Also known as the Western Loire, the Pay Nantais' most famous wine is Muscadet. The region takes its name from the city of Nantes, near to where the Loire empties into the Atlantic Ocean, and its wines have long been valued as an uncomplicated and ideal partner to the abundant seafood on offer. Once drunk mainly in the local area, by the late 20th century their easy charm had been discovered by the rest of the world and, to meet demand, most of the Pays Nantais is now given over to vineyards.
As well as the basic Muscadet AOC, other appellations are Muscadet Sèvre et Maine AOC (accounting for about 80% of Muscadet production), Muscadet de la Coteaux de la Loire AOC and Muscadet Côtes de Grand-Lieu AOC. Several VDQS appellations (between AOC and Vin de Pays in quality) also exist, the most famous of which is Gros Plant.
The Melon de Bourgogne grape is responsible for the famously crisp, fresh and deliciously simple white wines of Muscadet.
In the VDQS areas of Gros Plant, Fief-Vendéens and Coteaux d'Ancenis, a variety of red and white grapes are grown including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Gamay.
Cool, wet weather coming in from the Atlantic, as well as plenty of sun, is the secret behind Muscadet's vitality. It is a simple wine with simple needs.