Saturday, 12 January 2013

Jean-Louis Chavy Puligny-Montrachet 2010

Puligny-Montrachet is one of the most interesting and exciting of the Burgundian white wine regions, often clocking in with enormous price tags and subtlety, minerality and class to match them. This was my nod to 'classic' Chardonnay in my tasting set and while not at the sort of price point that is really needed to express the region, at £25 it was by no means a budget bottle of wine.

Montrachet is located in the Côte de Beaune subregion of Burgundy, just south of the incredibly famous town of Meursault (N.B. if you want to try Meursault, please resist the chance to buy a £15 bottle. It is one of those wines that you have to pay more for, sadly, but is often worth the extra pennies). If you get the chance it is a particularly nice part of the world to visit - Beaune containing some of Burgundy's most famous vinyards along with some exceptionally pretty towns.

Anyway, on to the wine. Tasted blind on the same evening as the Eikendal (and others), this was the most expensive wine of the evening (not that we knew as they were all wrapped!).

Nose: This can be said to characterise Burgundian Chardonnay - it was fresh, citrussy and acidic, but with an almost buttery balance to it. This was the first clue about the oak in this wine, which slightly damped the minerality but (in my view) gave the wine an interesting extra dimension. 

Palate: As with the Eikendal this was perhaps a touch sugary but in time it improved greatly. Citrus came through and the palate began to 'fill out' with more flavours, including light vanilla from the oak. There is certainly minerality here and the fruit is in pleasant harmony with the other flavours.

Finish: The finish was perhaps a touch compact, but I have nothing negative to say about it. The wine simply faded away pleasantly and left no bitter after-taste or lingering acidity. It led easily into the next glass!

Conclusion: A very pleasant wine in terms of its harmony, but was it really worth £25? The oak played a part in making the balance of the wine, but as one of my co-tasters commented, it made it somewhat difficult to separate it from a fairly ordinary New World oaked Chardonnay. While I had failed to follow my own advice (steer clear of 'cheap' white Burgundy), I thought that this would be worth a go considering other positive reviews from elsewhere. As far as I'm concerned it was a wine that I would very much like to drink with friends over dinner, but £25 could be put to much better use elsewhere - even the traditionally heavily overpriced American wines did better (Au Bon Climat - to be reviewed shortly).

Points: It's hard to rate this one considering my knowledge of the price. When I tasted it blind I gave it a 7/10 - which I suppose equates to somewhere around 87 on the 100-point scale. Pleasant, but don't get too excited. 

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