I’ve been confused by Muscadet before now, and will no doubt be again.
It’s apparently the only French wine not to be named after the grape variety or the region in which it’s bottled.
And I can’t be the only person that constantly confuses it with Muscat, Moscatel and, erm… Muscovado sugar.
As if that wasn’t enough confusion for one varietal, the only white grape that’s allowed to be used in the AOC that produces Muscadet is called “melon“. And it doesn’t especially taste of melons.
Because Muscat is often found in dessert wines, I usually expect the completely unrelated Muscadet to have a similar sort of off-dry tang, and to go well with spicy dishes and suchlike (like many an Alsace white) – when in fact it’s said to be best-suited to light and salty seafood-type dishes.
Fortunately I had no curry to hand as we opened this bottle on the lawn of our new house, to toast the occasion. It was very kindly left as a moving-in present by the previous owner, and it was such a perfect choice for the balmy summer afternoon that it had turned out to be, after a stressful morning’s drive from South England to the far corner of South Wales with just one brief stop to confirm that we were actually allowed to move in and everything. The silvery-gold hue was paled by the first decent sun we’ve seen all year, and the light floral tone to the aroma was shot through with zingy citrus and the faint hint of freshly cut grass. Although, we were sitting on freshly cut grass, so…
It’s a much more delicate affair than the perfumey Alsace-style wines I often imagine it’ll resemble. Hailing from the part of the Loire near Nantes, Muscadet makes for a much less foody wine, overall. Unless your food is, as previously mentioned, fishy or otherwise light and sea-based. The main fruit flavours were pear and grape and possibly just a hint of peach, or those Chinese pear/apple things that are very white and tend to be sold exclusively in Turkish supermarkets, in my experience.
It’s a perfect wine for sipping on warm summer’s afternoons. And it’s nothing at all like Muscat. Or Moscatel, which is actually just Muscat, it turns out.
I can’t help but feel I’ve learned this particular piece of trivia once before, so why do I feel like I’ll be none the wiser next time I come across such a thing?
Perhaps the finer points of French wine taxonomy will forever be tantalisingly out of my reach. Ah well, as long as I’m still allowed to drink the stuff, that’s just fine.
Tesco Finest Muscadet is available from Tesco (obviously) for £25.62 per case at the time of writing.