All about Chardonnay – on chardonnay day…


Wines tasted in the village of Chardonnay – 25 May 2017 – otherwise known as ‘Chardonnay Day

Venue: Cave du Chardonnay, Route d’Uchizy, 71700 Chardonnay

To start, my notes from a presentation made by Emmanuel Nonain

  • About 7,000 hectolitres of Mâcon-Chardonnay is produced each year by the Cave here in Chardonnay – that’s the best part of a million bottles per year. 33% of global chardonnay production is found in the US – France lies in second place with 30%, followed by Australia with 16% and then Italy with 6%. Chardonnay was (globally) the 5th most planted grape variety in 2014 – cabernet sauvignon was in first place. This 30% of global production in France means annually about 2.7 million hectolitres of wine produced from 45,000 hectares of chardonnay vines. Largest first; ‘greater’ Burgundy accounts for 15,000 hectares of chardonnay, followed by 12,500 hectares in the Languedoc then another 10,000 hectares in Champagne.
  • Segmenting, a little, that 15,000 hectares of Burgundian chardonnay; roughly 950,000 hectolitres of wine is produced, of which one-third takes a regional white appellation – less than 1% (9,000 hl) is grand cru.(2012 bivb)
  • The chardonnay vine is long known to be a crossing of gouais blanc and pinot noir, blanc or gris (from DNA profiling) and this crossing is believed to have happened on France. Gouais blanc is a vine with a poor and acidic reputation, but for all that was planted in much of France for ‘basic table wine’. If we go back as far as the 14th century, then chardonnay is simply not known.
  • Across the world there are at least 40 ‘local’ names for the cepage. Given the much larger range of synonyms in the Bourgogne/Jura region it is assumed that the original source of the crossing was this region. In texts, this variety is first noted:
    As Le Beaune by Rabelais in 1532
    As Beaunois in 1600 by O de Serres
    As Chardonnay in St.Sorin in 1685
    As pinot blanc – chardonnay with multiple spelling variation but as a single variety between 1700s and the end of the 1800s. Even at the end of the 1800s they couldn’t decide between chardonnay or chardonnet. At one time it was described as chardonnays possibly indicating that it was not yet a single type – certainly the vineyards usually had mixed plantings with pinot blanc and gris – as, to a lower extent, may vineyards still do today.

Of-course it is the name of a village too – who came first?

  • Only a personal opinion, but I assumed that the name of the village is older than 1660, but let’s see…
  • 10th Century – Cardonacum or Cardoniacum
    13th Century – Chardenaci
    13-14th Century – Chardenei or Chardenay
    15th Century – Chardonay or Chardonnay
  • It looks like the name of village came first – no?
The wines…

A tasting of the Mâcon-Chardonnay appellation on Chardonnay Day! By volume, Mâcon-Chardonnay is the 2nd largest in the Mâconnais – after Mâcon-Lugny – though that’s still less than 0.1% of the world’s chardonnay production!

I note the outstanding wines of Domaine Saint Denis – an address to follow-up on!

2016 Raphaël Sallet, Mâcon-Chardonnay
Sample from tank, about 15% wood in the elevage here
Hmm, an overt and fresh fruited yellow citrus. Expands really well over the palate, lingers, weighty, delicious fruit-forward but balanced and clean wine. Very yum!

2016 Vuillemez Père et fils, Mâcon-Chardonnay
First vintage is 2016, 5 ha, 2.5 in production, 60% tank elevage, bottled 1 month, 90% exported much to Switzerland. This machine harvested, another cuvée is manual
A narrower nose but of clean freshness. Hmm. Good weight. Wide and tenaciously finishing. Super!

2016 Cave Talmard, Mâcon-Chardonnay
Machine harvested.
A more pinched nose, but with some nice notes below. Bright, tasty, nice depth of saline inflected, citrus fruit. Finishes well again.

2016 Cave Talmard, Mâcon-Chardonnay La Press Silencieuse
A little higher toned aromatic freshness and a sizzle of citrus. Narrower, fine texture and a very attractive blend of melting flavour and energy.

2016 Gérald Talmard, Mâcon-Chardonnay
Cousin of the previous producer.
Very nice. A citrus with faint reduction, brighter, wide, good complexity and very nice flavour here. Super.

2016 Gérald Talmard, Mâcon-Chardonnay Champs St.Pierre
A more discreet nose, with faint fresh citrus. Very nice in the mouth a more sugared flavour impression, great finishing though.

