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  •   Welcome to Melon de Bourgogne.com!

    This website is the place for information about wines from the Melon de Bourgogne (AKA Muscadet) winegrape in America. Although very popular in Europe, this wine is almost unknown in the US. We hope this website will help change this.

    Big news! Last week, MelondeBourgogne.com was mentioned in an article in the Wall Street Journal! (free access to article for 7 days has expired.)
    Even more big news! Our founder, Perennial Vintners, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal Wine Notes column this week! (article here search for "a couple's adventure with melon", oldest entry in 2008.)

    Melon de Bourgogne (AKA Muscadet)

     
    Maps from Lonely Planet -- The Loire

    The Melon de Bourgogne winegrape is grown in France near the Atlantic Ocean end of the Loire valley, near the city of Nantes. It originated in Burgundy (Bourgogne is the French name for Burgundy.) The wines from this grape in this region are called "Muscadet". Muscadet should not be confused with the various "Muscat"s which are a different winegrape, or "Muscatel" (which in America is simply a generic name for any sweet wine made from Muscat grapes, but is more famous for being a fortified Muscat wine from Portugal), or "Muscadine" which is an entirely different family of grape (Muscadinia Rotundifolia; most wines are made from Vitis Vinifera).

    Europeans have long been aware that this wine is the best wine ever made for seafood. Hugh Johnson states "... for seafood, there is the incomparable match of Muscadet" (1). I feel he's understating it <grin!>

    The Muscadet region produces about 5 million cases of this wine annually (2). When visiting Paris, I've found that there's Muscadet displayed in most every wine shop window, and on most restaurant wine lists. This is also true in Britain -- Muscadet wines are commonplace (3). Yet it's virtually unknown in America... Some wine specialty shops will carry it, and an occasional fine restaurant, but that's about it.

    Melon de Bourgogne was brought to America in 1939 by Georges de Latour. For many years the wines were labeled, incorrectly as Pinot Blanc, which is an entirely different winegrape (4).

    Several California producers have produced a labeled Melon de Bourgogne wine in the past, including Merlion and Beaulieu Vineyards, though I know of none at this writing. A few California wineries are reputed to produce wines from this grape, though labeled as Pinot Blanc (5). There are but three examples of this wine from American producers that are actually labeled as Melon de Bourgogne, all from Oregon. Washington State has one significant planting, although the vineyard is not yet mature enough to produce commercial quantities of wine.

    If you've not tried this wine before, we strongly encourage you to drop by your favorite wine shop and get a bottle -- they may have one or two French Muscadet wines. (It's unlikely that they'll have any of the aforementioned as the American plantings are so rare. If your wine shop does have any of them, you've found a gem of a shop!) If they have none, that's no surprise. However, if they don't immediately offer to order some for you, then you've learned something about your local wine shop, haven't you? (6)

    References:
    (1) Hugh Johnson's "Modern Encyclopedia of Wine (1987)
    (2) Don Philpott, The Vineyards of France (1987)
    (3) Lempriere family visits to France & Italy (2004); Jersey (Channel Islands) & England (2000)
    (4) Melon de Bourgogne History
    (5) ibid
    (6) Mike Lempriere, author of MikeL's WA Winery Guide, 2004


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