Mouzillon-Tillières: The Pretender
The Muscadet Sèvre et Maine appellation is one defined by its rivers. The very name of the appellation – which references both the Sèvre Nantais and the Maine, the two rivers which cut through the vineyards – tells us this is so.
Of the two rivers around which this wine region has grown, the Sèvre Nantaise is the more significant. It slices through the dense grey granite of the Clisson cru, before cutting through the gabbro batholith that lies beneath the vineyards of Gorges. As it continues on, the banks of the Sèvre are home to the vineyards of Le Pallet, Monnières, La Haie-Fouassière and Saint-Fiacre-sur-Maine before it arrives at Vertou and the suburbs of Nantes itself.
The meandering Maine is perhaps a little less imposing, certainly less navigable, although it has still carved an impressive gorge through the rusty red granodiorite of Château-Thébaud, the cliff tops encrusted with vines, before it joins the Sèvre Nantaise.
Mouzillon-Tillières is another cru which has evolved through the union of river, rock and vine. The rock will by now be familiar, and indeed it is why I come to this cru immediately after Gorges, as both feature gabbro, in each case dressed with a covering of clay and gravel. This terroir gives us, in Gorges, wines which are undeniably among the very best in the region, and are my personal favourites. Gorges has, quite rightly, garnered some renown, but the less famed Mouzillon-Tillières is no less capable. It is, as I have hinted in the title of this guide, the pretender to the throne upon which Gorges rests.
And what of the river that has carved out this cru? Is it the Sèvre Nantaise? Or maybe the Maine?
No, it is neither of these.