Muscadet Wine: Quick Guide

muscadet wine - wine glass

As you continue your journey into wine, at some point you’re going to come across a bottle of Muscadet wine.

Muscadet wine originates from the westernmost Loire Valley. It’s a French white wine made with the neutral Melon de Bourgogne grape. Aging it sur lie adds texture. Look for quality Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine with lemon, lime, green apple, and saline flavors. Enjoy chilled with seafood, salads, and sandwiches.

Here’s what you need to know to get started with Muscadet wine.

Where Is Muscadet Wine Made?

You’ll find Muscadet wines from the Pay-Nantais region of the Loire Valley in France. Look for:

  • Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine AOC (most famous, best Muscadet wines)
  • Muscadet-Coteaux de la Loire AOC
  • Muscadet-Cotes de Grandlieu AOC
  • Muscadet AOC (regional classification)

Careful! While most wines are named after their grapes, Muscadet’s an exception.

Muscadet is the name of the wine, not the grape!

Muscadet’s the name of the wine, but this dry white wine’s actually made from a grape called Melon de Bourgogne.

What Kind of Wine Is a Muscadet?

muscadet flavor profile infographic - muscated wine

Muscadet is a dry white wine with a light body and high acid. This wine is made from the relatively neutral Melon de Bourgogne white wine grape.

Muscadet wines taste like citrus with lemon and lime, along with green apple, green pear, and saline notes, a nod to the region’s proximity to the Atlantic coast and cool climate.

Some Muscadet wines include sur lie (on the lees) aging, giving them a rounder mouthfeel and ever-so-delicate brioche notes. This will often leave the wines with a slight spritz to them which helps lift up the delicate flavors.

The region’s known for inexpensive Muscadet wines to satisfy the thirst of the populace. Inexpensive Muscadet wines can seem watered down.

Today, producers are trying to reshape the image of Muscadet wines by introducing skilled winemaking techniques capable of enhancing the grape’s natural qualities as a delicate white wine. 

Is Muscadet Wine Sweet?

No, Muscadet wine isn’t sweet, it’s a dry white wine.

Is Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine a Sweet Wine?

Muscadet-Sévre et Maine wines are exclusively dry white wines from the Melon de Bourgogne grape. The most renowned sub-region in Muscadet, Muscadet-Sévre et Maine, makes the best Muscadet wine.

Is Muscadet Like Sauvignon Blanc?

CharacteristicsMuscadetSauvignon Blanc
HuePale gold to greenish-yellowPale to light yellow
ColorWhiteWhite
AromasCitrus, green apple, mineralHerbaceous, grassy, citrusy
SweetnessDryDry to off-dry
AcidHighHigher
Alcohol (%)11-12%12-14%
BodyLight to mediumLight to medium
IntensityModeratePronounced
Key Growing RegionsLoire Valley, FranceLoire Valley, New Zealand, California
Classic PairingsSeafood, oysters, shellfishSeafood, salads, chicken
Price Range$10-$20$10-$30

Muscadet isn’t like Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc makes aromatic, high-acid wines that deliver powerful scents of lemon, lime, grass, gooseberry, passionfruit, and stone fruits.

Muscadet has a much more subtle aroma profile, with light citrus fruits and crisp acidity. You won’t have the same perfume in Muscadet as you get from Sauvignon Blanc.

Helpful Tip: Here’s a full post on Sauvignon Blanc.

Is Muscadet Like Chardonnay?

CharacteristicsMuscadetChardonnay
HuePale gold to greenish-yellowPale gold to deep yellow
ColorWhiteWhite
AromasCitrus, green apple, mineralButter, vanilla, tropical fruit
SweetnessDryDry to off-dry
AcidHighModerate to high
Alcohol (%)11-12%13-14%
BodyLight to mediumMedium to full
IntensityModeratePronounced
Key Growing RegionsLoire Valley, FranceBurgundy (France), California (USA), Australia
Classic PairingsSeafood, oysters, shellfishPoultry, creamy pasta, seafood
Price Range$10-$20$10-$50

Muscadet isn’t like Chardonnay. Muscadet is a much lighter wine than Chardonnay, more like a Pinot Grigio in body.

However, some winemakers do use sur lie aging (aged on the lees) on their Muscadets to give their wines a little more body and mouthfeel.

