Domaine de la Bongran Viré Clessé Cuvée Tradition 2002

I have a few Jean Thévenet wines in my cellar and they always provide a completely different view of white Burgundy from pretty much anything else. This wine, from the Mâconnais, is startlingly young for its age and shows the distinctive, botrytis-tinged character that I’ve come to enjoy from Thévenet.

I experienced not-entirely-irrational anxiety as I was opening this wine, based partly on a ridiculously oxidised 2005 white Burgundy I was excited, then disappointed, about last week. This wine’s cork, on extraction, proved to be long and of an apparently high quality. Colour in the glass is beautifully golden, with not a hint of the distressing brown hue that I had feared. So far so good.

What’s really enjoyable about this wine is how it flips between the mineral-driven austerity of tighter Chardonnay styles and the opulence granted it by a hint of residual sugar and botrytis. The palate is grippy and textural, combining with a grapefruit-accented flavour profile to give the impression of pith and pips. So it moves between modes, tight then loose, acid and slight bitterness an intriguing foil to notes of marmalade and richer, riper fruit. If there’s something missing here, it relates to intensity of both aroma and flavour. This isn’t a blockbuster as its 14% ABV and slightly hot finish might suggest. Instead, the wine’s demeanour is laid back, and I suspect what it loses in impact it makes up for in food friendliness.

Cleverly made and provocative in style. Given its freshness, I might taste this again in a few years’ time.

Domaine de la Bongran
Price: $35 (ish)
Closure: Cork
Source: Retail

Chardonnier Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin Saint-Véran 2005

Another $A28, village-level white Burgundy from a lesser region, this time the Mâconnais. A pretty green-gold colour, slightly watery. On the nose, prickly, fresh and delicate fruit, almost grapey, with an edge of creamy nuttiness. No great impact but a sense of depth and subtlety that is alluring. The palate takes a definite step up in intensity. Entry shows acid that is both lively and fine, counterbalancd by a somewhat viscous mouthfeel. There’s good fruit flavour on the mid-palate, quite generous and soft, with some creamy flavours and textures that do not detract from the wine’s freshness. Fruit is mostly grapefruit/white stone fruit in spectrum, again quite delicate. Good presence through the after palate and finish, the wine ending up on a dry yet flavoursome note. It’s almost aperitif-like in character, and is lean enough to fill this role admirably.I like this wine. It’s not especially remarkable in any one area, but has a sense of sophistication and poise, without resorting to excessive leanness, that appeals to my taste. Responded very well to bacon and onion tart.ChardonnierPrice: $A28Closure: CorkDate tasted: May 2008