Henri Poiron has once again produced a classic Muscadet in his 2012 Domaine des Quatre Routes. Always bottled Sur Lie, it reveals clean, dry, refreshing flavors that enliven the palate. The crisp scent of stone fruits, minerals, and sea spray emanate from the energetic 2012 Domaine des Quatre Routes. Clearly, Poiron’s Muscadet is the real deal, a truly dry white wine. No smoke and mirrors here. If you’re anticipating the butter, oak, and residual sugar associated with many New World wines, you won’t find them in Poiron’s Muscadet, or any authentic Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine. The limestone rich soil of the Loire, the scent of the sea, and the delicate flavors of Melon de Bourgogne shine in Domaine des Quatre Routes’ crisp, refreshingly dry Sèvre-et-Maine Muscadet. Although Poiron’s Domaine des Quatre Routes Muscadet can age for a number of years in bottle, we prefer consuming it in the fresh bloom of youth with a moderate chill (40º-45º F).
English wine writer Hugh Johnson has fondly referred to Muscadet as “Neptune’s Garden” in light of the wine’s heralded reputation for accompanying fish, shellfish and all kinds of fruits from the nearby sea. Indeed, the climate, history, and sustenance of the Sèvre-et-Maine appellation appear inexorably married to maritime fare, and with it the fortunes of all Muscadet producers. In France, when oysters are the topic of conversation or even mere contemplation, Muscadet is sure to follow. And Henri Poiron’s 2012 Domaine des Quatre Routes Muscadet and oysters certainly strike an incomparable friendship. Nonetheless, it’s hard to be stereotyped and pigeonholed. Crabs, mussels, prawns, scallops, and shrimp offer equally compelling accompaniments to this wine, but so do many other foods which have never seen the sight of the sea. Few wines pair better with pork barbeque, fried chicken, spicy chicken wings, and corn tortillas than Henri Poiron’s exemplary Muscadet. Try it! Muscadet’s fresh bone dry flavors shine with fried and spicy dishes that are often hard to pair with wine. Bon Appétit!
Domaine Henri Poiron traces its origin in winemaking in Muscadet back more than two centuries. The Poiron family owns a total of 39 hectares (96 acres), all located in the heart of the Muscadet appellation known as Sèvre-et-Maine. Domaine des Quatre Routes is one of four small exclusive Muscadet properties owned by Domaine Henri Poiron. It consists of just 13 hectares (32 acres), which are devoted exclusively to the appellation’s premier varietal, Melon de Bourgogne. Domaine des Quatre Routes’ vines average more than 45 years of age.
Winemaking at Domaine des Quatre Routes is traditional. All harvesting is done by hand and proprietor Eric Poiron fashions terroir driven wines using traditional techniques. Vinification takes place in older oak barrels. The resulting wine then rests on its lees for months to garner greater flavor and freshness before being bottled Sur Lie the following March. The result is crisp, classic Muscadet.
The pastoral appellation of Muscadet possesses the only classified vines in Brittany. This large appellation lies near the mouth of the Loire River, just to the south of the city of Nantes. Sèvre-et-Maine, which occupies the hills above the two small rivers (Sèvre and Maine) from which the appellation draws its name, is the finest part of the sprawling Muscadet appellation. Two grapes, both white, have traditionally been associated with Muscadet: Gros Plant and Melon de Bourgogne. However, Melon de Bourgogne is a far superior grape to Gros Plant and the only grape variety now permitted in Muscadet wines that bear the Sèvre-et-Maine appellation. The wines of Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine provide splendid accompaniments to seafood and fried foods better than more celebrated and expensive white wines. This is especially true when Muscadet is kept on its lies (lees) for weeks or even months (designated by the words Sur Lie on the label and bottle) to gather additional flavor and texture. The wines of Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine constitute some of the finest values in dry white wine.
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