2016 Christophe Nouhen, Mâcon-Chardonnay Vieilles-Vignes
Only 3 days in bottle. My very first tasting in a cellar was here in 1997 when named Daniel Nouhen!
Another pinched nose. More very citrussy, a more acid-bright flavour profile.

2016 Eric et Catherine Giroud, Mâcon-Chardonnay
Ooh a nice extra floral dimension to this nose – pretty citrus notes below. Bright, attractive, forward flavour. This is lovely and has a super line if finishing flavour.

2015 Eric et Catherine Giroud, Mâcon-Chardonnay Les Crets
Less overt aroma, but wide and suggesting a little reductive toast. Big and bright in the mouth – ooh, this is very good. Like the 16s with a super extra finish – bravo!

2015 Clos Gandin, Mâcon-Chardonnay C de C
Here’s a little floral lift, modest aromatic dimension. Nice in the mouth, wide, complex, modest but interesting energy. Very tasty wine

2015 Jean-Marc Boillot, Mâcon-Chardonnay
3ha of Mâcons, vinified in Pommard.
The first with an overt, if attractive, vanilla oak. Apparently mineral, but there is much too much barrel here for me – that said, I love the shape and the texture. There’s potential here, but wait 3 years.

2015 Jean-Marc Boillot, Mâcon-Chardonnay Bousserettes
A wider nose, also amply oaked. Again a fresh and mineral style, wider here, a floral addition to the flavour, also oaky, but less than the other wine. A better wine.

2015 Bret Brothers, Mâcon-Chardonnay Les Crays
Converting to bio.
A high-toned ripeness here. The palate is not what the nose implies, it’s wide, mineral, well textured with a fine blend of concentration and mouth-watering citrus – sweetly citrus fruit. A little quince maybe. Super!

2015 Heritiers Lafon, Macon-Chardonnay Clos de la Crochette
Here a more spicy addition to the nose from oak, not vanilla. Very silky, wide, lush, long and delicious – very delicious!

2015 Château de Messey, Mâcon-Chardonnay Les Créts
There is sunshine to this nose – more an aligote impression. Round, ripe fruit but with good enough balance. Quite tasty.

2015 Raphaël Sallet, Mâcon-Chardonnay
Same cuvée as first wine in this tasting.
A nice wide nose, not overtly fruity, faintly saline with a nice freshness. Large scaled. Lots of flavour. Good wine.

2015 Domaine Saint Denis, Mâcon-Chardonnay
A wide and complex yet essentially modest nose – very attractive though – with a faint florality. Lots of volume and plenty of concentration too. Layers of flavour here. Long super wine in a composed style – bravo!

2015 Les Cadoles de Chardonnay, Mâcon-Chardonnay La Cadole à Marcel
A fresh nose, more herb but ripe too. Really a very different wine, fresh and very mineral. Good finishing. It’s hard to believe it’s a 15 except in the finish…

2015 Cave de Lugny, Mâcon-Chardonnay Les Beluses
A nice width of pretty aromas, it plays well. Tasty wine with layers of flavour – I’d like more zip, but there are undoubtedly delicious flavours here.

And some 2014s:

2014 Domaine Saint Denis, Mâcon-Chardonnay
A nice freshness with a little herb and lime. Lots of energy, density, actually this still needs time, but this has great material. Bravo. Nicely floral in the finish too.
2014 Domaine des Crets, Mâcon-Chardonnay l’Echenault de Serre
It’s the name of the lieu dit
A sunny fruit with vanilla. Rather good in the mouth, with line, length, texture, lots of flavour. This is excellent – but wait at least a couple of years for the oak to fade.

2014 Château de Messey, Mâcon-Chardonnay
A ripeness of fruit. Plenty of width, mobile on the palate, a confit-style of fruit. But tasty wine.

2014 Guillot-Broux, Mâcon-Chardonnay Les Combettes
A deep nose, modest sulfur? Mineral, rather complex, a little saline, an oxidative style, but today for the table excellent…

And, lastly, a 2013:

2013 Domaine des Deux Roches, Mâcon-Chardonnay En Beauvois
Ooh that’s nice – pretty, complex maybe some quince aroma. Really a complex wine, maybe some botrytis in that complexity – I find the overall effect really super today! Different but certainly bravo!

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

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