Thursday, 31 July 2014
Fine 2012 Muscadet from Eric Chevalier – dare I say mineral!
The back label
Eric also makes good Pinot Noir
Eric Chevalier is probably best known for his Fie Gris (Sauvignon Rosé)* but this fine 2012 La Noë Muscadet Côtes de Grand Lieu Sur Lie is a reminder that Eric also makes very good Muscadet. This 2012 is lightly golden with considerable weight, very clean and precise and a lovely mineral character. Yes 'mineral' character!
I'm aware that some 'flavour führers' have cast doubt on using 'mineral' as a descriptor on the grounds that science suggests that roots are 'merely supplying water and dissolved mineral ions' as Jamie Goode explains in his fine new edition of Wine Science. Jamie does wonder whether science isn't missing something here:
'That underlying geology impacts wine so strongly is undoubted. The cost differential between a grand cru Burgundy and a lowly generic Bourgogne, or even a respectable village level wine, is such that there is a significant financial incentive for winegrowers to do all they can to improve the quality of their wine. But even where great care is taken in the vineyard, yields are dropped and the highest level of winemaking is practiced, there seems to be a quality ceiling that is imposed by the vineyard.
So we have a dilemma to solve: how is it that soils seem to be so important for wine quality, when science indicates that they are only playing a limited role in influencing the flavour of grapes?' Jamie Goode, Wine Science – Soils and vines
What I think is important here is that mineral best describes the character of what I am tasting. I could use grapefruit, perhaps, but that doesn't encompass the full flavour. So I'm opting for 'mineral' here and will continue to do so.
The Sandeman figure in their cellars@Vila Nova de Gaia
During our recent visit to Porto we took a consumer visit through the Sandeman cellars. It was fascinating listening to and watching the reaction of the people of the visit. In particular one question: "Wine is often described by citing fruits – strawberry, cherries etc. do you add these to the wine?"
The answer is no – any fruit extracts used are added illegally. But the interesting thing is that the person who asked the question was no fool and thought it perfectly possible that these fruits were added to wine hence the use of these descriptors to evoke the taste wines.
*PS: Actually it is hardly surprising that Eric is known for his fie gris as this variety is incorporated in his website's url.