Most people think that Muscadet is a simple and fresh wine that is a cheap and oyster friendly. However, these wines can vary drastically in their style, complexity, and consequently in the foods that they can be paired with. Some Muscadet can even be as complex and rich as a Meursault (yet cost less than half as much)!
Over the course of the next few months, I will be featuring various wines from the Muscadet region with a focus on the different foods that pair well with them. The first wine is by Domaine Brégeon. Michel Brégeon is known for making super complex wines by keeping the wines sur lie for years (some as long as seven years!). Everything in this winery is hand harvested and fermented with natural yeasts. Sur lie simply refers to fermenting the wine with the yeasts and bottling it without fining, which adds more depth and complexity to the wine.
We have a few bottles from Domaine Brégeon with varying levels of complexity but the first one that I will feature is the l’Original Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine sur lie. Fred Lailler took over in 2011 and l’Original is one of his wines. I’m drinking a bottle from 2014. This is a crisp and refreshing wine with lots of citrus aromas.
Since this is a wine high in acidity, I will actually pair this wine with two seafood dishes that are served with lemon juice. The sourness from the lemon in these dishes will actually work to balance the acidity in the wine. The end result: a softer, rounder wine. The first dish is baby shrimp. I love these tiny little critters and you can prepare them yourself from scratch or buy them from the seafood market already cooked. Because you eat these little critters with the shell, they tend to have a stronger (and more delicious) flavor than the larger ones.
Add a squirt of lemon and they’re ready to be enjoyed with Muscadet!
The next dish is everyone’s favorite appetizer: calamari rings. I marinated the calamari in some lemon juice and chopped fennel seeds for about an hour before deep frying. A squirt of lemon goes a long way to add freshness to fried foods and it’s this bit of lemon that makes the calamari a perfect match to the l’Original. Calamari is so easy to make and this dish came out so perfect. I will definitely be making this again and again.
It’s so interesting how lemon interacts with wine! It can make or break a pairing and in this case, it definitely takes the pairing to the next level of deliciousness. Next time try an acidic wine with lemon and you’ll be surprised how well it works!