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Gloom from Jancis on Muscadet's future; also Beaujolais.

by Tim York » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:23 am

Jancis R devotes her Saturday FT article to Muscadet and Beaujolais http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/7f33b074 ... z2YvY4r5O0 . Is there really a danger of allowing Chard and SB into Muscadet :evil: ?
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Re: Gloom from Jancis on Muscadet's future; also Beaujolais.

by Rahsaan » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:48 am

Interesting article. Of course I want these regions to continue giving me the wine I love, but chardonnay in Muscadet does seem like it would change the character of the wines I love. That said, if the producers I like continue making the same wines, then it might not be such a big deal.
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Re: Gloom from Jancis on Muscadet's future; also Beaujolais.

by Tim York » Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:20 pm

Rahsaan wrote:Interesting article. Of course I want these regions to continue giving me the wine I love, but chardonnay in Muscadet does seem like it would change the character of the wines I love. That said, if the producers I like continue making the same wines, then it might not be such a big deal.


It would be deplorable IMO if Chard and SB were allowed into the Muscadet appellation. However, if producers think that dumbing down a part of their production by using those grapes will enhance their incomes and they sell it as Vin de Pays du Val de loire, I can live with that. Some do that already and I'm not very interested in buying those wines.
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Re: Gloom from Jancis on Muscadet's future; also Beaujolais.

by Hoke » Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:08 pm

This is a temporary but nonetheless potentially devastating 'perfect storm' impacting these two areas, both beloved of geeks but not currently appreciated by the mass volume of consumers. Declining consumption in France, where these wines were most appreciated. Declining trends in these styles in a trendy-focused world that doesn't value, or most times even know about, traditions and terroir.

But the first rule of any successful grower/winemaker is...to be successful, and that means producing wines that returns enough investment to at least survive, if not hopefully provide a living better than mere sustenance.

My only consolation is that both these regions, and for that matter, both these varieties, have weathered the vicissitudes of trends, styles and dictates, whether market, royal, or climate, and perhaps can do so once again.

Muscadet survived the brandewijn-stimulated shift to thin acidic white wines. The Loire survived numerous shifts of tectonic market ups and downs---and variety changes, for that matter. The Melon successfully shifted from the central area of France to, oddly enough, the Atlantic fringes. Of course, that leads us to the conundrum question of "what did Melon replace?"...and was that a loss when it replaced it?

Gamay survived banishment and deportation from Burgundy to the then-despised Beaujolais. When it began to decline again it enjoyed the saving grace of Nouveau, which of course turned out to be a temporary saving that became a curse. And for all the doom and gloom of Beaujolais, one can't but be heartened by the overdue attention to the Cru in the North, where they quality has always rested and is now being reinvigorated and daringly explored, much to wine lover's delight.

Survival of these areas might even require loss of vineyard land to conform to the distressing contemporary realities. Like all of you, I certainly hope that Chardonnay stays out of Muscadet...at least of AOC Muscadet...and that AOC Muscadet, if required to shrink in production, at least allows the best of the producers to survive.
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Re: Gloom from Jancis on Muscadet's future; also Beaujolais.

by Peter May » Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:12 pm

Sad news, though I can't really complain as ICT shows I have had no Muscadet this year and only one bottle in each of 2012 and 2013.

I have, however, been recently wowed by some Beaujolais tasted at friends and have gone and bought some. Lovely stuff.
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Re: Gloom from Jancis on Muscadet's future; also Beaujolais.

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Jul 13, 2013 3:09 pm

Big Muscadet drinker here so am sad to read this. Feel sure my big name producers will not change but a go-with-the -flow movement would be terrible.
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OMG....

by TomHill » Sat Jul 13, 2013 4:55 pm

OMG.....the end of Western Civilization as we know it!!!!
This could mean....gasp....change. We can't have change in the wine world....we should be
drinking the same ole wines...over & over. Egads...plant Syrah or Picpoul in Calif?? What's the
matter w/ Cabernet and Green Hungarian??
To which I say...how do we know how Chard or SauvBlanc would perform in Muscadet....until we try it.
I would expect the folks who make good (great?? Never had one I'd call great) Melon will continue to do so.
And maybe someone will make a great Chard or SauvBlanc. I'm not prescient enough to say it couldn't happen.
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Re: OMG....

