Domaine de la Chauvinière, Loire


Jeremie Huchet

Muscadet, the Fabulous Oyster Wine

Melon de Bourgogne is a variety of white grape grown in the Loire Valley region of France and best known through its use in the wine Muscadet. As its name suggests, the grape originated in Burgundy and was grown there until its destruction was ordered in the early 18th century. In the vineyards around Nantes, however, the harsh winter of 1709 destroyed so many vines that a new variety was needed, and the Melon grape was introduced. Melon is distinguished by its great resistance to frost. Since then it has been used solely in the production of the light dry white wine Muscadet, made entirely from the Melon grape.

The grape is so associated with this popular appellation of the western Loire that the grape itself is often known as Muscadet. In terms of flavour it is an undistinguished grape with few strong features. The Huchet family of Domaine de la Chauvinière had been one of the best producers of Muscadet for generations. The cellars of the Domaine occupy an excellent site, on a height overlooking the valley of the Maine River. At a time in their long history, they were used as a rest house by the missionaries. This religious living included vines and a mill. Muscadet Sèvre et Maine has been matured in oak casks for many generations in the caves of this monastery. Jeremie Huchet now manages 38 hectares of Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie, most of which lies in the near vicinity of the Domaine. Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie Sélection du Grand Moulin, is produced from vines surrounding a wind mill on granite soil. It is characteristic for its slightly later maturity, resulting in an ample and harmonious finish. This wine is a great Aperitif and fabulous with shell-fish, fish, any kind of seafood, especially with fresh oysters.