, Chapeau Melon, Domaine de la Sénéchalière ($31.50, private import, 12 bottles/case)
The cuvée’s name is a triple pun since it is French for bowler (there’s one on the label), French for “hats off to the Melon grape” and the name of a restaurant where the wine has been served since it opened. 100% Melon de Bourgogne. Fermentation with indigenous yeasts lasts about a year, maturation on the lees about six months. Sees only stainless steel until bottling. No added sulphur. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: Glou.
Compared with the Miss Terre, far more along the lines of how one imagines a natural wine. Cloudy in the glass. Unusual nose: yeasty with oxidized and pickle notes, white fruit, some mastic, sea spray, spice. Despite the spritzy tingle, the wine’s texture borders on creamy. While it’s fruity (sour apples verging on cider), it’s also quite dry. The layers of complexity include veins of minerals. The finish is long. Evolved and improved over the course of the evening. I didn’t know quite what to make of this at first but ended up convinced. (Buy again? Yes.)

(Flight: 2/9)

Written by carswell

September 17, 2014 at 19:02

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