What We Say 2003 Le Clos de la Fevrie
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Mission Codename: Operation Muscadet
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Unlock the secrets of this popular French wine
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Domaine Du Fay D’Homme
Wine Subject: Le Clos de la Févrie
Winemaker: Vincent Caillé
The French consume more than 100,000,000 bottles of this delicious dry white wine varietal each year. To find out why, I was dispatched to the western end of the Loire Valley in France. This fabled wine growing region is situated near the city of Nantes in the Brittany Region.
Made from Melon de Bourgogne grapes, more Muscadet (sometimes refered to locally simply as Melon, is produced in the Loire Valley than any other wine.
Historically, Muscadet wines are made from late harvest fruit. This is less true today, but one tradition remains; Muscadet wines are made in the sur lie style, which means that they are allowed to ferment with their yeasts for the duration of the winemaking process. This gives the wines a dry finish, more character and the slight fizz you feel, due to the elevated carbon dioxide in the wine.
This is a varietal that can be served alone as an Apéritif or paired different foods. See below for my pairing advice.
On arrival in Paris, I was whisked by private jet to the Loire Valley. From the air, it is easy to see why this famous region is sometimes referred to as The garden of France. The countryside is lush and green, with nearly 125,000 acres of vineyards. Interspersed among them are small farms, towns and the occasionally castle. Outside of the Champagne region (the only place that real Champagne can come from), the Loire Valley is the largest wine producing region of France.
Once on the ground at Tours Val de Loire Airport, my guide gave me my legend along with identity papers, a pencil-thin fake moustache and instructions to smile and nod a lot, despite my fluency in the native tongue. I was to play the part of Gilbert Toddsen, the wealthy owner of a chain of US Supermarkets.
Our tour took us to some beautiful Domaines (vineyards) where I politely followed along as my guide introduced me to winemakers around the valley. We tasted some superb examples of Muscadet and it was not until I arrived at the vineyards of Le Fay D’Homme, where I met winemaker Vincent Caillé and tried his Muscadet wines, that I really understood Muscadet.
Vincent’s family have been making wines here for 5 generations and in 1986 when Vincent took over the management of the domaine, he brought with him a special philosophy about winemaking. In French, I overheard him telling my guide, “To make great wine, you need a certain kind of vision. You need to be a dreamer”. This vision comes through loud and clear in his wines, which have the feeling of being deeply cared for from vine to bottle. His wines are superb and delicious. In my best bad-French accent, I told him I loved his wines. He took my hand he gave a slight bow as he shook it.
Before my departure, I managed – with the help of my guide – to procure several cases for our Operatives. These are available today only so be sure to circulate this briefing to other Operatives. As always, remember to circulate to new recruits as well.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Lightest brilliant gold
Smell – Floral with aromatics of freshly cut hay, subtle sandalwood and citrus fruits
Feel – Zingy on the tip of the tongue at first, giving way to an all over mouth dryness and even a unique sensation in the roof of the mouth
Taste – fresh, balanced and round, supported by ripe white fruit and great minerality; very tasty
Finish – Long and lingering with a big mouth feel that lasts
Conclusion – Its easy to see why the French love Muscadet, and this particular one from Vincent Caillé is a fine example. Great as a table wine or for a summer afternoon, this wine has great structure and complexity, with enough acidity to hold up to complex food pairings.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The Vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo
Pairing: A fantastic wine to enjoy on its own or with fish, shellfish (especially oysters) or even pork and chicken
Wine Spies Technical Wine Analysis
100% Melon de Bourgogne
What the Winery Says
Domaine Du Fay D’Homme
A beautiful and complex wine, allowed to sit on the lees for an extended time, coming from the best producing region for Muscadet, Sevre et Maine.
The French crisp, mineral yet fruity white made of 100% Melon de Bourgogne is the perfect choice to go with seafood. It is also an ideal accompaniment to spicy Asian dishes.