One of the world’s most famous soil and vine combinations is Chardonnay grown in limestone/calcareous soils. They usually create an incredibly dynamic synergy which creates oenological magic, in a way which creates something so unique and somewhat unrecognizable to most avid New World Chardonnay fans. Yes, these are wines somehow much more about the soil the vines grow in, rather just flavors & nuances associated with the Chardonnay grape variety itself. It is the caterpillar that has transformed into a gorgeous, breathtaking butterfly. Something you, after the fact, scratch your head in wonderment. Here are four terrific renditions to better show you what we mean. All four come from Burgundy, France, each with a different composition of limestone influenced soils AND each done by a different winemaker. How often do opportunities like this come around?
2016 Henri Perrusset Macon Villages–We start off with a “country” style Chardonnay, produced by a father and son team. I say “country” style because of how unpretentious it thankfully is. NO fanfare, NO oak, NO foo-foo. Just downright delicious, earnest, food friendly and gulpable. A true standout in its category. I wish there were more wines made today with these kinds of values.
2014 Maison L’Envoye Bourgogne Blanc “Vieilles Vignes”–What a terrific discovery this 2014 has been. Produced from 45 to 50 year old vines, biodynamically raised down in the Maconnais. It is really a wine about limestone soils and old vines, rather than grape variety and winemaking. We absolutely love its purity, minerality and remarkable etherealness.
2014 Antoine Jobard Bourgogne Blanc–As many of this domaine’s neighbors would attest to, Jobard produces some of the very best Bourgogne Blanc and wines in all of Burgundy. The grapes, for this seemingly unassuming labeled white wine, are a blend of four parcels–Herbeaux, En l’Ormeau, La Monatine, and Sous la Velle—a total of 1.12 hectares. The wine is fermented and aged in barrel with lengthy lees contact–all is done in a very slow, continuous manner. Don’t be deceived by the label and nomenclature, this is a wine to behold, because of its fortitude, mojo, pedigree and vehement structure. Historically, the Jobard wines take a very long time to unwind and strut their stuff. Antoine carries his truly iconic father’s legacy forward, which we can readily see with this wine.
2015 Larue St. Aubin Premier Cru “Murgers des Dents de Chien”–St. Aubin is located just behind the Montrachet and Chevalier slope and just north of Chassagne Montrachet. Domaine Larue is one of the most revered out of St. Aubin and Burgundy, in general because their mastery of growing and masterfully making their Chardonnay based whites that “sing its limestone birth right”. The Premier Cru “Murgers des Dents de Chien” parcel is their showpiece and is but 1.12 hectares in size, planted in 1946, ‘64, ‘72, ‘90 & ‘97. It is barrel fermented and spends ten to twelve months on the lees. The resulting whites have mesmerizing purity/minerality with wonderful vinosity, innate and more “delicate” complexities which are quite stunning.