Why Can’t All Chardonnays Be Like This?

on 21/03/11 at 6:32 pm

Wine

For a reasonably priced yet extraordinarily pure and intense example of what the chardonnay grape can achieve, look for the Bourgogne Chardonnay 2008, from the distinguished estate of Thierry and Pascale Matrot. The winery is in the white wine village of Meursault, though the Matrots also make white wine from Puligny-Montrachet and red wine from Volnay and Blagny. The estate goes back to 1904, when Thierry Matrot’s grandfather married a woman who, as Clive Coates writes, “had some vines in Meursault.” Matrot has bottled its wines since 1908, in other words not selling wine in bulk to negociants. Thierry Matrot began working with his father at the domaine in 1976; he has been completely in charge since 1983. The estate vineyards, about 45 acres, have been farmed organically since 2000.

For a simple “Bourgogne” designation, either pinot noir or chardonnay grapes can come from just about any place in Burgundy, though the grapes for the Matrot Bourgogne Chardonnay 2008 are from “near Meursault”; the vines average 30 years old. The wine fermented in oak barrels, 15 to 20 percent new, rested in barrels on the lees for 11 months and underwent total malolactic fermentation. So, how come the wine doesn’t smell and taste at all like wood? How come it exhibits almost crystalline clarity of chardonnay grape character and a tremendous sense of vitality and elan?

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