Vail Finds from the Vine: Burgundy still makes best chardonnay |

Vail Finds from the Vine: Burgundy still makes best chardonnay

Jarrett Osborn
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – When wine experts/geeks talk about chardonnay, they always hold up Burgundy as the benchmark. And rightfully so, as this region in France is the birthplace of great chardonnay, and still makes the best ones in the world.

These white wines are more acidic and have a stronger mineral flavor than their California counterparts, and the judicious use of French oak barrel aging adds nuances and texture – not monstrous and sweet oaky flavors. The basic Bourgogne blancs are crisp and clean, but to “get it”, you have to jump up to the single-vineyard wines.

The 2006 Faiveley “Clos Rochette” is from a single-vineyard wholly owned by Faiveley, making it a “monopole.” In Mercurey, in the southern part of Burgundy in the Cote Chalonnaise, the white wines rarely reach such high quality, thus the prices are lower than for a single-vineyard wines from Puligny-Montrachet or the like.

The Clos Rochette is crisp and clean, with a hint of flinty oak. White grapefruit and pear flavors are touched with a hint of almond and honeysuckle, and the dry, mineral, and white pepper finish keeps the wine in balance. This white Burgundy, like most high quality wines from this region, will open up dramatically in the glass after only five to 10 minutes. Try letting the freshly opened bottle breathe for 15 to 30 minutes to truly experience all the nuances of the Clos Rochette.

The 2006 Faiveley Clos Rochette Mercurey is excellent with brie, halibut, grouper and roast chicken. Instead of red wine, drink this white with aged parmesan or Gouda.

Erwan Faiveley, the seventh generation of Faiveleys to run the winery, and Julien Bordet, chief winemaker for their Cote Chalonnaise wines, use only the best grapes from the 11-acre Clos Rochette vineyard.

Forty percent of the wine is aged in stainless steel tanks, the other 60 percent in French oak barrels, of which 50 percent are new. So only 30 percent of the wine is in new oak barrels, resulting in the subtle oak notes and still crisp finish.

As mentioned earlier, open this wine now and let it breathe, or age it in your cellar for five to seven years. The 2006 Faiveley “Clos Rochette” Mercurey is $35.

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