I like to check the weather. A lot. In fact, I'm a little obsessed. It started while I was working in Tahoe, where the Weather Channel is like porn for skiers, and carried over to my days working at Pax Wine Cellars, where the changes in weather could make or break the wines we were going to make. These days, I check the weather report to see what to cook for dinner and, more importantly, what wines to have on hand to drink with my meals.
According to Weather.com, California's heating up this weekend, finally, with summer making a cameo everywhere but San Francisco, where it might as well still be winter. (Sorry Cindy.) It's not going to be hot, but you probably won't need a scarf either. So I'm going to take the opportunity to bust out some Muscadet, one of my favorite warm-weather whites.
Muscadet, which is the local name for Melon de Bourgogne, is a white wine grape grown in France's Loire Valley, predominantly near the town of Nantes and not far from where the Loire River drains into the Atlantic. There are four appellations for Muscadet—Muscadet AC, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine AC, Muscadet des Coteaux de la Loire AC and Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu AC. The wines are generally light in alcohol, with bracing acidity, citrusy fruit and a touch of salinity that echoes the regions' proximity to the Brittany coast. The wines are refreshing on a hot day, and little goes better with the luxurious brininess of Hog Island oysters. I also love Muscadet with prosciutto and melon (or figs, if you can find some), and might just bring a bottle along to watch tonight's epic Perseid Meteor Shower.
Here are a couple of favorites:
2009 Michel Delhommeau "Harmonie" Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie ($12.99) Stony minerals, tangy citrus and a touch of savory herb and Mirabelle plum notes make this an incredibly intriguing Muscadet at an incredibly friendly price.
2008 Michel Delhommeau "Cuvee St. Vincent" Muscadet de de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie ($11.99) K&L San Francisco's John Majeski describes this best: "It's a hot, cloudless Sunday afternoon up in Tomales Bay, and you've managed to coerce a few dozen fresh pillowy Pacific oysters onto the ice but don't really wish to open that bottle of Tarlant "Zero" Extra Brut Champagne just yet….so luckily you've brought along a citrussy, lean and precisely clean Muscadet from the masterful Michel Delhommeau, one of our favorite producers from the pure, calcareous soils of Sevre et Maine. This high-acid beauty, with bone dry minerality and herbal-lemongrass-thyme notes, pairs magnificently with those glistening, seductively saline bivalves….nobody does it better…"
2009 Domaine de la Pépière Classique Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie ($12.99) Marc Olivier and Pierre Luneau are two of our favorite producers in this appellation, producing exceptional wines vintage after vintage and really upping the ante. Their 2009 is rich and leesy, with intense lemon and orange fruit complemented by powerful minerality. Taste this side by side with a comparably-priced Chablis, and you'll be blown away at the texture and grace.
For more Muscadets, visit our website at KLWines.com.