Description 1 of 1
Parentage of the grape: Melon de Bourgogne is a cross between Pinot and Gouais blanc.
History of the grape: As its name suggests, Melon de Bourgogne comes from Burgundy. By the Middle Ages, it had spread to the central Loire as well. Because it was not considered to be as noble as Chardonnay, it was outlawed in Burgundy at various times during the 16th and 17th centuries, but it is still grown in small quantities in Vezelay, where it is prized for its ability to withstand cold. Since the it was introduced there by the Dutch in the 17th century, it has been the main variety in the Loire-Atlantique, where the appellation of Muscadet is located. The Dutch didn’t think much of this variety: they only wanted it for distilling into their brendewijn. Then, in the harsh winter of 1709, most of the red grapes also grown there died, leaving Melon de Bourgogne. It’s a large appellation and much of the wine is pretty characterless, which has led many to think that that’s all this grape can do. Lately, however, amazing producers like Guy Bossard, Marc Ollivier, and Pierre Luneau-Papin have proven that Melon de Bourgogne can make outstanding wines.
Characteristics of the grape: Melon de Bourgogne has citrus, saline, and mineral flavors, light body, low alcohol, high acidity (though it should be noted that this is because of when it is picked); Muscadet Sur Lie (generally the only kind anyone should be drinking) has an added richness from lees contact.
Regions where the grape currently is important: Pays Nantais
Type or types of wines the grape produces: Muscadet, Muscadet Sur Lie -- both dry white wines made for drinking with oysters.
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