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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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Time to forge onward through Zraly’s book. This round took a while for two reasons. First, with four wines to taste and not many people to share them with, opening four bottles only made sense when there were decent opportunities to consume them. Second, on three occasions I managed to forget to order the Chablis. Finally I made a trip by a local wine store and bought the first one they had, for risk of forgetting again, and having to put off another week. So, without further adieu.

Four Wines, Tasted Together: Louis Jadot Mâcon-Villages 2009, Joseph Faiveley Chablis 2006, Chanson Meursault-Blagny 1er Cru 2005, Louis Jadot Puligny-Montrachet 2008

So much chardonnay and … so much time. I wish I liked whites. I really do. The exercise this time was to smell each and figure out what we liked the most before tasting; turns out we both guessed correctly (the fourth wine).

The Mâcon-Villages was a watery green-yellow with moderate aromas of acidic fruit, granny smith apples, some nuttyness, flowers. On the palate it was off-dry, medium bodied and smooth. Flavourful, with granny smith up front, underripe pear, a lemony bite, some butter. A one-hit wonder, it’s gone and uninteresting after about 5 seconds. Flabby. Tastes like something I’d drink for $8 if I didn’t give a shit.

The Chablis was reminiscent of earlier tastings, I’d have guessed it a Muscadet if I didn’t know better, though this may have more to do with the age of the bottle than anything else. Straw yellow with medium intensity, age was evident on the nose, aromas of toast, sawdust, cedar and strawberry were present. In the mouth, it was a dry medium-bodied wine with lively acidity. Not particularly flavorful, what was there tasted of granite, chalk, brioche, and talc. Balance overall was pretty good, but I’m left with a bit of “so what.”

Chanson’s Meursault premier cru was an interesting wine. I didn’t really enjoy it, but I could appreciate why it was a better quality wine. Pale yellow, it was aromatic with some aged notes of oak, smoke, fermented cider, soy sauce, spice, vinegar, and caramel. Palate was off dry, medium bodied and crisp-lively with soft tannins. Flavors ranged from “liquid smoke” to “toasted.” Baked pears, spice, spun sugar. Lots of flavor, a good balance between the acid and sugar, definitely the most interesting wine thus far (for all of this moment, sadly) — it’s a really well sorted and intense thing, but not my cup of tea. I think the oak may have been overdone, and that’s said in full realization of loving over-oaked wines.

The Puligny-Montrachet was the most interesting wine by far. Pale gold with powerful aromas, it smelled of bourbon, oak, toasted marshmallows, burnt sugar, and preserved lemons. Medium-sweet, it was a bit of a surprise in the mouth, approaching full-bodied with crisp acidity. Tannins were stronger than I’d anticipated, and qutie dry. Caramel, oak, bourbon, fresh cut grass, white raspberry, white cherry. This was really a lovely thing; lots of acid and lots of sugar, good balance (again), good flavor intensity … I didn’t realize chardonnay could get this good, but I still don’t really enjoy it.

Overall? Cross-tasting the four was interesting, I’m definitely a huge fan of the oaked juice, and tired of the unoaked whites thus far. I love the white that pile on the acid and flavor, and am bored by the subtle ones. This may just reflect on an unrefined palate. I can appreciate why these wines are “good” but they aren’t for me. Sadly, there’s a lot of whites left — two more should make up the last of the French whites and this chapter, and then we can move on to the domestic offerings.