Since my knowledge has been lacking and I do usually really enjoy the wines of Burgundy, I was looking forward to a recent tasting featuring two dozen wineries from Burgundy and the Jura. With a schedule permitting just about an hour, I didn’t even taste any wines that were burgundy in color; I limited myself to the whites from Burgundy, even missing a number of those producers, and omitting completely the reds, even from some famed – and expensively wrought – appellations and the oft-interesting wines from Jura. There was too much vinous goodness for me too completely squeeze in that day.
The white wines I was able to sample were from Antoine Olivier, Chateau de Villars Fontaine, Domaine Decelle Villa, Domaine des Malandes, Domaine Feuillat-Juillot, and Maison Henri Pion. Most of these wineries seemed to be looking for distribution in Texas, as it usually the case with these events. The wines ranged from the basic and easily affordable Bourgogne Blanc to the bigger named appellations like Chablis, Montagny, Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault. The tasting, and these wines, exceeded expectations in terms of quality: each of the wines I sampled were evidently very well-made, nicely acidic, pleasant and appropriate fruit notes like melon and apple, good minerality, balanced, flavorful and complex to varying degrees. Basically, delicious throughout. Many of these wines were aged in small oak barriques, some vinified in these, too, but the presence of oak, which was rarely new, was always in moderation and without exception worked well as a complement to the whole.
As much as I enjoyed tasting each, these wines are generally better, often much better, with food. Comté seems to be preferred pairing among the representatives I queried, at least among cheeses, for many of the wines I tried. Scallops were popular, oysters for Chablis, roasted chicken, and even lamb for the rich 2006 Le Rouard Hautes Côtes de Nuits from Chateau de Vellars Fontaine. Not sure about that, but Mathieu Piecourt from the winery was enthusiastic about it, and his wines were a very enjoyable treat.
The Wine Folly site that I visit from time to time puts it: “Once you’re hooked on white Burgundy, there’s no going back.” That sentiment rings very true with me. These wines are best expression of Chardonnay, and some of the very best white wines in the world, both for most wine aficionados and for me, too. I would certainly drink much more Chardonnay if I could convince myself to spend the money on the white wines from Burgundy. Maybe I will now.