The Côtes de Grandlieu, A Twenty-Year Celebration

Lying just to the west of the more familiar Muscadet Sèvre et Maine appellation, which is by far the largest of the three subregional appellations in the Muscadet region, we find the vineyards of Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu. Although simple maps tend to suggest that the two regions are comparable in size, nothing could in fact be further from the truth. The vineyards of Muscadet Sèvre et Maine cover about 8,000 hectares (although this is itself a figure which has changed greatly in recent years, there having been a collapse since 2008 when the area planted to vines was more like 13,000 hectares). Within the confines of the Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu, however, there are barely 300 hectares planted up. This is a relatively small appellation, whichever way we look at it.

It is perhaps unsurprising, therefore, that the vignerons of this tiny subregion of the Muscadet vineyard seem to have a strong sense of identity. They first proposed the creation of their subregional appellation as long ago as 1955, a request they reiterated in 1979. The gestation of French appellations is not a hurried process though (just look at the long overdue births of the new Muscadet crus communaux appellations for a modern-day example), and it was not until 1994 that they were finally rewarded with the Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu appellation. The decree was signed off in December that year, their first vintage being 1995. To celebrate the passing of twenty vintages since this moment several of the more prominent domaines recently got together to put on a tasting of wines from the appellation. I was delighted to be invited.

The Côtes de Grandlieu: A Twenty Year Celebration

The vignerons chose to present a wide range of vintages. I felt it would be most interesting to focus on the older wines, and so these dominate my notes presented on page two of this report. First, though, I thought it would be only appropriate to look at the appellation in a little more detail.

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