Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Friday, 20 November 2009

What's Oz Clarke got against Muscadet?

I was recently sent a review copy of Oz Clarke's new book: 'Let me tell you about wine' - a beginner's guide to understanding and enjoying wine (Anova Books £14.99).

I was surprised that, in the short section on the Loire, Oz dismisses Muscadet both for flavour and value. 'One more important grape is Muscadet, grown around Nantes at the mouth of the Loire and used for neutral-tasting dry wine of the same name. (P122). 'Muscadet is overpriced for its quality.' (P123).

Of course it is difficult to give any nuanced opinions in a book on the whole of wine in 192 pages with plenty of photos but I do think that Oz has been very harsh on Muscadet and, perhaps, not recognised the improvements in quality that have been made over the last dozen years or so. True Muscadet is not a strident wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Gewurtraminer but it does have flavours including floral, citric notes, mineral. It is a marvellous match with many kinds of fish. Also in many instances it offers remarkable value for money.

To test Oz's assertion that 'Muscadet is overpriced for its quality' I opened a bottle of 2005 Comte Leloup du Château de Chasseloir, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine from Bernard Chereau. It had some considerable weight from the ripe vintage, bready and citric notes with a definite sur lie prickle in the mineral finish. All in all a delicious drink that went very well with my seafood pasta. One of those bottles that seemed to empty itself effortlessly.

2005 Comte Leloup

The Comte Leloup comes from vines over 100 years old at Chasseloir and the 2005 is available from Frank Stainton Wines priced at £9.50. For its quality and to enjoy a top Muscadet this seems to me very reasonably priced.

More evidence of quality and value from Muscadet's can be found here with the 2003 Le Clos du Pont from Pascal Guilbaud enjoyed at the tasting I attended in Paris on 22nd October.


Finkus Bripp said...

I find it a pity that statements such as these are even made in wine books made for those just discovering wine. They have no place whatsoever in my opinion. It's the typical bullshit of one person trying to steer others towards their own personal preferences.

You either tell it like it is - everyone has different tastes and yes, even if you like a wine which isn't "on the map" or isn't a PGC, more power to you. Because in the end, it's your hard earned money purchasing whichever wine you choose and prefer.

Man, am I glad the world of wine is slowly but surely changing... and yes, for the better!!! Let's take the snob out of the wine.

"Take me home to Aunt Em!"

Jim's Loire said...

Thanks Finkus. I think it is entirely fair for Oz to be giving people pointers but I agree with you that he shouldn't be so damning.

Bob Rossi said...

I am a fan of Muscadet, particularly with the right kind of food. And here in the US, there are a number of outstanding Muscadets in the $10-15 price range. Marc Ollivier's come to mind (imprted by Louis/Dressner), and a Delhommeau imported by John-David Headrick.

Jim's Loire said...

I agree Bob. A number of good Muscadets about and they are such good food wines.

The Wine Mule said...

Oz obviously hasn't tasted any of the wines of Guy Bossard.

Weston said...

Muscadet is perfect with pairing with Fresh Raw Fish like a Ahi Tuna

Anonymous said...

I can only agree with what everyone has said here so far. Here in Alberta, we have a whole stable of wines from Chereau-Carre family, Pepiere, Luneau-Papin and many under $20.
Sure the wines do not sell in big nunmbers but those that know their wine sure recognise a good thing.
Then it is just plain hand-selling!

Alberta Bob "Hooked on Muscadet".

Jim's Loire said...

Thanks for your messages – Wine Mule, Weston and Bob. I would havew thought Oz had tasted the Muscadets of Bossard. I'm rather surprised as I respect Oz.

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling that if Oz worked for a newspaper, his desk would be overflowing with bottles of Muscadet donated by many (more) finely-tuned drinkers!!

Jim's Loire said...

Perhaps they should send them to Anova Books!