The Muscadet Crus Communaux
The genesis of the crus communaux has been the most exciting development in the Muscadet region since the Nantais nectar first passed my lips (which was at least a couple of decades ago, if you were wondering). Indeed, it is arguably the most significant development in the entire Loire Valley during that same time.
The development of the cru communal system was driven from within the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine appellation, by the growers themselves. Numerous vignerons recognised that if the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine appellation was ‘regional level’, like Chablis, then there should also be specific terroirs (akin to the premiers and grands crus found in Chablis) which were capable of giving superior wines, thereby creating a quality pyramid within the appellation. For some growers, defining these terroirs became a major focus of their activities, and the time and energy they invested eventually bore fruit in November 2011, when the first three crus communaux of the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine appellation were enshrined in the appellation’s rule book.
Today there are seven ratified crus communaux, with more on the way. Some vignerons, such as Bernard Chéreau (pictured above) of Chéreau-Carré have vines in the majority of these crus, and seem intent on acquiring more, while others seem content to work in just one or two crus. In this section of my guide to the Muscadet crus communaux I will explore on this page the development and ratification of the various crus, as well as exploring some common features such as the work in the vineyard and cellars, before I go on to look at each cru in turn on subsequent pages.