$15 Chablis. That is a value. That tastes like Chablis.
Let me repeat that, to demonstrate how practically giddy this wine made me: $15 Chablis. That is a value. That tastes like Chablis.
Because, frankly, it ?s rare to see $15 Chablis, even more rare when it ?s a value, and more rare again that it tastes like Chablis. Affordable Chablis ? chardonnay from the Chablis region of Burgundy in France ? doesn’t get much better than this.
So what ?s the catch? Because, as regular visitors here know, the Wine Curmudgeon always expects a catch. In this case, it ?s that the Bocquet ($15, purchased, 12.5%) may not be as available as I would like. It ?s not exactly a private label, but it ?s close enough. Which means that if the wine is in your market, it ?s likely to be at only one retailer.
If you can find it, buy some and expect steely acidity, a touch of lemon fruit, and more complexity than one expects in a $15 white Burgundy. It was a bit thin in the back, but, on the other hand, it wasn ?t too fruity or too tart in an attempt to cover up that thinness. And did I mention that it only cost $15?
In which the Wine Curmudgeon enjoyed two reasonably priced wines from Burgundy, a red and a white, that didn ?t taste like they were made with the wrong grapes or came from California. In this case, old-fashioned does not mean outdated or not worth drinking. More, after the jump:
Those of you who insist on drinking chardonnay that tastes like it was flavored with vanilla and a national park full of oak trees can skip this review. The rest should pay careful attention.
That ?s because this wine is chardonnay from the Chablis region of Burgundy in France that is made without oak and that takes the idea of unoaked chardonnay one step further. Regular visitors here know how much the Wine Curmudgeon appreciates white Burgundy, though Chablis sometimes gets short shrift given my preference to Montrachet.
This is not meant as a slight to Chablis, as the Brocard ($35, sample) demonstrates. This is classic Chablis — clean, crisp, green apples — at an incredible price. Everything that makes quality Chablis is here, from the minerality on the nose to the telltale acidity to the long finish. Best yet, this is a $35 wine that will age and only get better over the next couple of years as its fruit and acid blend and mellow. In this, it will demonstrate why a wine doesn ?t always need oak to get better.
Serve this chilled with a classic bistro dinner ? roast chicken, fried potatoes, garlicky green salad, and apple tart. And if you ?re starting to wonder about holiday gifts, I know at least one wine drinker who would enjoy getting a bottle.
Reviews of wines that don ?t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month. This edition, in honor of July 4, focuses on wines worth drinking for the holiday:
? Pepperwood Grove Groovy Green Pinot Noir NV ($7, sample): As long as you don't mind that it doesn't taste like pinot noir, it's an adequate red table wine with pinot and 25 percent syrah (the maximum amount allowed for it to be called pinot). And the Groovy Green bit? For its environmentally friendly packaging.
? Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 2009 ($20, purchased): What's the Fourth of July without a French wine to honor the country that made our independence possible? The Brocard is chardonnay, but is rounder and softer, with more red apple fruit than the usual wines from the Chablis region, which have green apple and bracing acidity. Having said that, it's not worse, just different, and a nice way to end a holiday weekend.
? Pio Cesare Langhe Arneis 2011 ($20, purchased): Arneis is a rare Piedmontese white grape usually used for blending in expensive red wine, or to make flabby, simple stuff. This wine, though, has been taken somewhere it has never been before — crisp and fresh, with an almost gewurtzraminer-like spice and subtle pear fruit. Yes, expensive, but highly recommended nonetheless.
? Kendall-Jackson Zinfandel Vintner's Reserve 2010 ($17, sample): Nicely done mid-weight zinfandel, with some heft, blackberry brambliness, and black pepper. But it is neither overwhelming, like the 15 1/2 percent alcohol zinfandels, or all fruit, like the poorly made cheap ones.