Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Reliable Chardonnay

I was amused but not surprised by this post over at Avenue Vine. Apparently, while most eyes were focused on the high profile reenactment of the 1976 Paris winetasting -- at which California wines kicked French butt -- another winetasting was comparing French vs California wines. But this time the wines were of a much more recent vintage.

The author notes that while most tasters preferred the style of the California reds over the French, they found high quality in both groups. More interesting, however, was that the tasters preferred the white Burgundies over the California chardonnays, without question.

Not surprising to me. I enjoy the occasional big California chardonnay from time to time, and have written about them fondly. But I am a routine white Burgundy drinker and would reach for the white Burgundy 9 times out of 10 when looking for a rich, dry white wine with dinner.

I always keep a case of white Burgundy in the basement, usually a Verget Bourgogne or a Macon. These are affordable wines -- you don't have to shell out for a Meursault or a Montrachet to enjoy a terrific white Burgundy. A lot of the low-end stuff is exceptionally well made. And, when I run out, I replenish without fail.

There's something about white Burgundy that I don't find in a lot of other wines. It's called balance. You can find true aromas of apple, pear and vanilla with a touch of minerals for a crisp finish. It seldom dominates its food companion, but it has enough body and charm to guarantee it's never overlooked.

There's so much hyperbole thrown around these days about French wines vs. California wines and old world style vs. overly extracted fruit bombs. I find something to enjoy in most of these wines. But if I have a prejudice of sorts it's that white Burgundy belongs on the dinner table, California chards seldom do. If I'm going to consider a California chard with dinner, it's going to be one of the premium labels I trust. So, you see, white Burgundy is the better value in my book.


Blogger Trish said...

Ah, yes, that pesky thing called "balance." So nice when you find a wine that has it.

11:35 AM  
Blogger g58 said...

I selected three outstanding wines to give as a wedding gift on the weekend and of course the Chardonnay had to be Burgundy -- St-Romain, which is a more affordable appellation -- made by Bertrand Amboise. Oaked and excellent.

12:31 PM  
Blogger JD said...

I knew I wasn't alone in feeling this way.

8:10 PM  

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