White Burgundy

White Burgundy was the theme for this Thursday night’s tasting. We had a pretty good turnout this week, about 15 people showed up. White Burgundy is interesting because it is the Chardonnay grape but in an entirely different style than we are used to in this country. So many American Chardonnays go through a malolactic fermentation and then are so heavily oaked you really can’t taste the grape. Many of them are very good with buttery, butterscotch and oak flavors but they are more “manufactured” rather than just showing the grape and terroir. The Burgundys in contrast have little malic acid to begin with and keep their crispness after undergoing malolactic fermentation and see very little in the way of new oak.

One interesting thing we learned was white Burgundy’s flavor gets more intense as they age. George poured all wines blind but the first three were the same producer and vineyards over the 2006, 2007 and 2008 vintages. While I am sure there are some differences caused by vintage you could really see how the wines had evolved over those three years. The color and flavor and nose intensified as the wines got older.

2008 Burgogne Blanc (Mersault) by Yves Boyer Martenot – The wine was a light yellow with a minimal nose with hints of citrus. The flavors were citrus, mineraly and a steeliness, like stainless steel. Some people also got a little caramel. Great amount acid with a light body, very crisp. Nice medium length finish.

2007 Burgogne Blanc (Mersault) by Yves Boyer Martenot – The extra year caused this wine to darken slightly to a medium yellow. The nose reminded Nancy of smoke and asphalt. I got a little diesel, sort of like a Riesling. The body was a little rounder with a lot of acid and flavors of citrus, caramel and minerals (rocks). The finish was long with both flavor and acid. Definitely more intense than the previous vintage.

2006 Burgogne Blanc (Mersault) by Yves Boyer Martenot – This wine had the most intense nose and flavors of the three. A medium yellow color with a big nose that had citrus and minerally notes. I also got a little heavy floral scent. Initially a little stinky but that blew off right away. The body was even rounder and tasted of minerals and citrus and a little caramel. I thought maybe there was some newer oak used also but it was probably the way the wine evolved instead. Lots of acid again with a long finish.

2006 Mersault Charmes by Yves Boyer Martenot – The same producer but a different vineyard and area. This had a darker yellow color with a very closed nose. There was caramel, citrus and minerals in the flavor and the body was rounder. Lots of acid as typical for these wines and a long finish. It felt more like a California style Chardonnay initially and I thought maybe George was trying to fool us.

2005 Domaine ChanteMerle Chablis – In France Chablis is a region of Burgundy and the grapes are still Chardonnay. Not to be confused with Chablis wine marketed in California. A light yellow color with a complex nose of cedar, cinnamon and other spices. There was a steely, minerally citrus flavor with a very large amount of acid. The body was light with a long finish of flavor and acid. This was the favorite wine of the group this night.

2006 Puligney-Montrachet Village – The was also produced by Yves Boyer Martenot. The color was light yellow and the nose had a slight asphalt and smoke smell. The flavor was rich with mineraliness and a steeliness. Less perceptible acid than the previous wines but it was not lacking in acid. There was a roundness in the mouth and a moderately long finish.

This was a very interesting tasting that exposed us to a different style of Chardonnay than most of us are used to. We were also shown how the wines evolve over a fairly short period of time. After the tasting we all stayed to finish what was left over 🙂

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