Domaine du Clos Salomon Montagny le Clou 2007

I tasted the 2006 edition of this wine, and on balance feel the 2007 vintage is more achieved. It retains the essentially funky character of the fruit while rounding out the style to a more generous level. Still an off-centre aroma profile, with prickles of sulfur introducing fleshy yellow peach, roasted cashews and Thai basil. It has really blossomed after a couple of hours in the glass, so don’t serve this too cold, and be prepared to give it time. It ends up in a gentle place; this is never going to knock your socks off with power, but it glows with nuance and character.

Some oxidative character not evident on the nose asserts itself in the mouth, quite pleasantly so. There’s an essential discordance to the flavour profile that I am enjoying, though I suspect it may turn some drinkers off. If, however, you can get past the idea that wines ought to be neat and tidy aesthetic experiences, you may value the clash of peach, grapefruit, bitter herbs and creamy nuts that tumble over each other as this wine rushes past the middle palate. The after palate and finish are more focused, concentrating on yellow grapefruit flavours and very fine, firm acid. Intensity does not rise above a moderate level, and there’s a nice irony, I think, to the quiet way in which this wine seeks to argue with itself.

A really interesting, smart wine for lovers of the offbeat.

Clos Salomon
Price: $A30
Closure: Cork
Source: Retail

Louis Latour Montagny 1er Cru "La Grande Roche" 2006

The first impression is of the circus: hot sawdust, popcorn, leather, saddle soap, and a hint of sulfur – hey, you need something to shoot a midget out of a cannon, right? There’s also a light dusting of minerals and chalk; there’s also a distant yeastiness, the smell of bakers just getting out of bed in the morning. Finally, there’s an overtone of pineapple, lychee, and soft white flowers, a soft halo of freshly baked brioche steaming next to freshly-cut fruit – exactly the sort of thing you’d expect at a French beach resort in, say, Tahiti. It’s all impossibly genteel, subtle, and elegant.Surprisingly, the wine turns out to be pretty substantial in the mouth, landing with the thwack of pizza dough slapped against a cool marble slab. Somewhat akin to butterscotch glaze on a Parker role, the wine is big, chewy, and supported by a thin, steely wire of subtle acidity that sets off the fruit to great effect here. The finish is lacy, hazy, lovely; it begs to be drunk outside in the long days of summer, shared with friends.Louis Latour
Price: $16
Closure: Cork

Domaine du Clos Salomon Montagny le Clou 2006

Montagny, a village on the Côte Chalonnaise of Burgundy, is a white-only appellation. Before I get to a description of this wine, it’s interesting to contemplate the role that winemaking decisions play in the character and appeal of a wine. I love the notion of terroir and cling to it as much for its philosophic appeal as anything else. It’s obvious, though, that winemaking can radically change a wine’s presentation and, ultimately, its integrity.

Tight, minerally and somewhat sulfurous aroma. Quite funky, actually, within the confines of its tightly coiled dimensions. With time, more fruit-driven aromas emerge, but are mere whisps at best. Good line from nose to palate, with the same minerally tightness as the nose, but more weight and fruit flavour than anticipated. Reasonable intensity that establishes its level early in the line and only starts to taper off in the after palate. Good freshness thanks to bright acidity, but also a pleasingly smooth mouthfeel. I can’t detect many winemaking tricks or oak here, so I presume these elements have been conservatively applied. A nice surge on the finish that brings things to a happy ending.

Not bad at all, this one, especially if you like your Chardonnay on the funkier, leaner side. There’s a question mark for me over whether such minimal treatment brings out the full character of the fruit, which is (to my taste) of considerable interest. Still, it’s good to have the opportunity to taste what appear to be raw materials in the glass.

Interestingly, it tasted even tighter the next morning, more minerally and less stinky. I might let my remaining bottles rest for a while.

Clos Salomon
Price: $A31
Closure: Cork
Date tasted: November 2008