Muscadet is one of those wines that most people have heard of, but that not many know much about. It's a wine that doesn't get the respect I think it deserves. I've had some great Muscadets and visited the appellation, though, so I'm rather positively biased towards. The reason most Muscadet tends to be over looked is because there's so much that's mass produced to be simple, inoffensive, and lack character. Luneau Papin's "Pierre de la Grange is not one of those Muscadets. In fact after re-tasting it I'm comfortable saying this is the best Muscadet I've ever had!
Muscadet is a wine that should play particularly well in Maine. It comes from the Atlantic coast of France where the Loire river hits the ocean. As a result the local cuisine is very heavy on seafood like oysters, mussels, flounder, and mackerel; Muscadet has evolved to be perfect with those seafoods. Since Maine is also on the north Atlantic Muscadet is just as perfect with the seafood we're famous for. I can't imagine a better wine for mussels or oysters than this.
Pierre Marie Luneau is the 9th generation of his family to head the domaine. They are a larger estate with over 100 acres, but that land is broken up into different holdings and Pierre Marie makes wines from them separately to preserve the land's character. Another factor explaining this wines unusual awesomeness is that Luneau Papin's vines are on the older side, averaging 40 years old with some as old as 65.
Aroma: Luneau Papin's Muscadet smells gorgeous! It's got a good combo of ripe fruits and aromatic flowers. I clearly smell white peach, rose, grannysmith apple, and sweet white flowers like vibernum. The aroma is so vital and zingy smelling that you immediately know the wine is going to be lively and grab you. The aroma is classic Muscadet, but the Pierre de la Grange has them more strongly than any other Muscadet I've tasted. That's what lower yields and a focus on preserving terroir will do.
Taste: Yes, the Luneau Papin is just what you'd expect and anticipate from the aroma. It opens with a mouth watering lemon limey fruit, building up to a mid-pallet that has just a hint of a prickly effervescence, And then this briney salty minerality sneaks in that really reminds me of the ocean. The body and texture are so much more refined and confidant than I expect from Muscadet; it's delicious. The Muscadet lingers on with an elegant sort of a green apple flavor. Again, this is classic Muscadet, but the flavors are so much more developed than in normal simpler Muscadet. It's clear why Luneau Papin is considered one of the top producers in Muscadet and I'm glad to have this wine in Maine. It should change a lot of people's opinion of Muscadet!
About $15 retail and available at Rosemont Munjoy Hill, Rosemont Brighton Ave, Rosemont Yarmouth, Old Port Wine Merchant, Bier Cellar, The Cheese Iron, and Flock and Vine