The festivities began with a traditional tasting from the "barrique des retrouvailles," the celebration barrel. According to the Nantes Wine Bureau, the overall condition of the 1998 vintage was healthy. The harvest yielded 18.2 million gallons of Muscadet, of which some 35 percent is Muscadet Sur Lie. Released in mid-June, the 1998 Muscadet Sur Lie wines are generally firm and well-balanced and were aged on their lees longer than usual. Many of the wines showed flavors of green apples, pears, citrus and minerals. Muscadets are ready to drink immediately, but the best will do well with one to two years of bottle age.
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