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Details for Château de Chasseloir, Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie


CountryFrance
Region
AppellationMuscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie
Grape
Melon de Bourgogne
(click to find out more)
Year2014
Producer
Chéreau Carré
(click to find out more)
ABV12%


Loire

An enormous chunk of north eastern France is occupied by the Loire Valley. A diverse range of styles are produced along its length, but it is best known for its white wines.

Loire wines are known for being fruit forward and not having much oak influence. Being so far north there are limits to how much red grapes can ripen well here, although rosé and red wines are not uncommon.

Starting in the west, just inland from the Atlantic coast in the cool and wet Pays Nantais, the most famous wine is Muscadet (especially de Sèvre et Maine), made from the unique-to-the-region Mélon de Bourgogne grape. It’s designed to be a wine for early drinking and refreshment, and is a fantastic match with seafood. The best Muscadets are aged and bottled sur lie, where the light wine of the Mélon is given extra depth and character by resting for a period on the wine’s lees.

Moving inwards we come to the second of the Loire’s four sub-regions, Anjou-Saumur, which has a mild climate and reasonable rainfall. Anjou is especially revered for sweet whites such as Quarts de Chaume and Bonnezeaux, while Saumur is more focused on the production of sparkling wine made from Chenin Blanc and occasionally Chardonnay too.

Touraine is most famous for Vouvray, Chinon and Bourgueil. Vouvray can be anything from dry to very sweet (check the label carefully) and is made from the white grape Chenin Blanc, whereas Chinon and Bourgueil produce light-to-medium-weight red wines from Cabernet Franc. Touraine also produces quantities of very good value Sauvignon Blanc.

Loire’s most famous wine names come from the region furthest inland - the Upper Loire. Here pure, crisp and mineral Sauvignon Blancs are crafted in Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre, two AOCs that face each other across the Loire river.


Chéreau Carré

Acknowledged as one of the half-dozen or so best producers in Muscadet, family-run Chéreau Carré own four properties: Château de Chasseloir, Château de l’Oiselinière, Château de la Chesnaie and Domaine du Bois Bruley.
 
Ch. de Chasseloir was the first, bought by Bernard Chéreau in 1953.  A famous old estate on the River Maine, the cháteau itself was mostly destroyed in the Revoloution but one 15th century tower remains, along with its historic cellar and famed plot of century-old vines (the oldest in Muscadet).  Ch. de l’Oiselinière (the “owl’s nest”) was added in 1960 when Bernard married its heir, Mademoiselle Edmonde Carré. Its 10 hectares occupy a sunny hilltop above the confluence of the Sèvre and Maine rivers.
 
Today the house of Chéreau-Carré is run by their son, also called Bernard, and his daughter Louise.  All four estates are farmed according to principles of lutte raisonée, an approach which seeks to minimise the use of chemicals in the vineyard.

about this wine About this wine


Château de Chasseloir lies in the village of Saint-Fiacre-sur-Maine, in the heart of the Muscadet du Sèvre et Maine AOC. It’s one of the oldest and most prestigious estates in the appellation.  In the best vintages they produce a couple of special cuvées in small quantities, but otherwise this is their top wine.  It comes from 20 hectares of 40-year-old vines planted on south-facing slopes above the river.
 
2014 vies with 2012 as the best Muscadet vintage this century, standouts amidst a remarkable run of good vintages for such a northerly, rainy region; since 2008 only 2011 has been bad.  Most Muscadet is machine-harvested, but this was picked entirely by hand to avoid damaging the fruit, which would induce oxidation.  Some of the top producers say that machine-picking is why most Muscadet needs to be drunk young, while the best, hand-picked wines can age for decades.
 
Fermentation took place in temperature-controlled vats, followed by seven months lees-aging with bâttonage, stirring of the lees.  The wine was bottled “sur lie” ‐ straight off the lees without any racking, to minimise exposure to the air.
 
Long lees-aging is the distinctive feature of Muscadet, giving an otherwise light and neutral wine some mineral weight, extra complexity and the ability to age.  The Wine Folly website has a nice explanation of lees-aging here ‐ and they even use this wine as an example!


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