Grape(s): Melon de Bourgogne
Localization: Pays Nantais, Loire Valley, France
Tasting Notes: Cloudy straw in the glass with pretty notes of white flowers, pear, green apple and pounded stones. The palate is broad and creamy with elegant white fruit flavors boosted by succulent mineralogy, and a creamy dash of vibrant acidity.
Notes: Grapes are harvested by hand at their maximum ripeness and destemmed. The fruit undergoes a slow manual pressingand& the wine rests on lees in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for at least nine months. This is a pure and natural expression of old vines Burgundy Melon, the Schist terroir they thrive in.
Food pairing: Works beautifully with shellfish, grilled chicken & fish, hearty garden salads or simply by itself.
The Domain: Marc Pesnot farms 22 hectares of ﬁfty-year-old Melon de Bourgogne (the variety used to make all Muscadet wines) vines near the city of Nantes. At the beginning of Marc’s winemaking career, he spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how he could plant and work with some grapes of better and more interesting quality than his humble and native Melon. After much tinkering with different amounts of skin contact and other natural processes, he finally realized that he didn’t need any other grapes; that it was just the shoddy industrial work rampant in the region that was diluting the quality of his neighbor's wines.
Marc was always searching for the perfume from the melon de Bourgogne grapes. The juice itself he describes as not particularly aromatic, but after years of tinkering, he has discovered that very complex aromas live in the cellular structure underneath the skin. By working with a very sophisticated press that allows him to calibrate for a very gentle and slow pressure, Marc has been able to access these cellular areas, to release the natural perfume the grape has to offer. Now he is very happy to work with what he considers a noble grape.
Early on Marc decided he would not pursue the muscadet appellation for any of his wines and be known simply by the quality of his wines, apart from the industrial stigma of the region. In fact, the appellation is one of the more restrictive in France. If one chooses to allow malolactic fermentation, as Marc does in all his wines, one is almost assured to be denied the appellation. The appellation also carries a bizarre, minimum restriction of yield that is quite high, thus almost mandating that the wine produced be one of lower quality and blander taste.
His old vines thrive in a schist soil that lends them a profound persistence and depth of minerality that is nearly unheard of for Muscadet. As a result of this unique terroir, terriﬁc southern exposure, and Marc’s organic farming methods these wines can age gracefully for up to ﬁve years. His wines are complex and work well with a variety of dishes, and are always a pleasure to drink.