Having first got interested in wine during the heady days of Tony Blair's first government, I've had an inbuilt prejudice against chardonnay. The image of Tony's cronies slurping tropical oak bombs is as unpalatable as the contents of said cronies' glasses. Never mind. Time to leave 1997 behind and edumacate myself.
Here's a nice place to start. Paul Pernot and ses Fils Puligny-Montrachet 2011. I blew my point card points on this at a modest neighbourhood wine store here in Kyoto. I was in luck too, apparently. According to Jasper Morris on his brief write up on Berry Bros. and Rudd's Web site, "M. Pernod doesn't bottle enough to meet demand."
Cool. Upon opening, those words fell through the trap door of credibility. Mid-toned for a white Burgundy, I paid the colour no attention as I put my nose into the glass. I thought I'd either been ripped off or else bought a heat damaged bottle. The first whiff of this wine gave nothing away about it's pedigree. Flat, empty and with just a hint of calcium. In the mouth. Oak city, California. Pop. 12.
"Dang" I said, or words to that effect, as I put the bottle back into the wine fridge for some much needed air while we worked on the video for Dard et Ribo's odd-ball St. Joseph.
Somewhere between realising that I'd bought the wrong SD card and the battery on the camera running out, a miracle occurred. What had once been a flat desert of useless chardonnay was now a whole bunch more interesting. Lime, cream and just a hint of vanilla took the place of the chalky abyss that was the nose. Not hugely intense, but then this is a village level wine. The fruit tended toward the pear side of things and was very long. What impressed most though was the extent to which the oak was integrated. Not much new oak here, but what there was was a perfect supporting actor for the fruit. lasting as long as the fruit and leaving just a hint of butter at the end of the palate to blend the dry finish seamlessly. This wine impressed. Super serious white burgundy for your special event. It's drinking well now (after some time to open up, of course) but there is plenty here to suggest a long maturation period.
This New Year's resolution will be more resilient most