No. 44 – Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie

For many years, much of what was produced in this cool coastal region of Northern France was viewed as a poor person’s Chablis, but thankfully times have changed. What was once cheap and occasionally cheerful has become a consistently reliable source of inexpensive refreshment, and one that deserves to accompany the briny oysters that are the signature entrée to any meal served at the Atlantic end of the Loire valley.

 

‘Reliable’ is fine for the majority, but we prefer to deal in the realm of ‘excellence’ and so have worked with a wine grower and winemaker who try very hard to push the level achievable with Muscadet to the limit. Here we have texture, a result of the seven months our wine sat undisturbed above the lees. There is concentration, a reflection of these organically farmed old vines’ (planted in 1950 and 1987) habit of producing less quantity but increased quality. And we also have a little bottle age, only a couple of years perhaps, but this has allowed the wine to grow into itself and become a benchmark for this Département.

Wine Tasting

With Masters of Wine Liam Steevenson and Mark Pygott

Muscadet

Where the Loire meets the wild Atlantic Coast

Muscadet country lies 15 minutes south of the beautiful city of Nantes. With rolling vineyards carpeting the landscape as far as the eye can see, this is a region full of hidden gems. Nature offers a lot of sites to discover and there is an abundance of quaint villages with red-tiled rooves hiding wine-tasting cellars to visit. The largest white wine appellation in France, the vineyards are close to the ocean, stretching from the banks of the Loire towards the Atlantic coast, with Nantes at their heart.

Where to Stay

Oceania Hôtel de France, Nantes

This four-star hotel is in a beautifully-renovated 18th century mansion in the historic centre of Nantes. The rooms are tastefully decorated with a nod to both art deco and contemporary styles and some have balconies overlooking Place Graslin.

Sozo Hotel, Nantes

A former nunnery which now sports a modern white interior, with beautiful stained glass windows and stonework intact. Located in the old port right next to the Jardin des Plantes, a beautiful botanical garden, in the centre of town.

Maisons du Monde Hotel & Suites, Nantes

A chic hotel ideally located in the centre of historic Nantes. Beautifully decorated, with sleek rooms featuring parquet flooring and contemporary fittings, as well as their own espresso machine for lazy morning starts. 

 

Château de la Garnison

An impressive château in a secluded rural location just outside of Nantes. The beautifully renovated rooms are designed in soft grey hues, with exposed stone walls and freestanding baths. The epitome of rural chic.

Where to Eat

Villa Sainte-Antoine, Clisson

Featured in the Michelin Guide, this restaurant is in a former textile mill on the banks of the Sèvre Nantaise. With a smart brasserie interior, the chef’s delicious repertoire of dishes and great service from a young and dynamic team, this is one not to be missed.

La Civelle, Nantes

Located on a quai in the centre of town, with tables overlooking the water. A fantastic place to pass away an afternoon enjoying chilled glasses of Muscadet alongside a feast of oysters, lobster and more.

L’Atlantide, Nantes

This Michelin-star seafood restaurant combines dishes that are bursting with flavour and stunning views over the Loire thanks to the enormous bay windows. A romantic setting, both at night and during the day.

 

Les Chants d’Avril, Nantes

Christophe François is an enthusiastic chef, offering a single menu that varies according to market availability. Using the best of local cuisine, the dishes are flavoursome and inspired.

Where to Drink

La Cave à Manger, Nantes

Packed from floor to ceiling with bottles, this is a great bar for wine lovers. The owner is an ex-sommelier and has a vast collection of regional French wines.  There is a selection of cheese and meat boards to soak up a long tasting session. Booking in advance recommended.

La Comédie des Vins, Nantes

A mix between a bistro and a wine bar, the list here is eclectic and they also hold wine tastings and classes if you are looking for a more informative experience. Recommended for all wine lovers, there are also cheese boards to die for.

Vacarme, Nantes

The Loire is fast gaining a reputation for its organic, biodynamic and natural wines and there is no better place to sample the wares than this modern bistro. Having learnt their trade in Paris, owners David and Sarah are an expert team in bringing you fantastic natural wines alongside fresh cafe fare.

 

Les Muscadetours

Les Muscadetours takes place every year over three days in early October. The finest chefs, pastry cooks and local producers have combined forces to offer you tastings to remember, in magical locations. Visit the Office du Tourisme du Vignoble de Nantes to book.

Things to Do

Clisson

With its ancient castle, Italian architecture and gardens along the Sèvre River, Clisson is reminiscent of a Tuscan city. If you can, set aside half a day to explore the covered market, bridge over the Sèvre River and castle grounds.

 

Pornic

The southernmost of the Breton ports, the high city wall encloses sailors’ houses, winding streets, the lower city and its port as well as villas and beaches. The town developed around the medieval historic centre and has gorgeous cliffs and white sandy coves to explore nearby.

Musée du Vignobles Nantais

The Museum of Nantes Vineyards is nestled in an architecturally-daring, half-buried building. The museum covers all wine producing stages from cultivating to bottling and has 500 objects on display to show how Muscadet wine is made.

Le Porte-Vue

Le Porte-Vue was designed by Emmanuel Ritz and stretches out above the Maine River, offering a panoramic view of the vineyards of Maisdon-sur-Sèvre. The arrow like construction stretches out towards the granite cliffs opposite, seeming to hover in mid-air.

Château du Coing

A beautiful, Italian-inspired château and winery in a stunning location at the confluence of the rivers Sèvre and Maine. There is a variety of tours and tastings available, including arriving from Vertou on canoes before enjoying a halfway break on land to taste through the range.

To place an order or for any questions.

If you have any questions or would like to place an order, please email us at info@departementwine.com or call us on +44 (0)117 915 4555.

For all trade enquires or to stock the range, please email - orders@vineyard-productions.com

Departement is made by the Vineyard Productions team.

A creative agency producing artisanal wines, focusing on the ancient & the indigenous.
Working in cellars around the world, our team of Masters of Wine and winemakers invest and collaborate with vineyard owners and winemaking teams to create artisanal wines that reflect place.

Place…Everything begins with ‘place’, a site that is unique and has a character of its own, with a story to tell. We are very human in our choices. We fall for beauty. Sun falling on the hills, gnarled ancient vines, old stone village walls, the faces of the people drinking coffee in the morning…we breathe in and inhale; the old vines burning in the fields, the Gitanes ‘sans filtres’ smoked with morning cognac, the fresh baked bread, the broken fruit, the grape juice fermenting in the cellars.

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