Friday, March 3, 2017

Building White Burgundy

The white burgundy wines have always been a difficult category for me to get my head around.  I suppose it’s the wide variation in styles, compounded by technical issues that can be interpreted as complexity or faulty.  How far can you accept sulphide reduction and oxidative aspects before they are too much to handle?  Then there’s the issue of ‘pre-mox’.  Have the vignerons moved on, knowing how to prevent it?   I was raised on a diet of Joseph Drouhin wines, and learnt to love their elegant style.  But after that came the full-on styles of Lafon, and then the very subtle styles of Chartron.  The great wines, no matter what they were in style always shone through.  They had put on weight and richness, and had layers of interest
The negociant Chartron & Trebuchet white burgundies disappointed me.  They were lighter than light and more delicate than delicate, to the point of dilution.  Yet the Jean Chartrom Estate wines were altogether something else.  It is often the way between your own fruit and that purchased, the latter not quite meeting the standards of the former.  So when SWMBO and I visited The Orbiter, he produced a 2007 Jean Chartron Puligny-Montrachet 1er ‘Clos de la Pucelles’, a monopole wine too.  I knew we were in for a treat.  But it was more than that, it was gorgeous.  Still pale in colour, the nose exuded layers of white stonefruits, mealy notes, nuts and toast, all beautifully integrated, yet with a degree of power.  The palate reinforced the bouquet.  Lovely elegance and concentration, with a depth and density that was not surly in any way.  This had the stony/floral minerals of Puligny, with the understated richness and class of Pucelles.  The freshness and acidity just rounded to perfection.  Jean Chartron might not quite have the glamour of Leflaive or Ramonet, but this was up there.  Chartron knows how to build a great white burgundy.

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