You may taste subtle brioche notes in sur lie aged Muscadets, similar to a lees-aged Chardonnay, but these aromas and flavors in Muscadet wines will be much less pronounced. 

Helpful Tip: Go check out this Chardonnay wine guide.

Is Muscadet the Same as Moscato?

CharacteristicsMuscadetMoscato
HuePale gold to greenish-yellowStraw yellow
ColorWhiteWhite
AromasCitrus, green apple, mineralFloral, peach, apricot
SweetnessDryOff-dry to Sweet
AcidHighModerate to high
Alcohol (%)11-12%5-7%
BodyLight to mediumLight
IntensityModerateModerate to pronounced
Key Growing RegionsLoire Valley, FranceItaly, Spain, California (USA)
Classic PairingsSeafood, oysters, shellfishDesserts, fruit-based pastries
Price Range$10-$20$10-$25

Despite the similar sounding names, Muscadet wine isn’t the same as Moscato.

In fact, Muscadet wine is actually made from Melon de Bourgogne grapes. Moscato is its own grape variety.

While it’s alleged that the name “Muscadet” comes from the musk-like aroma of these wines, Muscadet wines don’t have much in the way of aromatics, so it’s doubtful the name comes from the way the wine smells.

Moscato is a powerfully aromatic wine with floral notes, grapey notes, and luscious stone fruits. 

Is Muscadet White Burgundy?

Is muscadet white burgundy? white wine glass

No, Muscadet isn’t white Burgundy. White Burgundy is made from Chardonnay, not Muscadet. The grape used to make Muscadet wine is Melon de Bourgogne, and it’s a white grape, so it makes sense to think that Muscadet is white Burgundy, but it’s not.

The grape, Melon de Bourgogne, came from the Burgundy region and traveled west to the Pays-Nantais region of the Loire Valley.

The Dutch wine trade introduced the variety in the 17th century because they were looking for a grape that they could easily distill into brandy for their shipping trade. 

Why Is Muscadet Called Muscadet?

The dry white wine Muscadet is named after the westernmost region or the Loire Valley where this wine’s produced. This is the largest white wine producing region in France.

At one time, the region made both red and white wines, but a severe winter killed off most red grape vines in 1709, which transformed the region into a white winemaking powerhouse.

Is Muscadet Expensive? 

Muscadet is a mid-priced white wine. Expect to pay between $15 – $25 USD for a bottle of imported Muscadet from France. 

  • $15 Muscadet will be fresh and ready to drink as soon as you buy it
  • $25 Muscadet will have lees aging, more pronounced aromatics, and the ability to age for 2-3 years

Of course, you’re likely to find cheaper Muscadet wines if you’re living in Europe and they should be very accessible if you’re traveling through the Loire.

What to Pair with Muscadet Wine?

what to pair with muscadet - oysters - muscadet wine

Muscadet’s made right along the Atlantic coast, making it an excellent option for all of your seafood pairings. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Shellfish
  • Poached white fish
  • Shrimp scampi
  • Grilled shrimp and green salad
  • Oysters
  • Clam chowder
  • Corn chowder
  • Fish tacos
  • Chips and guacamole
  • Turkey sandwiches
  • Grilled cheese

Helpful Tip: If you’re just getting started out with wine, I put together this quick overview of food with wine pairing to get you started. Side note – I spend just as much time thinking about food with wine pairing as I do deciding what I’m going to eat every night. Utter hedonism. What can I say?

How to Serve Muscadet wine?

serve muscadet chilled - fridge

Serve Muscadet wine chilled to lightly chilled. Take the wine out of the fridge and pour yourself a glass. If the wine seems closed (remember, this isn’t a very aromatic grape), then let it sit for 10-15 minutes to open up. 

Is Muscadet Right for You?

If you like Pinot Grigio, then you need to try Muscadet wines. In fact, I prefer a bottle of Muscadet wine over Pinot Grigio almost any day of the week. This friendly white wine is perfect for an uncomplicated, mid-week splurge.

Thirsty for More?

Looking for obscure white wines? Check out this post on White Wines of Spain if you’re looking for white wine inspiration. Highly underrated and utterly delicious.

And if you’re exploring French wines, here’s a post on France’s Jura, a lesser-known wine-growing region dedicated to tradition like no other.

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