11:42PM | Nantes | Loire Valley
A morning drive through the Vallée de la Loire — sprawling fields of wheat and corn dotted with grain elevators and crumbling churches. Our first tasting is with a familiar Muscadet producer — pure and expressive wines showing far more complexity than most expect from the grape.
Lunch in a nearby town — cucumber and carrot rapée with a balsamic dressing — then back for another Muscadet tasting at 2pm. These are richer with less minerality and more gras. Our final tasting of the day is with a tiny producer — a small-scale farmer as much as anything else. His Muscadet is crisp and lively, with good length and a pleasant finish.
We drive into Nantes, check into the hotel, and ditch the car. Dinner is fresh Breton oysters — strong flavored and brisk — from just up the Brettagne coast; and a confited hake, with spring peas and squid-ink pasta. We sit out on a square and watch the Friday evening crowd of students pass by, as we compile our “Best Of” list from the trip.
Paris tomorrow, then home.