by Hoke » Sat Jul 13, 2013 5:23 pm

TomHill wrote:OMG.....the end of Western Civilization as we know it!!!!
This could mean....gasp....change. We can't have change in the wine world....we should be
drinking the same ole wines...over & over. Egads...plant Syrah or Picpoul in Calif?? What's the
matter w/ Cabernet and Green Hungarian??
To which I say...how do we know how Chard or SauvBlanc would perform in Muscadet....until we try it.
I would expect the folks who make good (great?? Never had one I'd call great) Melon will continue to do so.
And maybe someone will make a great Chard or SauvBlanc. I'm not prescient enough to say it couldn't happen.
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Feelin' crusty today, huh, Tom? 8)
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Just A Little....

by TomHill » Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:29 pm

Hoke wrote:
TomHill wrote:OMG.....the end of Western Civilization as we know it!!!!
This could mean....gasp....change. We can't have change in the wine world....we should be
drinking the same ole wines...over & over. Egads...plant Syrah or Picpoul in Calif?? What's the
matter w/ Cabernet and Green Hungarian??
To which I say...how do we know how Chard or SauvBlanc would perform in Muscadet....until we try it.
I would expect the folks who make good (great?? Never had one I'd call great) Melon will continue to do so.
And maybe someone will make a great Chard or SauvBlanc. I'm not prescient enough to say it couldn't happen.
Tom


Feelin' crusty today, huh, Tom? 8)


Well....you know me, Hoke, and my penchants. [stirthepot.gif] [rattlingcages.gif] [jerkingpeopleschains.gif]
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Re: Gloom from Jancis on Muscadet's future; also Beaujolais.

by Florida Jim » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:05 pm

We are growing ribolla, fiano, Greco and tokay in the Russian River.
We got no room to bitch.
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Re: OMG....

by Rahsaan » Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:42 pm

TomHill wrote:OMG.....the end of Western Civilization as we know it!!!!
This could mean....gasp....change. We can't have change in the wine world....we should be
drinking the same ole wines...over & over. Egads...plant Syrah or Picpoul in Calif?? What's the
matter w/ Cabernet and Green Hungarian??
To which I say...how do we know how Chard or SauvBlanc would perform in Muscadet....until we try it.
I would expect the folks who make good (great?? Never had one I'd call great) Melon will continue to do so.
And maybe someone will make a great Chard or SauvBlanc. I'm not prescient enough to say it couldn't happen.
Tom


Part of your point is well taken, and with all the climate change it is likely that many European regions will have to revise the wine growing knowledge they have acquired over the centuries.

However, it is also worth noting that the push for Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc in Muscadet is not driven by quality-minded experimentalists who want to make great wine but by a lowest-common-denominator approach towards mass market supermarket wine.
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Re: Gloom from Jancis on Muscadet's future; also Beaujolais.

by Mark Lipton » Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:46 pm

When we think of Muscadet, we usually think of the fine output of conscientious growers such as Marc Ollivier, Jo Landron and Pierre-Marie Luneau who are, sadly, the exceptions. If the oceans of indifferent Muscadet that swell the shelves of Carrefour were suddenly to include Chardonnay, would it increase or decrease their appeal? Although the tide is shifting in the Beauljolais, the same situation holds, more or less.

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Re: OMG....

by Tim York » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:54 am

TomHill wrote:OMG.....the end of Western Civilization as we know it!!!!
This could mean....gasp....change. We can't have change in the wine world....we should be
drinking the same ole wines...over & over. Egads...plant Syrah or Picpoul in Calif?? What's the
matter w/ Cabernet and Green Hungarian??
To which I say...how do we know how Chard or SauvBlanc would perform in Muscadet....until we try it.
I would expect the folks who make good (great?? Never had one I'd call great) Melon will continue to do so.
And maybe someone will make a great Chard or SauvBlanc. I'm not prescient enough to say it couldn't happen.
Tom


Tom, it seems strange to me that an advocate of change should be admiring the planting of yet more Chard and SB at a time when the world is over-full of more or less bland and boring wines from these varieties. Judging by examples of both which I had from downstream reaches of the Loire, there is little chance of anything distinctive being made from them there, whereas good Muscadet from producers such as those named by Mark is a wine unique of its kind.

