Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Muscadet, one of France’s dry white commodity wines currently undergoing revolution while trying to survive. The Muscadet region extends mainly south east of Nantes near the mouth of the Loire on a shrinking total vineyard area of about 12,000 ha/29,600 acres of gently rolling, Atlantic-dominated countryside where hundreds of wine farmers maintain family vine holdings, increasingly consolidated and devoted to one grape variety. The white melon de Bourgogne, a reliable but relatively neutral variety, was introduced to the region in the 17th century by the dutch wine trade, who were in need of distilling material for their brandewijn and had the means to transport it. The terrible winter of 1709 killed a high proportion of the red wine grapes previously grown here and transformed it into a predominantly white wine region.