Dubbed “Neptune’s Garden,” by Hugh Johnson, the Muscadet region on the Loire’s Atlantic coast has long occupied a spot alongside seafood and river fish specialties alike. Vinified entirely of the Melon de Bourgogne varietal and aged on the lees for six months prior to bottling, Eric Poiron’s Muscadet is clean, careful, and zippy with bracing acidity and a bright autolytic texture to balance it out. Though Muscadet has four AOCS (which includes the umbrella AOC “Muscadet”) Sèvre et Maine is arguably the finest of all, with more stringent regulations for yields, aging, and lees contact. The Domaine des Quatres Routes is no exception: it cools you down at first sip, as images of crisp Kusshi and Kumamoto oysters pop into your mind. Visceral pairing!
And if anyone’s got pedigree in Muscadet it’s the Poiron family. They began growing and producing wine in the early 1800’s and over the past two centuries have elevated their vineyard holdings from the original 1.2 hectares to it’s current standing of 39 hectares. Domaine des Quatres Routes is one of four small properties owned and farmed by Eric Poiron and consists of only 13 hectares under Melon de Bourgogne vine. Soils are clay and schist and average vine age is 45 years.
Winemaking at Quatres Routes is done in the traditional style with all organic viticulture. Grapes are hand harvested and go through successive tries to ensure highest quality product. Fermentation takes place in old French oak. Wines are left on the lees until March of the following year. They are then bottled and released to ensure classic freshness.
Muscadet is not only the ideal choice for dishes like sautéed scallops or brook trout with beurre blanc sauce, it’s also exceptionally delicious with BBQ pulled pork and fried chicken, as it cuts through fat on the palate in a similar way as champagne. As always, the taste of the salt spray sings in this wine.