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Crus du Muscadet

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Production Specifications for AOP Muscadet Sèvre et Maine

The Crus Communaux sit on the top rung of the Muscadet quality ladder. Clisson, Gorges, Le Pallet, Goulaine, Château Thébaud, Monnières Saint-Fiacre and Mouzillon-Tillières are already crus, awarded cru communal status on the basis of their geology, soil composition, potential flavour profile and a strict set of production rules. Regulations include a yield limit of 45 hl per hectare, minimum vine age of 6 years, and good levels of crop ripeness with at least 11-12% potential alcohol. Wines must be matured on their lees for a minimum of 18-24 months.

The regulations were formulated in the 1990s and put into practice after 2001, and are seen as a way of translating superior natural conditions into a tangible product. “I used to watch my parents vinify and bottle this particular parcel separately, now it’s been approved as a cru,” says one Le Pallet winemaker.

The Muscadet Communal Crus are ready to drink straight after bottling, but extended lees-aging gives them added complexity and they will happily spend 10 years or more in the cellar.

3 more crus – La Haye-Fouassière, Vallet and Champtoceaux – were recently approved as Muscadet crus.

MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE CLISSON
AOP/AOC by decree dated 9th November 2011.
Location: Clisson and the southern part of Sèvre et Maine.
This “Mini-Venice” lies along a fault line in the granite of the Armorican Massif. Soils are a mix of gravel and rounded pebbles, giving good drainage and encouraging vines to root deeply. Wines made here call for extended aging of at least 24 months while they develop powerful flavors of candied fruit, dried fruit, and quince.

MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE GORGES
AOP/AOC by decree dated 9th November 2011.
Location: Primarily in and around Gorges.
The Gorges appellation straddles both sides of the Sèvre, with vines growing in altered gabbros and clay/quartz soils. This was the first of the Muscadet crus to win official recognition. Its wines need a good two years’ lees aging to develop their full potential; they then show good length and focused intensity, flavors of menthol and citrus, and a classic Muscadet touch of stone and smokiness.

MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE LE PALLET
AOP/AOC by decree dated 9th November 2011.
Location: Primarily Le Pallet. The Le Pallet vineyards extend down the right bank of the Sèvre, in a terroir where the weather is enviably warm and grapes ripen early. Soils are shallow and extremely stony, on a subsoil of gneiss (metamorphic rock) and partly altered gabbros. Le Pallet wines are matured for at least 18 months, developing fruity flavors and an unctuous smoothness.

MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE GOULAINE
Officially recognised by INAO on 19th June 2019.
Location: In and around the Goulaine wetlands.
Both the topography and climate of this area are quite unique. The vineyards are planted on slopes overlooking the dips and hollows of the Goulaine wetlands, with moderately deep, mainly sandy soils over siliceous metamorphic rock, including gneiss and mica schist. The wines are beautifully balanced, with honeyed flavors of fresh, ripe fruit and dried fruits and a delightfully taut finish. They are lees-aged for between 20 and 30 months.

MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE CHÂTEAU THÉBAUD
Officially recognised by INAO on 19th June 2019
Location: Around Château-Thébaud.
The sloping vineyards of the Château Thébaud appellation trace a curve around the river Maine, then continue along the left banks of the Maine and Sèvre. Soils are shallow and sandy (also stony in places), over a subsoil of granodiorite (calc-alkaline granite) and gneiss. Its wines show flavors of fennel, licorice, and aniseed; full of finesse, and taut with a fresh, briny finish. They are matured on their lees for 36 – 48 months.

MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE MONNIÈRES SAINT FIACRE
Officially recognised by INAO on 19th June 2019
Location: In and around the villages of Monnières and Saint Fiacre.
The appellation vineyards are planted towards the centre of the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine area, along the left bank of the Sèvre. The ground here is mostly sloping, and soils are moderately deep, fine silty sand, while soils on alterite (decomposed gneiss) show more evidence of clay. Wines are creamy and full-bodied with a refreshing edge of bitterness, scents of citrus and tropical fruit and a smooth, honeyed waxiness.

MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE MOUZILLON TILLIÈRES
Officially recognised by INAO on 19th June 2019
Location: In and around Mouzillon and Tillières.
The appellation area for this cru lies in the eastern part of Sèvre et Maine, hugging the banks of the Sanguèze, its vineyards rising up from the hillsides like a series of little islands. Soils are moderately deep and rest on altered coarse-grained gabbros known locally as “chappe.” The wines show a distinctive complexity of flavor, featuring notes of citrus zest, thyme, poached pears and baking spices, which broaden and develop with age. The structure is nicely taut with an appealing touch of bitterness.