Haven't posted about a white wine in a while. I used to really not enjoy white wine.
I thought they all just tasted... blegh.
But then I discovered I was just drinking "blegh" white wines, but I actually LOVE SO MANY white wines... maybe even more than red wines these days.
Anyway, I digress. Back to the task at hand, which is figuring out what is staring at me in my glass...
Okay. Now, whatever this is, I LOVE IT. So interesting. Just crisp, bright. A little bitter. One flavor note that I MISSED is a briny, mineral note. I seem to think anything that isn't fruit or spice is "grass" so I'm picking up on the fact that there is something else going on besides fruit, but I'm still not good at being able to identify those non-fruit smells.
Luckily, I'm not the only one.
Actually, americans are better at berries and similar sorts of fruit (since this is what we are familiar with). Meanwhile, cassis, which is more typical (even a candy flavor) in Europe is something that those without much exposure to need to practice picking out...
In fact, check out The Crush, a fabulous podcast that is as much fun as it is informative. If you want to have fun and learn about wine on your commute or during a workout, give it a listen. (I like some others too, that I'll get around to mentioning). Anyway, these ladies discuss the problem with tasting notes in general... And one of the most famous wine-industry folk, Jancis Robinson, Master of Wine, has a lovely article about, "Sniffing stones and other tasting notes." Check it out.
In sum, the only way I'm going to get better at picking out chalk and other funky flavors is to practice... and actually go around sniffing and tasting such funky things. Elizabeth, from WineForNormalPeople, has admitted to licking golfclubs... (and the husband and I followed her advice and started sniffing spices from our spice rack, which is way more fun than it sounds).
So, based on my notes of clear, light bodied, bright, highly acidic, citrus notes, mostly lemon & lime, maybe a hint of something tropical, and briny minerality, what do you think it is?
I really didnt know what to do with it...
Especially sine I thought it was a little grassy, I went with Sauvigon Blanc, from Bordeaux (which I don't think is a crazy guess...right?)
They DO make white wine in Bordeaux, and it can be a blend of three grapes: Semillion, Muscadelle, and Sauvignon Blanc.
I was thinking this was a mostly Sauvignon Blanc based wine... because Sauv Blanc is highly acidic (read: TART!), lighter in body, and can have citrus and tropical notes. The other two grapes, Semillion an Muscadelle add some body (creaminess) and make it a little less "tart" or acidic... So I wasn't 100% sure. I was correct, since it really didn't taste like the white Bordeaux I've had before...
...but I didn't know what else to do! I just knew it was too "restrained" or not "IN YOUR FACE" like a new world wine would be. It had to be from somewhere cool and something young! It was just so fresh! And happy! And yummy!
But WHAT is Muscadet you ask?
Oh - you want to know more?
Muscadet is a white wine from MUSCADET, France, BUT it is made from a grape called Melon de Bourgogne.
It is the same funny thing those silly, silly people do by naming wines after a place and not by the grape.*
Muscadet is on the coast, on the Western-most part of the Loire Valley (basically, Muscadet is a smaller part of the a large appellation of the Loire Valley. You can think of it like how the Russian River Valley is just a small part of Sonoma).
*Actually, I tease, but there are several good reasons why they name wines for the place in which they were made...I have a blog-post in the works breaking down the French wine regions in there specific grapes...
NOTE: MUSCADET does not equal MUSCAT! (Muscat is actually a grape, the grape used to make Moscato d' Asti!) You'll be disappointed if you are expecting a semi-sweet or grapey wine, and you pick up a bottle of Muscadet - which has a piercing acidity and is not sweet at all! Still lovely, just a very different style.
So, in general, what are the tasting notes for MUSCADET? What should you expect?
According to our friends at Corkbuzz:
The wine smells and tastes like liquefied rocks poured over salty-briny oyster shells and garnished with a lemon twist. Because of long aging on its lees** (the spent yeast after fermentation) before bottling, the light- to medium-bodied wines take on a creamy kind of texture even while maintaining serious acidity. Grab a couple bottles to drink while watching the waves crash on the beach this weekend, and you’ll feel as if you’re in the Nantais region.
** One thing, is that this wine was not very "creamy" to me... even though it is "sur lee" - which means it sat around with the dead yeast cells for a while. I looked this up, and I'm not sure it is becasuse this wine is so young (2011 - maybe it needed time to evolve in the bottle... wines do that... which still blows my mind...) OR it could be that the regulations to put "sur lee" on the bottle have a wide range (from 4 months - 10 months). So maybe this wine did not chill out with the dead yeast cells as long as is typical?
It seems frivilous, but it might actually come in handy later to know if I want the wine to be creamier, I shouldn't get such a young bottle... OR if there is a way to know how long it was sur lee. OR, you know... I could have just been wrong.
If you know the answer, help out in the comments!
Take home message: If you're getting oysters or other light seafood, this wine should be one of your top picks.
(Did I say, delicious yet?)