We are very fortunate at VINO to taste many different styles of wines. There are times when we sample a bevy of “trophy” wines, each world class, grand and truly memorable. This is especially most enjoyable when we revisit a particular wine which we previously had had 20 to 30 years prior and can see first hand how the wine had changed with the years of bottle age.
Another real joy of tasting wines is to run across a wine which stands out because of how honest, unpretentious, artisanal and personal it is. It would be like hearing a singer sing a song their own way, and from the heart. The especially endearing ones are, not of the “trophy” or highly acclaimed genre and for me and greatly over deliver for the dollar.
The Henri Perrusset Mâcon Villages (roughly $20 a bottle) is a prime example. This is a “country” styled Chardonnay based white wine from the limestone soils of the Mâcon region of southern Burgundy. (There is in fact a limestone quarry a couple of kilometers further down the road.) A very flowery, ethereal, some say seashell character somehow gets transmitted from the limestone-marine soils, through the vine and into the grape itself. While some will argue that this is just a romantic notion, I don’t find those kinds of character in grapes from vines grown in clay soils. If you want to check this out yourself, buy a bottle of a New World Chardonnay—California, Oregon, New Zealand or Australia, for instance, and sample it side by side with this Perrusset.
Then, also consider which one seems more refreshing and thirstquenching. Given the weather we have been experiencing lately, this is the kind of wine that hits the spot for sipping on those especially warm, often muggy days.
Interestingly, over the 40 plus years of tasting wine, I have never run across a Mâcon Villages which hits the spot like the one from Perrusset. It is beyond correctness and scientifically sound. Furthermore, this bottling is certainly not grand or highly acclaimed and I would actually be surprised if it ever scores more than 85 points on any writer’s 100 point scale. It does, however, standout and is memorable. One could say this wine has the “it” factor and I am continually reminded of this by how my wife smiles every time a bottle is cracked open. Honest, unpretentious, artisanal and personal is its schtick.
As one would imagine, wines like this are far and few in between.