The best thing I can say about this wine is that, alongside its many sensual charms, it prompted a conversation that ranged from the irony of Burgundian terroir to the application of Bloom’s The Anxiety of Influence to winemaking. Some people’s worst nightmare, no doubt, but Heaven to this particular wine tragic; I love wines that are larger than themselves.
An expressive, assertively complex aroma comprising (amongst other things) grilled almonds and cashews, detailed lees-derived notes, vanilla and an attractive level of sulphur. It’s fresh and savoury, and wears both its fruit character and winemaking very much on its sleeve. That it’s a typically Burgundian, worked style is evident immediately (barrel fermentation, batonnage, malolactic fermentation); thankfully, its technique is sympathetically applied.
A burst of canned peaches in the mouth, accompanied by a range of mostly-savoury flavours like banana skins, almond meal and spicy oak. The flavours are granular within the fabric of the wine, accompanied by a lively, textural mouthfeel. Flinty acid underlines the palate from start to finish and feels slightly raspy on the tongue, a foil to rounder, creamier textures. The wonderful thing about this sophisticated mix of textures, aside from providing its own interest, is the way it prompts the clear expression of individual flavours: one can both taste and feel almonds, peach syrup, and so on. The effect is especially wonderful on the minerally after palate. This is a great example of truly integrated structure.
A really nice Chardonnay, then, smart and delicious in equal measure. The extent of the winemaking poses its own questions that I won’t explore in detail here, except to suggest the archetype of the “winemaker as custodian of terroir” (as I believe my lunch companion phrased it) demands critical thought.