The Chardonnay featured today is a Burgundy from the Cote Côte Chalonnaise sub-region, and, more specifically, the Montagny AOC. Personally, I am much more of a red wine drinker, and when I do go for whites, Chardonnay is not generally my first choice. I like trying new wines of all sorts, though, and this particular one turned out to be decidedly good…
- Winery: EARL Clos Salomon
- Price: $27.70 CDN
- Alcohol: 13%
- Sugar: < 1.2 g/L
This Chardonnay has a very pale straw color with a slight greenish tint. It has green and golden apples on the nose with faint floral notes, some peach and a touch of honey. It is medium full bodied with a rich, almost buttery texture. The acidity is refreshing and the initial impact is robust with the sharp savor of green apple followed by a more mellow fruitiness. It has some floral tones, and a woody note along with a very faint hint of fennel. The overall effect is well-rounded and very nice indeed.
The Rully AOC appellation of Burgundy includes both red and whites from the Chalonnaise subregion, with Pinot Nor and Chardonnay being the main varietals. Today’s selection is a Pinot Noir, and a very nice one indeed….
- Producer: Domaine Claudie Jobard
- Price: $29.95 CDN
- Alcohol: 13%
- Sugar: 1.8 g/L
The color is a very dark cherry red. It has an exceptionally aromatic nose with cherry, raspberry and dark fruit dominating above some highlights that are faintly floral and grassy. The texture is fairly smooth and medium bodied and the effect is quite dry. The acidity and tannins are both moderately light and well balanced, with the tannins lasting fairly long into a decent finish. Blackcurrant and sweet cherry dominate the fruits and the floral quality of the nose is far more pronounced on the palate. There is also a spicy, peppery quality, along with a definite woodiness and leather, that all develop well together at first, with wood and pepper finishing. The floral quality is a bit strong, but, overall, this is a lovely sipping wine.
Chablis, is well a well known name and refers to Chardonnays from Burgundy, but, while there is a specific Chablis AOC, there is also a lesser known ‘Petit Chabis’ AOC as well. The wines belonging to this AOC are sometimes regarded as the ‘jewels’ of Chablis, but I was not overly impressed with today’s representative selection …
- Winery: Domaine Chevalier
- Price: $23.55 at SAQ
- Alcohol: 12%
- Sugar: 3.4 g/L
This Chardonnay is a medium straw color with a slight reddish tint. The nose is muted with very little in the way of fruitiness. It is very strong on straw and dried grass and also has a sulfur component. It is off dry and moderately acidic with muted sour apple flavors coupled with hay, and there is a strong vegetal and mineral presence as well. I thought the balance was ragged and the overall effect not especially pleasing.
As I have mentioned before, the wine classification scheme in Burgundy is the most complex in all France, with geographical location being supplanted by a classification system of all. The top-most of these is the ‘Grand Cru’ designation, with the second being Premier (1er) Cru. Today’s Chardonnay, is from the Cote Chalonnaise subregion of Burgundy, where there is not only a Montagny AOC, but 49 vineyards in the district that are entitled, as with this selection, to carry the Montagny 1er Cru AOC on their labels…
- Winery: La Cave des Vignerons de Buxy
- Price: $24.95 CDN
- Alcohol: 13%
- Sugar < 1.2 g/L
The color of this Chardonnay is a very pale, slightly greenish yellow. The fruity component of the nose is muted, but slightly aromatic, and there is a flinty, mineral quality with some notes of grass and hay. The texture is smooth and the brisk acidity strikes sharply at first, but in a way that is refreshing rather than overwhelming. There are green and yellow apple notes beneath a very pleasant woodiness, and these components are rounded out by a faint smoky honey effect. This a very decent Chardonnay, and probably one of the better ones I have tasted thus far.
This selection is a Pinot Noir from Burgundy’s Gevrey-Chambertin AOC in the Cote de Nuits Subregion. At $56, it is approaching the upper limit of what I will generally pay for a bottle of wine outside a restaurant and, unfortunately, it was a bit disappointing. I might have given a three star rating if this had been a relatively cheap purchase, but, given the price-tag, I only rate it at two…
- Winery: Bouchard Père & Fils
- Price: $56.25 at SAQ
- Alcohol: 13%
- Sugar: 2.1 g/L
This Pinot Noir medium ruby with a slightly rusty quality. The nose is quite aromatic featuring cherry and raspberry, with robust floral notes and a faintly vegetal, forest-floor undertone. It is medium bodied and quite dry with an acidity that kicks in immediately and then mellows as the tannins develop. The latter are smooth at first but get a bit jarring towards the end and leave a faintly acrid taste in a finish that is quite short. The dominant taste is sour cherry with some plum, and the floral quality of the nose comes through but is more muted. There is a woodiness but no special highlights. Possibly a few more years will improve the roughness of this vintage.
Pouilly-Fuisse is one of those wine names that became lodged in my mind long before I ever became a confirmed oenophile. Like, say, ‘Chateau Lafite Rothschild’, or ‘La Veuve Clicquot, the name carries a certain cachet, but, until now, I had never tried one of these.