One of the major charms of the European wine scene is the existence of distinctive wines made from local grape varieties which are well adapted to their terroirs as defined by appellation rules. I think that I am not alone in believing that we would be much worse off without the presence of unique wines like Muscadet, Jurançon, Madiran, Marcillac, Valaisan Petite Arvine, Valaisan Cornalin, Friuli's Refosco, Wachau's Grüner Vetliner, Bierzo........... I even beg leave to doubt whether the growers in these regions would be better off financially if they lost their niche clientele by planting, say, Merlot, Syrah, Chard or SB instead of their local varieties.

I agree with Rahsaan that European growers could in a generation or so be faced with difficult planting decisions if the climate continues to warm. With regard to Melon de Bourgogne, I have drunk a creditable example quite similar to Muscadet made as far north as Normandy which goes beautifully with the local oysters.
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Yup......

by TomHill » Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:18 pm

Tim York wrote:
Tom, it seems strange to me that an advocate of change should be admiring the planting of yet more Chard and SB at a time when the world is over-full of more or less bland and boring wines from these varieties. Judging by examples of both which I had from downstream reaches of the Loire, there is little chance of anything distinctive being made from them there, whereas good Muscadet from producers such as those named by Mark is a wine unique of its kind.

One of the major charms of the European wine scene is the existence of distinctive wines made from local grape varieties which are well adapted to their terroirs as defined by appellation rules. I think that I am not alone in believing that we would be much worse off without the presence of unique wines like Muscadet, Jurançon, Madiran, Marcillac, Valaisan Petite Arvine, Valaisan Cornalin, Friuli's Refosco, Wachau's Grüner Vetliner, Bierzo........... I even beg leave to doubt whether the growers in these regions would be better off financially if they lost their niche clientele by planting, say, Merlot, Syrah, Chard or SB instead of their local varieties.
.


Yup....good point, Tim. Chard & SauvBlanc can be bland & boring....but, as you well know, it doesn't have to be.
Maybe the Muscadet growers of Chard would be compelled to make something really good w/ their Chard. But...not likely...
if the move is being made for marketing reasons.
And you're right about change. I should be agitating for them to plant Timarasso/Fiano/Jacquere/etc....some really interesting stuff.
As you could guess, my post was (only partly) TFIC.
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Re: Gloom from Jancis on Muscadet's future; also Beaujolais.

by Hoke » Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:45 pm

As you could guess, my post was (only partly) TFIC.


Well, you did give full disclosure by putting your name on it. :wink:
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Re: Yup......

by Tim York » Sun Jul 14, 2013 3:36 pm

TomHill wrote: And you're right about change. I should be agitating for them to plant Timarasso/Fiano/Jacquere/etc....some really interesting stuff.

Tom


Now that's really talking sense :D :wink: .
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Re: Gloom from Jancis on Muscadet's future; also Beaujolais.

by Dale Williams » Sun Jul 14, 2013 6:18 pm

It's interesting the recommended wines, shows such different wines are imported. I think Luneau-Papin is only recommended Muscadet producer I am familar with.
Of the Beaujolais producers, I know only Burgaud, Chignard, & Sunier, but even those are pretty rarely seen,

I love good Muscadet (think I'll open a Pepiere Clisson in honor of Bastille Day this evening) but realize that the Luneau-Papins, Olliviers (Pepiere),etc are the minority.

I confess I just don't understand the "Muscadet is a tough sell. so let's change the grapes and sugar level" argument. The growers can already grown Chardonnay, it just can't be called Muscadet (Jardin de France I think?). If they want an AOC wine, can't they push for an overlapping appellation (Nantais Nectar or whatever)?
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Re: Gloom from Jancis on Muscadet's future; also Beaujolais.

by Tim York » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:10 pm

Dale Williams wrote:I confess I just don't understand the "Muscadet is a tough sell. so let's change the grapes and sugar level" argument. The growers can already grown Chardonnay, it just can't be called Muscadet (Jardin de France I think?). If they want an AOC wine, can't they push for an overlapping appellation (Nantais Nectar or whatever)?


