The Wine List: grape #26 – Melon de Bourgogne

The Wine List, the retirement project to sample wine made from all of the main grape varieties listed in Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book, heads into the Loire Valley.

DSC00294The wine: Domaine Gadais Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie 2014 (Laithwaite’s). Originally operating as a small mixed farm, Louis Gadais began selling his wines directly in bottles in 1952. He was joined by his sons Marcel and Michel in 1959; the brothers expanded the vineyard in the 1990s. Today the winery is run by the third generation, Christophe Gadais. ‘Sur lie’ refers to the process of allowing the wine to age for a time on the lees (deposits of dead yeast or residual yeast and other particles that precipitate to the bottom of a vat of wine after fermentation and ageing.) This adds aroma and taste.

Alc Vol: 12%. Quite low, making it ideal for summer daytime drinking.

HJ says: “Makes light, refreshing, very dry wines with a seaside tang around Nantes in Brittany.”

The label says: A personal message from Christophe: “The Melon de Bourgogne grapes come from the same western Loire vineyards and the wines all mature on the lees before bottling sur lie to leave the light natural spritz that makes our wines so refreshing.”

Food combination: Christophe again: “At home we drink this cool as an aperitif or with just about anything from oysters and salmon to chicken and salads.” We drank it with a traditional roast chicken dinner. On reflection, it was probably too light for the food; a chardonnay would have been a better choice.

Did we like it? For once, this wine scored better with my wife than with me. But we agreed that it was very refreshing, with good acidity.

One for the wine rack? When summer eventually arrives in Wales (unpredictable and usually all too fleeting) then this would be welcome alongside the Beaujolais and other light reds.

It’s not about the wine: Within the Loire Valley, the cathedrals at Chartres and Bourges are both listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. You can find out more at



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