Muscadelle and Muscadet

by David
(Port Elliot)

Muscadet Sur Lie

Muscadet Sur Lie

David of Port Elliot asks:



I find there is confusion over the difference between muscadet and muscadelle.

As far as I am aware the muscadet produced near the mouth of the Loire is vinified from the variety mélon de Bourgogne, not muscadelle as I was once told.



I have tried most appellations of muscadet: all seem to be neutral or subtle in aroma.



Then we have muscat! What say you, Darby?



Darby replies:
Yes, they are two quite distinct varieties. Melon, or Melon de Bourgogne is the variety behind Muscadet which is really the style. In spite of its name it is no longer grown in Burgundy, having been banned from there in the Sixteenth Century by Phillip II of Spain and the Duke of Burgundy, who due to his marriage to Mary I, was also King of England for a couple of years. After Mary's death her little sister Elizabeth knocked Phillip's proposal back so the Spanish hold on the English Crown was short-lived.

Melon has a few synonyms including Gamay Blanc and Muscadet, although the latter term is more commonly used to describe the wine rather than the grape.


Melon is as you say grown in the lower reaches of the Loire to make Muscadet wine. These are crisp, low acid, low alcohol and fairly light bodied. Some of the wines are given extended contact with the skins during fermentation and thus gain more body and flavour. They are labelled Sur Lie. Great wine for fried seafood. Not much Melon is grown outside the Loire region.


Muscadelle and Melon share Gouias Blanc as a parent but they are quite distinct. They are not closely related to the rather large Muscat family, nor to the rare red variety Muscardin used in the Rhone.

See this page for more about Muscadelle.

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