The Pouilly-Fuisse AOC belongs to the Maconnais sub-region of Burgundy and the grape used in that AOC is exclusively Chardonnay. I am not a huge fan of that varietal, as I think I have mentioned before, but this particular wine is very good indeed….
- Producer: Albert Bichot
- Price: $25.40 CDN
- Alcohol : 13.3%
- Sugar: 1.6 g/L
The color is a fairly pale straw color with a faint greenish tinge. The nose is quite aromatic with aromas of honey, peach and green apple, with some moderately strong floral highlights, and there are background tones of dry grass and sawdust. The body is medium full and the texture quite smooth, albeit with a mineral hard edge. It is very dry, with a sharp burst of acidity at the outset that moderates through to the nice long finish. The fruitiness of the nose is not quite as forward in the mouth but the woodiness is much more apparent and has a quality of fresh cut wood with a surprising hint of balsam. There are mineral notes beneath a mellow honey taste and, overall, the wine is sharply refreshing and interesting.
I have mentioned before that Burgundy has the most complex and extensive Appellation Control regime (AOC) in all France. Today’s wine is from the Bourgogne AOC, which is the broadest, and, as generally regarded, at the bottom of the AOC ‘pyramid’. This is generally supposed to be reflected in the general quality but this is frequently not the case and this particular Bourgogne happens to be pretty decent…
- Winery: Boisseaux-Estivant
- Price: $21.90 CDN
- Alcohol: 12.5%
- Sugar: 1.5 g/L
The color is a medium cherry-red. The nose is quite aromatic with dark red and black fruit, dried flowers, and a very slightly musty vegetal quality.It is quite light bodied, fairly smooth and dry with a moderately high acidity that rises quickly at the start and then subsides to allow the tannins to develop. These are of moderate strength at first and then rise well into the finish where the quite tart acidity reasserts itself again. It is less aromatically fruity in the mouth as on the nose and the vegetal quality is a bit more pronounced, with woody notes, a mild floral spiciness and just a whisper of vanilla. The lack of body is its weakness, but it is not bad overall.
Burgundy, of all the wine-producing regions France, is the most complicated. There is a dizzying number of AOC’s (more than any other region on France), and the general supposition is that there is an in increase in quality from the basic Bourgougne AOC up to the Grand Crus. In wine after wine,however, the lie is given to this general notion, and today’s selection, from the Chorey-Lès-Beaune AOC, is indicative of that …
- Winery: Catherine et Claude Maréchal
- Price: $40.75 CDN
- Alcohol: 13%
- Sugar: 1.7 g/L
This wine is medium ruby in color and has a muted nose of red, slightly cooked fruit, and a faint floral background. It has a medium full body with a silky texture, and is off-dry with moderate acidity and smooth tannins that get bolder at the end. The floral notes dominate over subtle, slightly sour red fruit, and there is a hint of spice as well as a touch of leather. I had some of this with a mild beef stew and it didn’t stand up well, leaving a slightly acrid taste. Interestingly, I later drank one glass with peanuts,which resulted, as a combination, in a taste of turkey. Overall, the wine was not all that bad bad but not worth the relatively high price.
Today’s choice is Burgundy from the Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune AOC. It is a little pricey, and rather unusual, but still very good.
- Winery: Domaine Billard Père et Fils
- Price: $25.15 CDN
- Alcohol: 12%
- Sugar: 2.1 g/L
This wine has a pale ruby color and I noted a very slight effervescence on decanting. There is dark berry on the nose, along with a woody, earthy quality and faint notes of flowers and spice. It has a medium body, with a pleasantly smooth texture, and the tannins and acidity both in the low-moderate range. The latter is very indistinct at the start but develops more fully towards the end. A slightly tart base of red berry is overlaid with a definite taste of orange blossom and tea, and there is also a mild spiciness with a hint of leather. Overall, the combination of flavors is quite offbeat but very pleasing.
Burgundy is world known for excellent wines but, quite often, one finds the quality to be hit or miss. Expensive ones can be disappointing, and the cheaper ones can sometimes surprise. Today’s selection is not especially expensive, but it is one of the AOC wines above the basic ‘Bourgogne’ designation and that tends to give a certain expectation of quality. It is not a bad wine by any means, but not particularly noteworthy either …
The pertinent details are as follows:
- Winery: Marquis de Jouennes d’Herville
- Region: Burgundy, Cote Chalonnaise , Mercurey AOC
- Price: $27.60 CDN
- Alcohol: 12.8%
- Sugar: 2.7 g/L
The color is not especially attractive: It is a pale, rather watery ruby and faintly turbid. The nose is indistinct with a vague red berry base with some floral and vegetal notes and not very pleasant meaty quality. It is medium to light bodied and fairly dry with moderate acidity and medium strength tannins, both of which complement each other quite well and carry on through a decently long finish. The overall effect is not especially interesting. Slightly sour red fruit is overlaid with a somewhat earthy, forest floor quality and a hint of butcher-shop. There is a little spiciness and some floral notes but not enough to to provide any good highlights. Overall, it is not bad but not really worth the price.