I fully agree with those sentiments, Dale.

However, the article does read to me as if it is proposed to loosen the rules the the Muscadet appellation itself. That would be deplorable IMO and I think that the growers would be shooting themselves in the foot, if it were allowed to happen. I haven't read about this proposal in the French wine press or anywhere else, but Jancis is usually well informed.

BTW I believe the the charming VDP name "Jardin de la France" has now been replaced by the boring "Val de Loire".
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Re: Gloom from Jancis on Muscadet's future; also Beaujolais.

by Oliver McCrum » Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:51 pm

Dale Williams wrote:
I confess I just don't understand the "Muscadet is a tough sell. so let's change the grapes and sugar level" argument. The growers can already grown Chardonnay, it just can't be called Muscadet (Jardin de France I think?). If they want an AOC wine, can't they push for an overlapping appellation (Nantais Nectar or whatever)?


Well put.
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Re: Gloom from Jancis on Muscadet's future; also Beaujolais.

by Sam Platt » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:51 am

We went through a major Muscadet phase a few years ago. Unfortunately, the local wine shop quit carrying it. I would continue to drink more of the wine if it were readily available.

The problem with Beaujolais is that I can rarely find good versions of it. We do drink the Jadot Beaujolais Village on occasion, but that's about the only decent Bojo nameplate easily available to us.

Come to think of it I do not recall ever seeing either a Muscadet for Beaujolais on any of the flash sites?
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Re: Gloom from Jancis on Muscadet's future; also Beaujolais.

by Rahsaan » Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:02 am

Sam Platt wrote:We went through a major Muscadet phase a few years ago. Unfortunately, the local wine shop quit carrying it...The problem with Beaujolais is that I can rarely find good versions of it.


Wow. That's tough. Beaujolais is especially attractive because there are so many good producers at such affordable prices, but I have no idea how all the volume/distribution issues work.
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Re: Gloom from Jancis on Muscadet's future; also Beaujolais.

by wnissen » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:59 pm

While I love quality Muscadet, the fact is there are too many producers making too much unsaleable wine, which is why the European "wine lake" and compulsory distillation have been with us for some time. Somebody has to stop making so much wine. Not to veer off into politics, but hopefully the folks whose wine is not being purchased by consumers would be the ones who stop. So it doesn't really bother me that characterless Muscadet producers are going out of business, except to the extent that I empathize with anyone whose livelihood is no longer economically viable.

Still, I hope they don't screw up the lithe, saline nature of Muscadet by alllowing chardonnay. Yuck.
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Re: Gloom from Jancis on Muscadet's future; also Beaujolais.

by Richard Fadeley » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:29 pm

French wine law is such that the adventuresome can produce Chard or SB under the Val de Loire AOC while the solid Muscadet producers can continue on. I don't see the Sur Lee aging that gives the wine its character going away. If there is a market, there will be producers. As for Beaujolais, tonight we had an '08 Jean Descombes Morgon(DuBoeuf) that was a beautiful wine. Again, I don't think this segment will disappear. Markets are such that they all seem to hang on the edge. That's why it's more fun being a consumer than a producer. Very few things go away if there is a market. Sauternes is a good example. The ebb and flow is sometimes hard to watch, just like nature, but the hard working souls of their respective AOC's hopefully will prevail.
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Re: Gloom from Jancis on Muscadet's future; also Beaujolais.

by Dave Erickson » Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:09 pm

Forgive my heresy, but I think Jancis' peerspective is...unique. She was talking about the collapse in sales from Beaujolais years ago:

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/aabf9b24-9069-11df-ad26-00144feab49a.html

The diminishment of the Nouveau phenomenon may have been financially painful, but it had to happen, and from where I sit the great days of cru Beaujolais are just beginning. There is now an embarrassment of quality: Vissoux (Pierre Chermette), M. Lapierre, Thévenet, and Foillard, to name a few. Yes, there was a bad vintage, but as we all know these things happen and it is not the end of the world.

I am also mystified at her take on Muscadet, when wines from Marc Ollivier and Guy Bossard get respect and even sell decently.
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