Long praised as the ultimate oyster wine—an entirely deserved reputation—Muscadet can be even more than your drink of choice to chase bivalves. Uncommonly full and rich but still sporting the crisp acidity and low alcohol that make it so sessionable, this 2018 is a Muscadet to enjoy with oysters as well as alongside seared scallops or roast chicken. It fills the mouth with suspicions of honeysuckle and pulpy stone fruits, all while maintaining classic notes of iodine and sea breeze that make this the vinous equivalent of tidepooling.
While increasingly warm vintages, such as 2019 in the Loire Valley, threaten to upset a wine’s traditional balance and typicity, we have not seen that with Château d’Épiré’s Savennières. Rather than make things overripe and blowsy, as one might fear, the sunny conditions have instead intensified the trademark character of Chenin Blanc from these schist-laden vineyards overlooking the Loire. A discreet nose of fresh walnuts prefaces this white wine flavored more of fractured stone than of any fruit or flower. The finish is bone-dry and utterly mouthwatering, as with any self-respecting Savennières.
Nearly fifty miles upriver of Savennières, Chenin takes on a remarkably different personality. Rather than schist, the vines dig through compact strata of clay and powdery white limestone, imbuing the wine with ample flesh to coat its chalky core. A subtle kiss of oak from fermentation in 500-liter puncheons adds nuance and a fine grain. Baudry is among the Loire’s most reliable names for authentic, age-worthy reds produced via natural methods, and the same holds true for the domaine’s rare, precious blanc.
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