Emma says: “It was especially difficult to select the wine we’d taste this week. If we stayed true to our usual mode of choice we would have gone for something that represented a true and classic taste of that grape.
The thing is that Chardonnay is a real chameleon. Even in its birthplace of Burgundy, it has an array of flavour profiles because it is the grape that most reflects where it is grown and how it is made. So if we start at the Northern tip of Burgundy in Chablis, the Chardonnay there is most often unoaked very brisk and zippy with striking minerality and fruit that is green apple or citrus in profile. But then you venture south from there and reach the Cote D’Or the aptly named section where some of the priciest wines come from; think Meursault or St Aubin. Here whites are oaked and therefore have a richness and buttery fruit flavour, plus differing mineral and complex expressions depending on the exact patch of land and winemaker who made them. It doesn’t stop there, as you get on the motorway and drive down to the Maconnais part of Burgundy, the climate gets warmer, and the wines tend to be unoaked, giving them rich but pure fruit flavours; think peaches, melon and honey.
I haven’t even mentioned the wider world of Chardonnay; venture into other classic regions like Adelaide Hills (Australia), Napa (California) or Mendoza (Argentina) and the array of styles will get even broader.
I hope I have made one point here. If you think you dislike Chardonnay it is probably because you haven’t found the one you like yet!
But onto the wine we tasted. I went big this week and selected my ultimate desert island wine, a Puligny Montrachet, from that Cote d’Or region. It was pricey but I really wanted to show Andy why I love this grape quite so much. We tasted one from David Moret, a new producer I have discovered who is well worth searching out. The experience was just what I hoped. Puligny has this amazing honeysuckle aroma which is bright and elegant. We had a 2014 which is a fantastic cool vintage and still very young in expression. To taste, it was so pure in flavour, a seamless line of creamy rich lemon curd, with electric minerality coming across as crunchy sea salt, interplaying well with the oak that gave it an almond nut richness, with a caramel twist. I could go on but I won’t bore you. I hope I have expressed why I find this wine so exciting. And if you want to try a slightly cheaper version I have tasted this producer’s Rully of the same vintage last week and it was great.
One confession is that we didn’t get the food match right. 52grapes is really challenging our social scheduling. We had to taste it last night and I got home late after meeting a friend so the only food we could summon was a takeaway pizza. Needless to say this isn’t going to be something I would recommend, and probably something I’d never repeat…”
Andy says: “I’m going to assume you all gave up reading this page by Emma’s 47th paragraph, and whatever I write here will remain unseen by human eyes.
I have two main takeaways from this week’s wine. 1 – I always thought I preferred unoaked Chardonnay, and 2 – I always thought I didn’t like Chardonnay. The first thing that hit me was the oak. To me it was ‘quite oaky’, but Emma mumbled something about the grape and the region and how it takes on so much flavour, or something. I don’t know, I was trying to watch Taskmaster at the same time and that took precedence.
There was also a big hit of acid. I didn’t get the same cheek-watering sensation as last week, this was more along the lines of a crisp, eye piercing, grimace. And then the cheek watering. All in all a tip top tipple, highly highly recommended.”
We will be heading straight to the the classic region of Burgundy. Our sub region of choice will be Puligny Montrachet. So head to the French white section and look for any of these, your choice may be dependent on how much you want to spend: Bourgogne Blanc, Macon Villages, Chablis, Pouily Fuisse, Rully, Chassagne Montrachet, Meursault or Puligny Montrachet.