Martin Sinkoff
Martin Sinkoff

Wine of the Week: Bonnet-Huteau Muscadet ‘Dabinieres’ 2020 (Loire, white)

Bonnet-Huteau Muscadet sur lie "les Dabinieres" 2020. Image courtesy Uri Caftory.

France is a country defined, in part, by its beautiful rivers.  And each river is associated with a city, a culture a place or places and each has been celebrated by singers, writers and painters.

A view of Rouen by Claude Monet, 1892. Musee des Beaux Arts de Rouen in the public domain.

The Seine is Paris but it is also the great cathedral city of Rouen and the gritty port of Le Havre.  The Garonne is Bordeaux but it is also the great “ville rose” Toulouse and Agen. The Dordogne is Libourne (and Pomerol) but it is also the great gastronomic centers of “la France profonde” the Auvergne and Périgord regions of France.  The Rhine is Strasbourg but it is also the contested border and shared culture of Eastern France (Alsace), Germany and the Netherlands.

The length of the Loire, Public domain from the French National Geographic Institute.

The Loire stands above and apart from of these.  It is not associated with any one city but with many.  It is not associated with any one region but with France itself.  It is the longest river in France but, much more, it is the soul of France.

The Loire river basin with all of its tributaries. In the public domain with thanks to Wikimedia.

The Loire and its many tributaries nourish fully one-fifth of France itself. It is at once a mountain stream, a majestic and beautiful river and an important estuary.  The river rises in the high plateau of the “massif central” and flows through Nevers, Orleans, Tours and gives its life to the Atlantic Ocean in Nantes (and next-door) St Nazaire.  Along its way it nourishes vineyards of all kinds, continental and Atlantic.  Among it’s most unique vineyards are the ocean-informed vineyards of Muscadet near the beautiful city of Nantes.

Muscadet was more popular years ago than Sancerre, Chablis, Pouilly Fuisse or Pouilly Fume (not to be confused with the former).  It has fallen from fashion. But, as the fashion spotlight has moved from Muscadet it has allowed the growers there to concentrate on quality not on fashion and the results today can be stunning.  A perfect illustration is the superb Muscadet “Les Dabinières” sur lie 2020 by Bonnet-Huteau, a 150-year old family estate.

The logo of Uri Caftory, Importer. Thanks to Uri Caftory.

Grown with full respect to nature (biodynamics) and vinified traditionally (some of the wines are vinified in amphorae) from the region’s unique Melon de Bourgogne  grape variety ((confusingly named as are many grape varieties), the wine is a laser-focused white with a wonderful grapefruit and sage aroma and flavor.  No simple wine, this! Totally delicious and perfect in summertime with seafood and fish or all kinds.  In Israel, the wine is imported by the brilliant Uri Caftory.

Domaine Bonnet-Huteau Muscadet (Sevre et Maine) sur lie, “Les Dabinieres” 2020 is available in limited quantities in many markets for $20.00 or less in equivalent currencies.    The wine is not certified Kosher.

About the Author
Martin Sinkoff made Aliyah to Israel and moved from New York to Tel Aviv in 2019. Sinkoff has had a long and successful career in the wine trade in the United States and France. He has lived in many places in the United States, including twenty years in Dallas, Texas, and many places in France. Martin moved to Israel from Manhattan (where he was born). He is a past president of Ansche Chesed in New York and a very active member of Kehilat Sinai in Tel Aviv. You can read more about him on his website and of course here at Times of Israel. The background photograph is a view of vineyards in the Judean Hills wine growing district of Israel, one of Israel's best appellations.
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