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.
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 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 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.
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.