A wine for beer lovers.

By: Lauren Voigt

Over the next few months, I’ll be exploring a new wine each week as part of “Wine of the week” class assignment for the Wine Professional course I’m currently enrolled in at Saint Paul College. JOIN ME! And if you’ve tried it — let me know what you think of this variety in the comments below.


It’s good to be pushed outside my comfort zone.  Like, when you have to go into the wine shop and ask for something I can’t pronounce (because I couldn’t find it myself). Or in my case, write it down on a post-it and hand it to the clerk looking perplexed. “I’m looking for this.”

Loire Valley. Muscadet Severe et Main. “Melon de Bourgogne”  is what was I wrote on my post-it for this week’s “Wine of the week” homework .  Fortunately I didn’t have to pronounce it, and was able to find it easily myself.

Lets break down these words and then I’ll tell you about the wine:

The Loire Valley is an area of France, flanking — appropriately enough, the Loire River, which runs east to West, into the Atlantic.  Cool weather here, a typical attribute of the wines is high acidity.  Muscadet is a more specific appellation within the Loire Valley, known for dry white wines made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape variety. Muscadet Sevre et Maine is an even more specific area within Muscadet, producing the highest quality Muscadet wines in a specific style, “sur lie” (we’ll tackle what this means later).   So, all these words, pinpoint where our wine this week comes from, getting more specific as we go here: France – Loire Valley – Muscadet – Muscadet Sevre et Maine.

Now that we’ve got that snooze fest out of the way…

So, what what makes it a “beer wine”?

Getting back to the style of “sur lie”, it means the wine was aged on the spent yeast particles after it finished fermenting. This can lend a yeasty flavor, and also soften the texture (remember how I said the wines from this area are highly acidic?). So, is this really a ‘beer wine’ well, no, probably not. That was click bait (and something I read as I was researching the wine). And honestly, there isn’t a beer that’s very wine-like either, is there?  But, the flavor dimensions imparted by the process of sur-lie can certainly could be of intrigue to beer aficionados!

Aging sur lie is also common in Champagne for at least one (to several) years, and also in Chardonnay.  I also know some Minnesota winemakers experimenting with the process for La Crescent, a fantastic way to soften the bite of our acidic, cold-hardy wines! A Muscadet Sevre et Main is commonly aged 6-9 months, but could be up to several years (rule of thumb: the higher the price, the longer the aging).

ZING!

I pulled this one from my fridge to warm up about 20 minutes before serving, and found it to be a touch sharp on the mouth, and bitter. It hit its peak around an hour, when it started to feel and taste rather creamy. Sadly, about the time it got really good, the bottle was empty (don’t worry, I was sharing with my husband!). I’m learning how much Serving temperature does matter. Particularly, with a high acid wine — the colder its served, the sharper it can feel. I’m thinking I need to invest in a thermometer because the cork dork in me gets a bit curious about precisely what temp it was really good!

2015 Domaine des Cognettes Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie Selection des Cognettes, Loire, France
~$10, Thomas Liquor in Saint Paul


What do you think of Muscadet and what wine thermometer should I get?

Let me know what you think in the comments!

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