When at its best, muscadet, made from the grape variety Melon de Bourgogne, is the perfect foil for seafood and shellfish – with its complex citrus and white flower aromas and full, crisp palate.
The grape is virtually unique to the Loire Valley in France where, grown not far from the Atlantic coast, it captures briney maritime influences swept in by the ocean breezes.
One of the most significant growers of the variety is Sauvion based at Château du Cléray, near the town of Vallet. Ernest Sauvion who founded the operation in 1935, was intent on expressing the virtues of the grape and dispelling its poor image which had arisen thanks to the multitude of dull, watery wines from lesser producers.
Today, Sauvion is run by Ernest’s great grandson, Pierre-Jean Sauvion, who continues to spare no effort in producing wines of quality and interest. There are two cracking expressions of muscadet under the Château du Cléray label including Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie Blanc and Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Vallet. There is also a worthwhile Vouvray, an IGP Val De Loire Sauvignon and a trio of cabernet francs from Anjou and Chinon.
The wines are sold mainly in restaurants and through specialist wine outlets.