My friend Debbie recently told me: “I can’t drink Chardonnay anymore, I am so sick and tired of the big, buttery flavors, they are just too rich!”
I knew that she loved the Chardonnay grape, and there was no reason to abandon it. I went on mission to find new wines for her that she would enjoy. To show her that not all the Chardonnay wines are created equal, and not all of them taste the same.
Browsing the local wine shop, I was seeking for crisp, clean Chardonnay made by my favorite Peter Lehmann in Barossa, Australia, but they didn’t have it. So my other choice was to introduce Debbie to white Burgundy. Most wine drinkers know that white wines from French Burgundy are always 100% Chardonnay, but Les Charmes, from Mâcon – Lugny made it easier just in case you didn’t, and stated the grape clearly on the label.
I always found it interesting that many American wine drinkers, I met during my career, were mostly interested in “what’s in it, what percentage of blend, which grape”, while most European wine drinkers cared to know where the wine came from. I am sure the different approach comes from a long tradition of typical wine regions in the so called Old world. The “terroire”, Village, region or the Château (Bodega or Tenuta, whatever applies) are their guarantee of the quality of the wine. If one likes the reds of Tuscany, they wouldn’t expect to find many Pinot Noirs or let’s say Malbecs there.
Burgundy to me is the most fascinating wine region. For relatively small region (about 30 thousand hectares planted with vineyards) Burgundy has a higher number of appellations d’origine contrôlée (AOCs) than any other French region, and is often seen as the most terroir driven of the French wine regions. Small vineyards could often produce Chardonnay grapes with completely different taste profile than let’s say their neighbor, just half a mile down the road.
Some of the Grand Cru wines from Burgundy are out of this world, but could be also quite pricey. Les Charmes Chardonnay that happens to be a single vineyard wine, cost me $12 and my friend loved it! She said that in order to remember the name of this wine she is going to call it charming. I agree, charming it is.
This very elegant, stainless steel fermented wine, offers a beautiful fruity aromas. On the palate it opens into bright and clean flavors of cantaloupe, with notes of white peach and citrus.
Great balance of fruit and acidity makes this pretty Chardonnay crisp and refreshing. Lovely, long finish. For its more than reasonable price, this wine is definitely a great value! Even if you happen to be a fan of bigger, oaky, buttery styles of Chardonnay, or – just like my friend Debbie, you look for something different, this wine is worth to try.