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What our expert thought of Château de Chasseloir, Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie

the tasting

The Tasting

Though this is a fairly pale lemon colour, it’s actually a little deeper than I was expecting from a Muscadet, making me wonder whether it might have seen some skin contact before fermentation.
The nose is subtle but fascinating.  At first there’s just a suggestion of iodine-y sea-spray, with no actual fruit.  But the wine is rather too cold, and as the glass demists that sea air is joined by the merest hint of stony citrus, as if someone has waved a lime over a salty rock.  Still it’s rather more of a feeling in my nostrils than an actual smell.  With a bit more air and warmth, perhaps that lime has been gently squeezed.  Warmer still and the lime is joined by a lemon, a hint of hay or straw, and a few delicately-scented white flowers, like daisies.  But it’s still mostly sea-spray.
That sense of delicacy carries through onto the palate.  Bone-dry and very fresh (though not sharp), it’s so lightbodied that it seems practically weightless.  The fine flavours are elusive ‐ mostly lemon on granite – yet there is a satisfying intensity to them and they build in the mouth.  There is some white pepper too, and a suggestion of celery salt.  It’s like pared-down Grüner Veltliner, stripped of its fruity scents and flavours.
Unusually, there seems to be more citrus flavour on the finish than on the palate.  It’s also really saline: after every mouthful I find myself licking my lips expecting to taste salt on them.  This is a bit like drinking tequila, lime and salt without the tequila… although now I’ve thought of it there perhaps is a hint of tequila in the spiciness of the finish.  And quite a lot of chalk.
For such a light wine this is remarkably long, and my mouth continues to water despite that chalky sensation for almost a minute.  There’s no need to rush back for another sip to remind myself what it tasted like.


I love backloaded wines like this.  How can a wine that starts off with such subtle scents and flavours be so satisfyingly intense and last so long?  That’s the miracle of Muscadet, at least when it’s done well: and this is the best one I’ve tried yet.  Apparently Château de Chasseloir make another, from vines over a century old, that’s supposed to be even better.  It’s a bit less cheap, though still under £20, and I can hardly wait to try it.  In the meantime I’ve bought rather a lot of this one…
Of course most Muscadet is fairly simple stuff, but the top wines from the best producers cost only a little more, and are more than worth it.  Twenty years ago, just after Muscadet’s fall from grace, Patrick Matthews wrote in his book, The Wild Bunch, “Cheap versions of wines that should be expensive are almost always disappointing.   Expensive versions of underrated ones are usually a revelation.”  It’s still true.  Only with Muscadet, even the expensive ones are cheap.

Tasting notes

clear pale lemon, though not very pale

Intensity light

Aromas mineral (sea-spray, iodine), stony citrus (lime, lemon), herbaceous (hay/straw), floral (low-scented white/blue flowers)

Development developing

Sweetness very dry

Acidity medium+

Body light

Intensity medium(+?), backloaded

Flavours stony citrus (lemon on granite), spice (white pepper), vegetal/mineral (celery salt)

Length long

Flavours mineral (saline, chalk), citrus (lime), spice (white pepper)
Other notes
Unoaked. Subtle but very fine. Tastes like pared-down GruV, stripped of the fruitiness. More flavour on finish than palate: like tequila, lime & salt without (most of the) tequila.

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