A Chardonnay evening (mostly burgundian)

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A Chardonnay evening (mostly burgundian)

Postby Tim York » Wed Jul 26, 2006 9:19 am

To combat the heat-wave, white wine was indicated and the choice fell this time upon Chardonnay. However in an evening temperature of close to 30°C (over 80°F), it was difficult to keep the wines at the right temperature; either initially too cold for expression or becoming warmer than ideal. Luckily fine subtle chardonnay from Burgundy stands up than most whites to warming temperatures.

- Champagne Terre de Vertus 1er cru – blanc de blancs non dosé – from Larmandier-Bernier . As the glasses were being poured, I could already smell that this was a good one. Refreshingly crisp and biscuity with good flesh (“gras”) and elegance. Much more velvety than most “non dosé” which can be too austere for some palates, e.g. Laurent-Perrier’s ultra brut. 16/20.

- Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre Corps de Garde 2001 from Ghislaine et Jean-Hugues Goisot. Quite a surprise. Crisply fruity and mineral with good flesh. Very enjoyable. 15.5/20.

- Val de Sil – Godello sobre lias Valdeorras- 2004 from Bodegas Valdesil. A ringer served blind. Could be mistaken for a warm climate chardonnay. Creamy and easy to dink but a bit bland. 14.5/20.

- Chablis 1er cru Butteaux 1998 from Domaine François Raveneau. Moving right into the top league! A bit shy at first but opening up into a beautifully classy wine with a measure of austerity but with complex nutty and mineral notes on a full body. 18/20.

- Chablis 1er cru Fouchaume 1996 from Domaine Chantemerle (Boudin). Oxidized.

- Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru Les Vergers 1990 from René Lequin-Colin. Over the hill. Would have been richly burnished a couple or so years ago but now showing signs of breaking up with rotting fruit hints (much more marked 24 hours later). Probably was 16/20 but now 13.5/20.

- Meursault-Perrières 1er cru 1992 from Domaine des Comtes Lafon. Colour quite brown like the Forchaume caused misgivings as it was poured but happily they were not warranted. Luscious and richly burnished with reasonable acid balance but still marked by its “élevage” in new oak. Maybe 17.5/20 for those who like that style but for me 15/20.

- Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 1er cru 1995 from Domaine Leflaive. There was a tiny trace of off flavour at first but for all but one of us this was lost in the greatness of what was there. Beautifully minerality and fleshy fruit allied with great elegance, good length and great class. No trace of exaggeration of creaminess like perhaps the previous and next. 18/20 (turning a bind eye to the off trace).

- Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru Clos de la Maltroie 2000 from Domaine Michel Niellon. A liitle shy at first but opening up into a hedonistic wine. Richly creamy and fleshy but quite exhilarating and, for me, several notches above the Lafon Perrières because the wood was far less marked and the impression was more suave and elegant. 16.5/20.

All in all and interesting evening with some fine wines but, with apologies to Raveneau and Leflaive, I was left with a slightly heavy and cloying impression and I think that a Riesling or Chenin evening would have been more refreshing and would have shown more wines with real finesse and distinction.

Where were the New World and other “foreign” chardonnays? Well, first, Belgium tends to be francophile wine-wise and, therefore, there are not many dealers with a good choice from other origins. Second, warm climate chardonnays tend to be heavier, buttery and, for me, too alcoholic, whereas in most years in Burgundy there is the saving grace of good acidity and minerality. However, at tastings, I have come across some nice Chardonnays from New Zealand. And the Leeuwin Art Series is a good ringer for Lafon.

-
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Re: A Chardonnay evening (mostly burgundian)

Postby Rahsaan » Wed Jul 26, 2006 9:45 am

Refreshingly crisp and biscuity with good flesh (“gras”) and elegance. Much more velvety than most “non dosé”


Is that flesh consistent across different bottlings of this? Or a reflection of recent hot year fruit?
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Re: A Chardonnay evening (mostly burgundian)

Postby Tim York » Wed Jul 26, 2006 9:49 am

[/quote] Is that flesh consistent across different bottlings of this? Or a reflection of recent hot year fruit?[/quote]

I don't know the answer to that. But it's a good excuse to buy more in order to find out.
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Re: A Chardonnay evening (mostly burgundian)

Postby Rahsaan » Wed Jul 26, 2006 10:16 am

Yes, I'm a big fan myself, just picked up a bottle yesterday I'm waiting to open, but was wondering how it might vary as I don't necessarily remember 'gras' from my previous experience. But I guess it is relative and in context of the idiom as you say.
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Re: A Chardonnay evening (mostly burgundian)

Postby wrcstl » Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:45 am

Tim York wrote:I think that a Riesling or Chenin evening would have been more refreshing and would have shown more wines with real finesse and distinction.


Tim,
Thanks for the notes. Adds fuel to the fire on oxidized '96 whites from Burgundy. With the exception of a good crisp non-oaked Chablis I am becoming a Riesling and Chenin Blanc fan almost to a fault.
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Re: A Chardonnay evening (mostly burgundian)

Postby JeanF » Wed Jul 26, 2006 5:01 pm

It was a ery nice evening. I have a more contrasted taste than the more civilized Tim.

I thought the Reveneau and the LEflaive to be in the BundesLiga.

The Comtes Lafon tasted like I think Maradona tastes today (if you get the "chance" to do so). Too filed with everything. I have yet to have a decent lafon. Gosh, what a waste of terroir... Glad this is the one but last bottle by this totally over-rated producer.

The Corps de Garde was better than its level - this is how great middle of the range Chablis should taste like. A great QPR for EUR 12.

I didn"t care for the Niellon as it was just simple and open and offerred no layer of complexity. And I brought the bottle, so I have all reasons to feel the "love your children" syndrome.

Cheers!
www.moselfinewines.com
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Re: A Chardonnay evening (mostly burgundian)

Postby Mark Lipton » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:29 am

wrcstl wrote:Thanks for the notes. Adds fuel to the fire on oxidized '96 whites from Burgundy. With the exception of a good crisp non-oaked Chablis I am becoming a Riesling and Chenin Blanc fan almost to a fault.
Walt


What, no Melon? Heresy!!!

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Re: A Chardonnay evening (mostly burgundian)

Postby JC (NC) » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:43 pm

I have really enjoyed the few tastings I've had of Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles (going back to an adult education course on wines at University of Maryland in the 1970's) Some fine vines there!
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