WINE OF THE WEEK: Domaine de la Combe Vendange Nocturne Melon Blanc, Vin de France

£9–£11, The Daily Drinker, ND John, Noble Green Wines, Kwoff

If you’re not doing dry January but want to make a gesture, this perky, dry white from the Loire is a modest 11% alcohol and doesn't lack anything in the flavour department. It’s light bodied with an inviting floral nose and a palate of green pear, talcum powder, citrus acidity and sea spray.

Although the label states Vin de France and there's no vintage, Vendange Nocturne is to all intents and purposes a Muscadet. Domaine de la Combe is in Saint-Fiacre, in the superior heart of Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine, and this wine, like the estate’s other four, is made from Melon Blanc, the only grape variety allowed for Muscadet. The vineyards are organically cultivated and organic certification is set for this year.

It’s Vin de France because vigneron Pierre-Henri Gadais wanted to label it with the grape variety, but the Muscadet rules don’t allow that. So he sidestepped the regulations, called it Nocturne because the harvest took place in the cool of the night on 8 September 2020 and gave it an appealing label too. Once picked, the grapes were left in the cool for 12 hours to extract flavour from the skins before pressing. Fermentation was with natural vineyard yeasts and the wine was bottled on 23 November, putting the emphasis squarely on fruit flavour, not lees.

You could drink this with a plateau de fruits de mers, moules marinières or simple white fish, but its real mission in life is to perk you up at aperitif time. 11%


Domaine de la Combe Vendange Nocturne Melon Blanc, Vin de France


£8.99–£11.20, Vino Fandango, ND John, Noble Green Wines, The Daily Drinker, Monty Wines, Kwoff, Amps Wine Merchants; £53.94 for 6, All About Wine


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