Cheap Wine That Doesn't Suck: Domaine de la Chauviniere Muscadet

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South Florida is blessed with an abundance of fresh fish and shellfish, yet one of the world's great seafood wines is about as well-known here as Bashar al-Asaad. 

That would be Muscadet, a white wine from France's Loire region that's as crisp as a freshly minted dollar bill and as fine a complement to all manner of good things from the sea as the water they once swam in. Produced from the humble Melon de Bourgogne grape, Muscadet's appeal is not in its great complexity but its refreshing, straightforward lemon-lime and grapefruit flavors and bracing minerality.

Part of that appeal is also its price. While Muscadet may display the crispness of a brand-spanking-new greenback, it costs remarkably few of them, almost always less than $10.

Coming in at all of $8 is the 2008 Domaine de la Chauviniere. To palates that have grown
up on big, fruity, oaky, creamy Chardonnays, it will seem a bit austere, but pour it with oysters or stone crab or lobster and you'll be seduced by its simple yet elegant charms. That tart, steely edge makes it a particularly good match for rich seafood dishes -- oysters Rockefeller, coquilles St. Jacques, lobster thermidor, and the like. 

Two things on Domaine's label you want to look for when buying Muscadet. One is the qualifier "Sevre et Maine," which means the wine was produced in the subregion considered home to the highest-quality Muscadets. Two are the words "sur lie," meaning the wine has been aged on the lees, the leavings of the fermentation process, further developing its flavors and even giving it a slight spritz. 

As for Bashar al-Asaad, who do you think I am? Google?


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