Do modest white Burgundy wines exists?
White Burgandy wines – The most famous (and real expensive) Burgundies (from the Côte d’Or) have become museum pieces for most wine drinkers but it is still possible to find modest wines at fair prices, assuming you know where to look. This week column focus exclusively on white Burgundy. Burgundy is the birthplace of Chardonnay and the wines are 100% chardonnay.
Mâcon Villages is valued high in my household for a white Burgundy wine. Located at the southern end of Burgundy, with clay and alluvial soils overlaying limestone, chardonnay flourishes here. Mâcon chardonnay tends to be refreshingly lively and delicate. The coop Terres Secretes in Macon offers a lively Macon ( Macon Roche Vineuse 2015, SAQ # 12453955, $21). This unoaked white presents taut citrus, peach and honeysuckle aromas with a fresh and gourmand palate.
In the southern part of Macon, we also find the appellation of Viré Clessé. This is a relatively new appellation of Southern Burgundy. It covers the communes of Vire and Clesse, plus their immediate neighbors, Laize and Montbellet. The catchment area of the title sits midway between the towns of Tournus in the north and Macon in the south, with its eastern side bound by the Saone river. Classic Vire-Clesse wines offers aromas of acacia flowers and exotic fruits, with the best bottles having a mineral, flinty undertone known as gunflint.
The Burrier family has been in the winemaking business in the South of Burgundy for 500 years or six generations. They make a ravishing Viré Clessé 2014 ( SAQ # 13133970, $28.10). It has a nose that brings to mind pear nectar, zabaglione and elegant new wood. In addition, green apple and tropical pineapple. On the mouth, fresh tasting, bright and enveloping in your mouth with soft spice undertones and flinty finish. Delicious almond cream finale
A little more to the south, Pouilly-Fuissé has been getting more recognition among Canadian consumers, a vestige of its popularity in the last century. Its wines tend to be fuller with deeper fruit than Mâcon-Villages. Chateau Fuissé, the leading estate in the appellation craft soulful chardonnays for the price of a song. Its Tête de Cru 2014 ( SAQ # 11330101, $36.75) seduces with its pear, hazelnut butter and bruised yellow fruit character. It’s round and fleshy with the right acidity conferring it an harmonious quality.
Chablis can also be a source of good value, provided that you steer away from grand cru vineyards. I must say that wild expensive Chablis is out there issued from truly worthy vineyards at the epicenter of the region. The value wine comes at the hands of solid producers who make regional “Chablis” so named.
You will find excellent Chablis — one of chardonnay’s purest expressions — in the neighborhood of $20-$30 a bottle from Drouhin, La Chablisienne, Simonnet-Febvre, Louis Moreau, Moreau Pere et Fils, Servin or Joseph Faiveley, to name a few examples.
Ever since its founding in 1923, the co-operative La Chablisienne has been at the zenith of the modern co-operative movement and has broke the assumption that big (250,000 bottles/year) cannot be beautiful. Over the years, La Chablisienne has crafted a series of wonderful, age worthy wines that have positioned it at the top of the cooperative wine quality hierarchy; indeed, there are fewer cooperatives anywhere that make better wines than La Chablisienne. The grapes come from 300 winegrowers in the region and are vinified under the talented eye of Vincent Battement, who was 2016 IWC White Winemaker of the Year and 2016 IWSC French Producer of the Year.
Their Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaume 2015 ( SAQ # 11094671, $39.75) is a lot of wine for under $40. On the nose, all the textbook elements of the Chablis terroir: Chalk, gunflint and lots of white pepper. On the mouth, aromas bring to mind lots of citrus fruit. Well balanced and quite elegant like a good Chablis should be.
Spirit of the week:
Plantation Original Dark. SAQ # 13299291 $29.95
Plantation Original Dark uses elegant Trinidad rums that are distilled and matured a first time in Trinidad in heavily charred American Oak barrels in the tropical climate of the Caribbean. This initial ageing process imparts full-bodied flavours and a deep colour.
The blend of Trinidad and Jamaica then is aged a second time in medium toasted Maison Ferrand French oak barrels that impart spicy, tannin notes. This final step fine-tunes the rum and brings together all the aromas and flavours prior to bottling. This double ageing technique is the signature of Plantation Rums and allows Plantation Original Dark to develop into what is promised to be a rich-tasting, aromatic yet elegant dark rum. The result is a rum that can be enjoyed neat, but is also ideal in classic cocktails that call for a dark rum such as Mai Tai.
The Plantation original dark ( SAQ # .13299291, $29.95) brings to mind vanilla, chocolate milk, raisin christmas cake, with delicate nuances of roasted hazelnut and macadamia nuts. On the mouth is sweet tasting with flavours reminding me to mind dattes, dry blackcurrants. Luscious texture in the palate with a dry fruit finale.
Marco Giovanetti is an Italian-Venezuelan sommelier student in the ITHQ of Montreal, Quebec. He has 19 years of experience tasting wine from Europe and emerging wine regions from all over the world. You may contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org