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  • By Jon Rimmerman
    7/27/2009, (See more on Garagiste...)

    (ST. VINCENT Delhommeau Muscadet) 2008 Muscadet

    Dear Friends,

    What better way to quench the summer swelter than with Michel and Natalie Delhommeau's beautiful Muscadet? I did - yesterday in fact.

    This is a producer on the rise and they are about to burst on the world stage - If you have yet to discover the dancing wine of Delhommeau, the height of summer is the perfect time. What sets this producer apart from many in Muscadet is an estate full of solid lava rock that highlights the majority of their property (not just granite, as is more the norm). The Lava's affect on Melon de Bourgogne is unmistakable and it imparts a Preuses-like (Chablis) nuance that is about more than just the everyday example of Muscadet. Produced from contiguous soil types (not from confining vineyard parameters that contain multiple soil types), both of the wines below are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and both are pressed from a majority of old vines. In general, 2008 gave Delhommeau more extractive and denser material to work with than 2007 (which was almost too frail) without any sacrifice of tensile and nervous character. If you are a fan of Muscadet, there is a lot to like in 2008 with Delhommeau.

    As a showcase for a major philosophical difference between the old and new world, the wine we offer today represents the best estate selection from Delhommeau and both examples are still circa $10. Both are meant to be consumed on a daily basis and French culture dictates they be priced accordingly. Why is this a big deal? French culture also dictates they be coddled and produced with the same exacting standard and detail as something like Latour - there is no tolerance for inferior Muscadet, even if it is $9.84. In other worlds, the very best producers in Muscadet do not craft their wine according to what should be expected for $10 or what they can get away with for $10 - they produce their wine to be at the same level as the best in all of France...and do so for a price is among the lowest in the world:

    2008 Michel Delhommeau Muscadet de Sevre et Maine "CuvÄe St. Vincent" sur lie
    This is Delhommeau's connoisseur cuvee, full of painful rock and chiseled, knife-edged elements that will cut through your palate and plate of oysters like a sword - only the most initiated will appreciate the difficult character of this wine, sourced from soil that is half lava and half solid granite. 2008 gave this bottling extra lift (and even more cut than usual) which should sustain it for a number of years. Pureed lime, sea breeze, quince and stone comprise this beverage that will act as a foil when there is nothing that stands between between you and a plate of cracked crab. The fact that this is less than $10 is almost ridiculous. Serve very cold and allow the wine to open over 1-2 hours, also allowing it to warm slightly as you proceed.

    2008 Michel Delhommeau Muscadet de Sevre et Maine "CuvÄe Harmonie" sur lie
    This is the flip side to the St Vincent and the name says it all - Harmony. Produced from soil that is 100% decomposed lava, this is Delhommeau's signature wine and it seduces with a glorious mouthful of broken glass that tears your palate to shreds - ah, the delight. While a mouthful of broken glass may seem unappealing, in Delhommeau's hands it is a majestic sensation that allows this wine to somehow remain balanced and superbly delineated from start to very long finish. This cuvee has the grace and stuffing to age but it is refreshing and tonic to drink today. An outstanding vintage for this cuvee and one to enjoy over the course of an entire evening, not just as an aperitif.

    Thank you,

    Jon Rimmerman
    Seattle, WA


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