Muscadet

Our Muscadet offerting are hand-selected for their exceptional quality. Muscadet wines make delicious aperitifs and pair well with oysters, shrimp or scampi.

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History of the wine varieties


The vineyards of Nantes is quite old and dates back to the Roman occupation. But wine-growing developed very slowly during the first centuries, owing to constant insecurity,  and was mostly only found around fortified buildings, and around abbeys where wine was used for the cult.

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Barré Frères' 64ha family-owned estate lies in the Muscadet region. Its 10000 bottles/hour and 1 million bottle storage capacity is fully dedicated to the quality of its own production and the trading of fine Loire Valley Wines.

The Nantes region owes very much and maintains a fervent cult to monk Saint-Martin, who was quite active both in the agricultural and wine organisation, and in evangelization, even though his achievements were often ruined by the Norse invaders.

In the middle-ages, the Nantes wine region developed considerably and spread up to Northern Brittany and even Normandy. At the time there was a great disparity in the planted grape varieties, and none of these varieties, whose quality was poor, has survived.

The Muscadet variety appeared in the XVIIth century. It can be found in the archives of Loire Atlantique and Ile & Vilaine, and is also mentioned in some leases dating back to 1635. The oldest document dating from this era is preciously kept by a wine grower in Gorges.

This variety is now called Muscadet in our region but it originally comes from Burgundy where it is still called Melon.

During the dreadful winter of 1709, when even the sea would turn to ice on the coast, most of the vineyards were lost (black frost), and melon de Bourgogne gradually replaced the older varieties.

Gros Plant had been introduced long before by the Dutch. A dynamic community of Dutch shippers and merchants had established  itself in a whole quarter of the port of Nantes called La Petite Hollande (this area still exists today).

As they needed brandy for their trading activities the Dutch introduced Folle blanche from Charente, a variety which the Nantes wine growers called Gros Plant. Before being the vivid and lively wine we now enjoy Gros Plant was first used in distilleries.

In 1936, thanks to its inner qualities, its adequacy to the consumers' taste, and the efforts made by traders and the main growers, Muscadet became one of the first French regions to be granted the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée. It now spreads over more than 13 000 ha in 4 different appellations.

- MUSCADET AOC
- MUSCADET COTEAUX de la LOIRE
- MUSCADET COTE de GRANDLIEU
- MUSCADET SEVRE & MAINE
which alone accounts for more than 85% of the total surface area.
Gros Plant, although a less successful wine, also obtained acknowledgement for all the efforts made in the way of quality and became an Appellation d'Origine  Vin de Qualité Supérieure (AOVDQS) in 1954. It now spreads over a surface of 2600 ha in the Northeastern and Western area of the Nantes wine region : Le Loroux-Bottereau, Le Landreau, Saint-Philbert de Grandlieu, La Limouzinière, Courcoué Sur Logne, Saint-Colomban.

The Land

The vineyards grows on very ancient land composed of a succession of slopes which are rarely higher than 50 m. They are the remains of an ancient ridge that linked the Massif Armoricain to Poitou in the Primary era.

Micaschists and granular gneiss mingled with eruptive rocks such as gabbro have to some extent been covered with more recent soils such as broken stones, gravel, terrace sands or plateau sands resulting from the destruction of the local rocks. The rest of the soil in the area is mostly made of silica and clay. The whole area is acid and has no chalk. Rocks are often level with the soil.

The climate

The climate is mostly dominated by the vicinity of the ocean and its warm current, the Gulf stream. Winters are mild, summers are rather hot and sunny. Mid-seasons are fairly damp and Western winds predominate. This is a typical temperate oceanic climate.