Four New Crus for Muscadet
I was delighted to learn today that the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine have, on Wednesday 19th June, officially recognised four new cru communal zones in Muscadet. The four new crus are Goulaine, Château-Thébaud, Monnières-Saint-Fiacre and Mouzillon-Tillières. These four join the three crus which were ratified back in 2011, these being Clisson, Gorges and Le Pallet, as described in my Guide to the 2011 Crus Communaux.
Together these seven crus represent the highest level of Muscadet, wines of high quality and very limited production. The 2018 harvest brought in just 6000 hectolitres eligible for the three designations in existence, from just 150 hectares of vineyard (40 hl/ha on average, if you were just about to get your calculator out) which met all the cru criteria. The arrival of four new crus should see that figure rise, but it won’t be an explosion. Vineyards are not automatically eligible, they must be identified by a willing vigneron, submitted for cru status, inspected and signed off, then worked in a manner which meets the criteria, and the harvest, vinifications and time the wine spends on the lees must also clear the bar.
Despite these crus being newly ratified I already have plenty of experience with the wines, as many vignerons have been working to a level that meets the criteria for some time (as illustrated above, a Mouzillon-Tillières released more than ten years ago), the development of the new cru communal system being very much a vigneron-led process. For more on Château-Thébaud and Monnières-Saint-Fiacre, see my Muscadet Crus Communaux Retrospective Tasting published in January this year. I will add a guide to the four new crus to my Muscadet Sèvre et Maine wine guide as soon as possible, and hopefully get around to tasting more from Mouzillon-Tillières and Goulaine.
Congratulations to all those in Muscadet who have been pushing this through! I know it has taken many years of effort. Now the attention must turn to the remaining cru candidates, La-Haye-Fouassière, Vallet and Champtoceaux – maybe after a celebratory glass of Château-Thébaud first!