During the last few years Chardonnay has become a victim of its own popularity.
It seems now there’s a whole ‘ABC’ generation of people, who would drink “anything but Chardonnay’. I’ve even heard of ABC Wine Tasting Club, members of which are committed anti-Chardonnay drinkers.
This change of heart towards the variety is sad and unfair. Few other grapes can be as versatile as Chardonnay, reflecting the differences in winemaking techniques, climate and terroir. It is difficult to avoid this French word – alas, discredited and misused too – talking about Chardonnay because this grape, the king of white Burgundy, gives us some of the greatest wines in France.
The problem with Burgundy, as any of its fans will tell you, is the price you pay for quality and image. Most people won’t call a bottle of wine for 20 quid a bargain, and I had my doubts before buying this particular bottle since I haven’t tasted it before.
It was recommended by a friend from the wine trade, who insisted on me buying this bottle, which is, he said, “terrific value for money”. I hesitated but went for it in the end having agreed that if I don’t like the wine he gives me my money back and I don’t consult him on wines again.
None of these happened. When I opened the bottle and tasted the wine, I called him to thank for another brilliant recommendation. This is the wine I’d give (just as a tiny tasting sample, not to waste the stuff) to people who say that they “hate Chardonnay”. Beautiful golden colour, warm ripe fruits with a touch of citrus on the nose, dense palate backed with appropriate acidity, lovely minerality, fine persistent finish. This wine can be used as an example of what is called ‘balance’ with regard to wines – when there are no too extreme aromas or flavours and every component is in harmony with others.
Château de Puligny-Montrachet gives you all you want from your good white Burgundy – and, taking into account we’re not talking about crazy hundreds per bottle, the price of this very decent wine is good value for money indeed.