July 12, 2006

Pierre Luneau-Papin 2004 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie Vieilles Vignes Clos des Allées, about $12

With Bastille Day approaching and the mercury rising, Muscadet is terrifically tempting.
Grown in the Loire Valley in northwest France, the best versions are as bracing as the water in the nearby Atlantic, with sheer, lean fruit flavors over cool, stony minerality. It's no wonder the wines feel like natural companions to oysters or anything else from the sea.
Muscadet rarely gets its due, partly because other Loire appellations like Sancerre steal the thunder, but also because the Muscadet region produces a lot of plonk.
That's changing, inspired by wineries such as Luneau-Papin, which is putting out wines that capture the region's climate and soils in vivid mineral flavors. Take Clos des Allées, for example: At $12, you can buy enough to drink now and tuck some in the cellar, where it will become more complex with every year.

This review first appeared in the Denver Post.

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