iYellow Wine Club: Muscadet Magic

4 Mar

Bridget is a new contributor to YYZ. An ambitious home cook whose new year’s resolution was to attempt new and exciting dishes in the kitchen, she will be contributing cookbook reviews to YYZGourmand in the coming months. A frequent visitor to the Niagara region, she is also an oenophile with an enviable wine collection. 

“A good bottle of wine is an empty bottle.” –Pierre-Jean Sauvion

Pierre-Jean Sauvion is a fourth generation winemaker of the Maison Sauvion from the Nantes region of the Val de Loire (Loire Valley). Beyond being the self-proclaimed “façonneur de plaisir” (pleasure maker) of some of the wines featured at the iYellow Wine Club event, he was the center of attention from the moment he opened his mouth to speak. The Château du Cléray Sauvion, where Pierre-Jean cultivates his passion, is one of the oldest estates and cellars in the area.

photo 2 (1)

The event was hosted at iYellow Wine Club’s wine cave. In case you’re wondering, “wine cave” is code for basement. Was it the dark basement out of a horror movie? No. Was it the wine cave of my dreams? No. Perhaps I’ve seen too many wine caves on Pinterest. I will admit part of my distaste for the subterranean space came from having to find it down a dark alleyway. I don’t even like walking down some streets of the city at night, let alone searching for a doorway shrouded in darkness. Some people like that sort of “exclusivity” – I like an accessible street entrance, preferably on a street with a lot of foot traffic.

Wine cave or wine basement?

Wine cave or wine basement?

I have attended wine tastings in the Niagara region. These wineries aim to educate your palate and entice you to purchase their product. While the iYellow Wine Club presented a huge selection of wines to discover, I was disappointed that we weren’t able to purchase a number of the wines that they featured. My favourite of the night – Chateau du Cleray Muscadet 2004 – is not available through the LCBO.

While we enjoyed our evening, the event felt unbalanced. Pierre-Jean walked us through a tasting of five wines as we all crowded around a large table decorated with cheese platters and spittoons. In short, his wines were crisp and aromatic (my thoughts on the wines can be found below). It was a really big crowd, almost uncomfortably tight. The tasting was missing the finesse and flow of a well-orchestrated event.

I loved Pierre-Jean’s playful and passionate discussion of his wines. I probably could have listened to him all night. But part of the joy of drinking wine with others is to enjoy and discuss the wine with the people around you. There was too much going on and his tasting tended more toward a lecture than a sensory experience. Capping the size of the group would have been better for the structure of the tasting and kept the personal aspect of wine that I enjoy so much.

After the tasting, we mingled and had the chance to try an additional four wines. All in all, I think there were too many wines to taste for such a short period of time. I felt rushed. In addition, I thought the link to the oyster part of the theme was lost. The oysters were brought out after the formal tasting was over. Based on the crowd around the shuck-er (sic), I had my oyster with a sample of pinot noir. Given that I had just overcome the hurdle of my first oyster, it was disappointing to not be able to try the pairing as it was intended.

The event was poorly organized. iYellow Wine Club promised a magical night of tasting muscadet paired with oysters. Instead, I was bombarded with too many samples of pretty good wine (and not enough oysters) in a crowded basement!

Some food! But where are the promised oysters?

Some food! But where are the promised oysters?

You may not have a basement of your own (or you may live in one), but with these tasting notes, a few substitutions, and a trip to the market for some oysters  – you’ll be able to recreate the experience at home.* Here is the line up from the event:

Chateau de Montgueret Crement (sic) – LCBO $19.95 (I am pretty sure Crement is Cremant and that they had a typo on their sign…)

Tasting Notes:  None (sorry!)

Chateau du Cleray Muscadet 2013 – will be available via LCBO in spring time

Tasting Notes: Cloudy/dull appearance (wine has not been filtered and the lees remain), smells of green apple and citrus, long finish on the palate.

Sauvion Muscadet Carte D’or 2012

Tasting Notes: Citrus fruit scent with floral undertones, light and crisp with slightly acidic aftertaste.

Chateau du Cleray Muscadet 2012 – LCBO $13.95

Tasting Notes: Beautiful tropical fruit/citrus fruit scent, slightly sweet finish.

Chateau du Cleray Muscadet 2004

Tasting Notes: Smells of dry fruits and nuts, richer flavor with a dry finish on the palate. My favourite of the night!

Chateau du Cleray Muscadet 1995

Tasting Notes: This wine spurred discussion around the table, with scent associations of anything from mold to soy sauce –a complex wine with a nutty, creamy, dry flavor – Pierre-Jean suggests it is best paired with sweet breads…I suggest you skip it entirely!

JP Chenet Chardonnay 2012 – LCBO $10.95

Tasting Notes: My only note for this wine was“unmemorable” …there are definitely better chards out there!

JP Chenet Pinot Noir 2012 – LCBO $12.95

Tasting Notes: Light-to-medium-bodied and fruity red that will not stand up to food.

Calvet Chtx St Germain 2012 – LCBO $15.25

Tasting Notes: Medium-bodied, uncomplex red with a smooth finish.

Calvet St Emilion 2011 – LCBO $19.45

Tasting Notes: Full-bodied flavor, scents of dry red fruits, and a beautiful deep colour. My favourite of the three reds, we will definitely be picking one of these up the LCBO!

*Talkative and handsome winemaker not included.

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One Response to “iYellow Wine Club: Muscadet Magic”

  1. Sarcastic Bystander March 12, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

    Great review. It made me giggle and you really brought me to that basement.

    I’ve had the Pinot Noir you mention above and your tasting note is spot on. Maybe I’m a wino, or just a realist, but a Pinot Noir under $20 (and especially under $16) should never to be sipped for enjoyment. (While Loire Valley wines can be really good value, with Pinot Noir more is always more)

    Nice to see Chateau de Montgueret Cremant on the list. I always find myself with a bottle of it going into the holiday season, likely because it’s a nice champs alternative for $20. It’s toasty and gives some stone fruit aromas and flavors, but it lacks the finishing sweetness you’d expect from a more pricey selection.

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