Wine X Staff
They say that everything is better at the source, especially if the heart of the source is steeped in family and tradition. A melt-in-your-mouth croissant is going to taste best straight from the oven of a little old baker who has been making them for 70 years. A spaghetti sauce is going to be your favorite dish at your grandmother’s house from a recipe passed down over generations. And by definition, the same goes for wine.
Being at a winery is a wonderful experience — seeing the vineyards, being surrounded by the essence of the wine, immersing yourself in more than just the taste but the whole process — That wine will often taste better in that moment than the same wine at a random restaurant. Regardless, a glass of good wine is a good wine. And my mother’s favorite wine in the world is a Muscadet from the Loire Valley in France.
It just so happens, I have two very good friends who are from this region and much to my mother’s delight, I had the pleasure of visiting their hometown. Now I have been to Paris before. I have drank incredible local wine at a Parisian cafe and watched the world stroll by. I have gone all in on that magical French experience, which is eating and drinking in their country. But this was not like anything I could have imagined.
After being picked up by my friends from the Nantes airport, we maneuvered roundabouts and sped through the streets of rural France for about an hour. The sun was just approaching golden hour, and I stared out the window watching the fields of harvested grapes sprawl out around me. Every so often, I would shout out “Cow!” or “Goat! In excitement at the sight of a happy little farm animal grazing in this gorgeous landscape.
Eventually, we reached their village, La Guiltiere, a tiny village about an hour southeast of Nantes. With a population of around 200 and no restaurants or grocery stores, this tiny village was home to humble farmers, bakers and winemakers.
I was awestruck by the scenery, a cluster of quaint village homes nestled together and surrounded by sprawling vineyards. I went for a short walk around their house and out into the fields, the sun was setting, and it was silent except for birds and church bells in the distance.
Dinner that night was accompanied by a large family gathering, everyone still living in that small village, we sat around a big dining room eating onion and goat cheese flatbreads, chocolate cake, and sliced sausages. The kids ran about laughing and playing, and we passed around unmarked bottles of freshly tapped Muscadet wine pulled that afternoon from a cousin’s backyard barrel. We drank and laughed, and I fumbled around in broken French. I felt welcome and accepted and far away from my LA home in the best way. They gave me several bottles of that unmarked-family-made Muscadet wine to bring home to my mother and lots of big hugs and kisses with promises to return soon.
Flying home, I felt warmed from the infinitely large love in that tiny village, and now Muscadet will hold a very special place in my heart — each glass of wine holding the memories of the families who makes them far off in a tiny village across the world.