Saturday, 3 August 2013

Muscadet, a treat with seafood on Lamma


Not sure if it's just me, but this summer somehow seems hotter than usual. It’s not only the temperature but also the brightness of the sun and the humidity, so that even when I walk into an air conditioned room I still feel the heat dragging me down. No wonder I didn’t taste any red wine at all at the Sopexa French Wines Trade Show.

I might have missed some fine reds but I did make a superb discovery: Muscadet from the Loire. Made from 100% Melon de Bourgogne (or Melon), the wine is neutral and light bodied. Yet its crisp, marine freshness makes it a perfect summer drink—who wants a heavily perfumed wine at 30ºC? Even chic ladies sometimes trade their makeup and designer shoes for an afternoon on the beach!

I tasted the full range of Muscadet from Domaine Ménard-Gaborit. The wine, with its saltiness, kept reminding me of the sea breezes and salty air of the outlying islands like Lamma and Lantau. What a wine to go with the al fresco seafood at those places! Muscadet is an outdoor wine, great with fresh seafood and good company. There is also an oak-aged Méganome Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie that has a rounder and slightly nutty palate. In fact, Muscadet is the favoured pairing with oysters back in Nantais where the wine comes from.

This again illustrates the point I keep making: wine doesn't need to be expensive and exclusive. An average Muscadet is less than HK$150 a bottle, and I can promise you that this wine will give you more pleasure with Lamma or Sai Kung seafood than a Bordeaux that may be ten times the price. I told Monsieur Maxime Lavolé, owner of the winery who is seeking an importer here in Hong Kong, to ask his eventual distributor to focus on these outdoor seafood enclaves. They would make a fortune!

Sadly, wine from the Loire, let alone Muscadet, is not yet popular in Hong Kong. I reckon this is more to do with fame and price than quality. A hot and sweaty Hong Kong summer definitely needs more Muscadet to tone down the heat and accentuate the freshness of the seafood.

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