Muscadet is a light bodied, fruity varietal that is typically quite acidic. The grape buds early and needs a relatively long growing season to develop its varietal characteristics. In the vineyard, the Muscadet grape is delicate and susceptible to mildew and mold.
In the past, many California producers have planted the Muscadet grape thinking that it was Pinot Blanc. Genetic studies at UC Davis have sorted out some of this confusion. Some wineries in California use lees stirring and a bit of skin maceration to give wines made from the Muscadet grape more body and character.
In the Western Loire Valley, Muscadet is made into very light, dry white wines. They pair exceptionally well with local shellfish and other light seafood. The Muscadet grape thrives in this marginal climate because it is naturally resistant to cold weather. Even still, late spring frosts can menace the grape. Sevre-et-Maine produces the most complex Muscadet.