Posted on February 22nd, 2008
This time out, the main focus was on Chardonnay and one of my favourites, the Pinot Noir.
Chardonnay is a hugely versatile grape, capable of growing in a variety of climates from the cool of Chablis to the heat of Australia and most places in between. Climate and vinification (how’s it made) play a huge part in how it acts out in the mouth. Nothing new there, but interesting nonetheless.
We tried a Chablis and a Puligny-Montrachet, both from Chanson Père et Fils. Although there’s only 100km between them (map) and made by the same producer, they’re remarkably different.
The Puligny-Montrachet was richer, more savoury and had stronger fruit. Both lovely, but both a little pricey in my book.
The two tried were a Bourgogne AC (Chanson Père et Fils) and a Villa Maria from Marlborough, New Zealand.
If nothing else, this face-off confirmed what I and many others have known for a long time: in most cases you’re wasting your money on Burgundy. To get what is a typical Burgundian Pinot Noir, you need to spend €40 and upwards. Otherwise, what you’re getting is a flat fruity flop. There are one or two exceptions (via Will & Jamie), of course, but the fruitless search for Burgundy is well documented elsewhere.
The New Zealander was a Villa Maria and at least had some “expression”, even though I’ve had better for less. In this case, it could be that Villa Maria are leveraging the good name they’ve made from their excellent Sauvignon Blanc (just like Cloudy Bay are doing, albeit at twice the price).
Where can you get the wines?
Our tutor bought the wines in O’Briens. Links to each: