Domaine du Haut Bourg, 2014 Update

Muscadet is a little like Sauternes in some respects. I’m not talking about the fact that both wines are said to drink well with oysters, even though this is certainly true of the wines of the Loire’s Atlantic vineyards. I confess, although I have often heard it said that the same is true of the sweet wines of Bordeaux, I have not really explored for myself the combination of botrytis and bivalves. No, my comparison is based on the fact that both regions are woefully undervalued. To put it simply, neither is currently fashionable. On one side we have Sauternes, with all its lusciously sweet complexity, delicious and yet therefore not compatible with the view held in some uninformed quarters that a wine must be dry in order to be ‘sophisticated’. On the other side we have Muscadet, still labouring under the prevailing view that the wines are little more than damp acidity, a view sadly propagated even by some wine critics who have done little to improve their knowledge of this region, which has changed so much in the last two decades.

Loire 2013

As a consequence, the wines of both regions are priced much lower than they should be considering the dedicated effort that goes into producing every single bottle. While some regions – all the top cru classé châteaux of Bordeaux, for example – are over-priced, especially in the 2013 Bordeaux vintage. Whereas with red Bordeaux it is necessary to hunt around for a bargain, it is probably true to say that in Sauternes and Muscadet every half-decent bottle is already a bargain. There is so much affordable joy here!

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