Wine Focus: White Burgundy
To most people, "Burgundy" means "red," to the extent that the word "burgundy" appears in the dictionary as both a red wine and a red color.
There's good reason for this, as the great red grape Pinot Noir reaches what many would consider its highest expression in France's Burgundy (Bourgogne) region, and close to three-fourths of all the vines planted there are Pinot Noir.
But there's White Burgundy, too, mostly made from Chardonnay with smaller plantings of the less-respected Aligoté; and many would argue that Burgundy's white Chardonnay-based wines rank in the world's top tier, too.
From generic Bourgogne Chardonnay and the relatively modest White Burgundy producing regions such as Mâcon-Villages, St.-Veran and the popular Pouilly-Fuissé; the classic Chablis region lying north of the main Burgundy region at its far north end, and names to conjure with from the Côte d'Or, Meursault and the lofty Le Montrachet, there's a White Burgundy for just about every budget except, perhaps, the bargain basement: It's hard to find much of it below $15 to $20 these days.
In contrast with fat, buttery and oaky New World Chardonnays, White Burgundies in general may range from lean and crisp to rich but acidic; the good ones offer intriguing minerality, and those that spend time in oak generally show their wood as a subtle touch rather than a whack with a plank.
Sadly, though, this too is no longer guaranteed, as the lure of the American export market and the possibility of ratings from U.S. critics who favor oak have prompted some producers to fashion their White Burgundies in a New World style. The relatively modest generic Bourgogne Chardonnay featured in my tasting note below, the 2007 from Louis Jadot, may fall into this category, at least in the aroma department, where a distinct note of butter betrays an approach that adds a hint of California to France.
We're featuring White Burgundies across their range in this month's Wine Focus on our WineLovers Discussion Group.
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Today's Tasting Report
Louis Jadot 2007 Bourgogne Chardonnay ($15.99)
Transparent straw color. Fresh apples and pineapple and a distinct back note of butter, bearing enough resemblance to a California Chardonnay to make me wonder if it's designed for U.S. export. It's more Old World on the palate, though, medium-bodied and tart, simple white fruit and fresh acidity in a good, firm structure that makes it a useful table wine. U.S. importer: Kobrand Corp., NYC. (June 15, 2010)
FOOD MATCH: Fine with chicken, seafood, pork and ripe cheeses. It was an excellent match with a pan-seared, oven-finished natural locavore pork chop with garlic and fresh sage.
VALUE: Retail prices around the U.S. range from $13 to $18 on Wine-Searcher.com, so it's worth shopping around. Certainly the middle teens is a fair neighborhood for this wine.
Bourgogne = "Boor-gon-yuh"
WEB LINK: In the winery Website's English language pages, click "Wine Notes," then find "Bourgogne Chardonnay" or other wines of interest in the "wine list" index on the left.
Here's a fact sheet about Louis Jadot Bourgogne Chardonnay on the importer's Web page.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Find vendors and compare prices for Louis Jadot Bourgogne Chardonnay on Wine-Searcher.com.
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