From Chablis in the north to Pouilly-Fuissé in the south, and including two First Growths from Chassagne-Montrachet in the heart of the Côte de Beaune, these six Chardonnays add up to a comprehensive survey of the state of the art in White Burgundy.
Laroche ‘Les Chanoines’ Chablis 2016
Michel Laroche is the fifth generation of his family to grow Chardonnay grapes and/or make fine Chardonnay wine in the village where he was born and bred. You could say he has Chablis running in his veins. This wine is quintessential Chablis -- it has harmony, fresh acidity, beautiful fruit and a delicate touch of shell-like minerality.
Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Bourgogne Chardonnay 2016
Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey launched his own domaine in 2005 after making wine for his father for many years. His holdings are mostly in Chassagne-Montrachet, where the domaine is located, and he is considered a star among the younger generation in Burgundy. His decisions in favour of large barrels and against batonnage (lees stirring) have made each one of his bottlings a clear expression of its terroir and a study in mineral-driven Chardonnay. Look for a pretty, floral, minerally bouquet with crisp lemon and white peach flavours in this exceptional Bourgogne Blanc, which wildly outperforms its humble status.
Domaine Michelot ‘Les Narvaux’ Meursault 2015
The vines are located on the upper slopes above the Meursault 1er Cru Genevrières appellation. The clay/limestone soil has a subsoil of extremely hard white rock riddled with fissures, which allow the roots to penetrate. The parcel’s southern exposure, coupled with a steady 20% slope, affords the grapes excellent ventilation leading to a harvest that is generally both ripe and healthy. The wine often presents aromas of candied orange (or other citrus fruits) on the nose and in the mouth.
Francois Carillon Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru 2016
Winemaking in the Carillon family dates back to the sixteenth century. François Carillon established his own domaine only in 2010, however. "François prefers to prune hard and debud vigorously in the spring in order to restrict yields and ensure good ripening and concentrated flavours. He finds this preferable to a green harvest in the summer by which time he feels it is too late to produce a balanced crop." (Remington Norman, The Great Domaines of Burgundy). This wine is vinified in the traditional Burgundy style, with fermentation in small oak casks, and ageing in Allier oak, up to 25% new.
Jean Noel Gagnard ‘Clos de la Maltroye’ 1er Cru, Chassagne-Montrachet 2015
Caroline Lestimé’s 0.34ha plot, formerly Pinot Noir, was replanted in 1990 to Chardonnay. The vineyard faces south-east at 250m altitude, half-way up a moderately-steep slope of stony clay over limestone blocks. Viticulture is certified organic and biodynamic. Hand-picked grapes undergo a delicate pneumatic pressing before 24 to 48 hours static settling in tank followed by indigenous yeast alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in 228 litre oak barrels at 18°C. The wine matures for 18 months aging on lees in barrels (30-35% new) at 10-12°C.
Roc des Boutires Pouilly Fuissé 2014
The grapes for this wine were grown on clay and limestone soils in the south of Burgundy. The old-vine vineyards here, planted in the late 1950s, are elevated at between 250m and 500m and provide this wine with both maturity and freshness. The grapes are hand-picked and gravity processed as whole bunches before cold (8°C) fermentation. Most of the wine (60%) is aged on lees in second and older-use oak barrels (Allier) for 15 months with some lees-stirring.
The wine offers up fragrant aromas of peach, citrus pith and struck match, followed by a bright, light to medium-bodied palate with moderate texture and tangy acids... expect it to round out in bottle.
Wine Advocate, June 2018
A really lovely wine, and an outstanding wine for such a basic appellation. It has the usuall PYCM hallmarks of flint minerality and racy -- but ripe -- fruit, the palate tight, lean and crisp, but also quite intense. The finish is only medium-length but the wine is beautifully poised and drinking superbly now. It shows some attractive oak, unexpectedly, and is surprisingly complex for a Bourgogne blanc.
93 points, Real Review, October 2018
Stony and uncompromising. Very much PYCM style. Not nearly ready. You might almost take this for a Chablis in structure. Extremely bracing.
16+/20 points, jancisrobinson.com, November 2017
Vibrant and bright colour, yellow-gold hints. Aromas of peach and honey. The palate is well-balanced with lime, orange peel and citrus notes.
...an interesting hint of mandarin orange... good volume, density and power to the medium-bodied flavours that possess... better delineation on the saline, complex and lingering finale. While this should reward 6 to 8 years of cellaring, the abundance of dry extract should permit it to be enjoyable young.
90-92 points, Burghound, June 2018
The vineyard was converted from Pinot Noir to Chardonnay in 1990, the 25-year-old vines young by the standards of Burgundy. Has excellent drive and intensity, purity and balance its hallmarks, the flavours persisting long after the wine has left the mouth. Citrus and green apple are the main drivers of flavour, coupled with very good acidity. Fresh as a daisy.
94 points, James Halliday, 2018