Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru, Clos des Murees 2005

A coworker suggested I buy a bottle of this, so I stopped by the local grog shop (Vintage Wines Ltd.) on my way home from work. Good thing I did; I so seldom drink Chardonnay that I’d forgotten what a good Chardonnay experience can be like.At first I was certain I was smelling the distant smoke of a sagebrush wildfire drifting over Coronado Bay, but then it moved more transparently towards a salt toffee, butterscotch note. On second thought, it could be hazelnut biscotti; it’s lovely, toasty, and smells like it more properly belongs in a bakery.In the mouth, the flavor lazily bounces between an acidic, almost kiwifruit aspect, a sort of rich sage honey, and a sort of almost gritty, stony minerality. Most interestingly, none of it feels forced or overworked; although I’m sure that some of the texture and smell here is likely due to winemaker intervention, it all feels entirely appropriate. The finish lasts for a good half a minute, and eventually suggests hazelnuts, fresh buttermilk biscuits, and something almost like pickled watermelon rind. In fact, this sort of milky earthiness almost reminds me of a cloudy rice wine; it’s a fascinating effect, coming to the foreground only after the initial acidic shock of the bright, crisp fruit fades away.I’d drink this sort of wine more often if it didn’t totally blow out my wallet, alas.Domaine Fontaine-GagnardPrice: US $55Closure: CorkDate tasted: May 2008