Muscadet comes from a grape called Melon de Bourgogne. “Bourgogne” is misleading, as the wine is nothing like Burgundy; but Melon is a reasonable facsimile — the fruit in the wine recalls that of a honeydew. There are oceans of Muscadet, bottled and served in pitchers up and down the western third of the Loire along with shellfish and fin fish of all sorts and sizes. Much of it is straightforward and simple, and all of it is relatively inexpensive.
The best Muscadet has always come from Sevre et Maine, and in recent years the appellation has recognized that within the area certain terroir stands out. Now there are a few “Cru” Muscadets, where the yields must be lower and the wines must spend two years on the lees. We buy two of the best such Cru — Clisson and Gorges — from the Domaine Martin Luneau. The fruit is more intense in these wines and the signature salinity carries a bit more of the minerals that underlie it — in this case granite.
We came upon the Martin Luneau while feasting en plein air on a couple of plates of oysters in the City of Nantes. Excellent local restaurants produce some of our best leads — find a place that is renowned for its food and the odds are pretty good that the wine list will be excellent as well. At that one, we paid the bill and immediately arranged to taste the other wines of Martin Luneau. They were clear winners from the first sip.