The Bearable Lightness of Muscadet

Midsummer and the first courgettes are ready in the garden.  They formed a bed for cod baked in a paper packet with handfuls of herbs, also fresh from the garden, and a few black olives.  The herbs were largely parsley, some chives and a crucial few leaves of mint.  All you need now is new potatoes and a light crisp white wine.  I chose Muscadet, actually Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Muscadet sur Lie 2007, now £6.29 though I bought it just a few months ago for distinctly less.  This is now at its peak and should be drunk this year.

Muscadet, from the mouth of the Loire, is made from a single grape, also known as Muscadet or Melon de Bourgogne, that isn’t used in any other wine.  It is light and crisp and the archetypal wine for local (Brittany and Vendée) seafood.

The alternative would be a sauvignon blanc from the same region – Loire – and for a dish as subtle as this it could be quite a smart one like Sancerre.  A white Bordeaux, whether pure sauvignon or sauvignon-semillon, would be another excellent choice but as expensive as the Sancerre.  Pure sauvignon, especially from the New World, can be rather concentrated and assertive; a dish like this should not be overwhelmed.

This was a mid-week meal, cooked after a day of work, not a weekend dinner-party. An authentic but unpretentious wine that isn’t too expensive is appropriate and Muscadet is right on the button.

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