Muscadet - one of the last undervalued classics

Few classic French wines are undervalued anymore, but let me make one suggestion - Muscadet. For years we all knew Muscadet largely as a source of cheap, dry, neutral white wine. But thanks to some pioneering producers focusing on quality rather than quantity, it's clear that Muscadet is capable of so much more. There are wines made here that offer depth, energy and a stony minerality that would make famous names in Chablis proud, and which they could sell for at least double the price.

Which brings me to the perfect example. Domaine de la Pépière was created by Marc Olivier in 1984. Everything is farmed organically with some biodynamic elements incorporated. All harvesting is done by hand, and in the winery the minimal intervention approach continues. The basic Muscadet is lovely and great value, but it is the single vineyard wine, Les Briords, that is remarkable. It comes from a three hectare plot of sixty year old vines grown on granite soils. The grapes are hand-harvested and fermentation takes place with wild yeasts in an underground vat. The wine is then aged on its lees for seven months.

Les Briords is a lovely, stony dry wine that balances ripe apple fruit with a fresh, slightly salty tang. It is long, complex and refreshing. And while it's delicious now, Muscadet of this quality can age like a Premier Cru Chablis, so don't discount stashing some away. At this price, it's a lot of wine for the money.

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