The last Chardonnay on our list comes from the Burgundy region of France, or more specifically, Meursault, in the Côte de Beaune. Burgundy is typically associated with Pinot Noir, but it is equally known for Chardonnay. With the exception of Gamay and a little Aligoté, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the only two varietals allowed to grow here.
Meursault is the heart of white Burgundy (aka Chardonnay). The vineyards here grow in a great diversity of soil types. Everything from stony chalk, to gravely clay is present giving these wines great richness and complexity. The cool temperatures here keep the grapes from getting too ripe which helps the winemakers capture the natural flavors and acidity of the fruit.
In 1731 Michael Bourchard left his home in the French Alps and moved Volnay where he established himself as a cloth merchant. In 1751 Michael’s son, Joseph, began his own business. Joseph, also a cloth merchant, sold Burgundian wines as well. It wasn’t until 1775, when Joseph purchased the family’s first vineyards in Volnay that they started to grow their own grapes and produce their own wine. After that, the rest is a very interesting history lesson. Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils now owns many properties in Burgundy, including vineyards in the Côte de Beaune, Côte de Nuits, Côte Chalonnaise, Côte Mâconnaise.
This complex wine had Sue and me scrambling to understand everything we had tasted. This surprisingly pale yellow Chardonnay provided many different layers to discover as it opened up throughout the evening. The fruit aromas and flavors are more discreet than the other Chardonnays. Peaches and honey were the most obvious flavors but there is a definite underpinning of fresh herbs and minerals. This puzzle of flavors balances nicely with the toasty notes imparted by oak fermentation and aging, and finishes off with a lingering dose tropical fruits.
2005 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Meursault ($54)
- 100% Chardonnay
- Meursault, Côte de Beaune, France