Spotlight on White Burgundy: Domaine Vrignaud Premier Cru “Fourchaume” Chablis 2010
I return to the white Burgundy profile for the final leg: the inimitable wines of Chablis. No look at Burgundian Chardonnay is complete without delving into this entirely distinct style of wine, which is made special by the confluence of climate and soil unlike anywhere else in the world. Wines from Chablis are, at first blush, more austere than those from the Maconnais and the Cote d’Or. They tend to have higher acids and are more overtly mineral driven. For some, this leads to a distinct preference for Chablis over the other regions. For others, the austerity can seem a little off-putting – at first – though I would add that the very best producers marry austerity with pleasure in a manner most producers in other regions can only dream of.
That said, climate change has impacted Chablis’ growing season, and the wines have become richer as a result.
Ageability, Value, Complexity
With age, good Chablis (1er Cru and above) becomes something very special and tends to shed its austerity and gain massive complexity. Further, the Premier Cru wines represent some of the best values in the world of white wine, for breed, ageability, complexity and price all in one. In the U.S. you can get excellent Premier Cru Chablis for $20-$30 – in B.C. you are looking more at $35-$45. For a wine with ageability and distinction, this is incredible value.
Thus is it that I delve into this premier cru, from the very reliable Fourchaume vineyard. I have no previous experience with Domaine Vrignaud; however, they have been receiving considerable praise within the industry from the likes of Allen Meadows and Jon Rimmerman. Vrignaud owns one of the best parcels of Fourchaume (some say the best), and as such this vineyard is their specialty. While the very best material goes into the old vines cuvee, calcerous kimmeridgien soils, organic farming and hand harvesting ensure high quality material for all their bottlings. This, the regular Fourchaume cuvee, is aged on the lees in stainless steel.
The 2010 vintage sings – popcorn, seaweed, umami, and soy predominate, in a very classic style. The wine is very easy to appreciate at this young age, but the vintner says it can age up to 20 years as well. A super, delicious wine and proof that almost no other category of wine delivers such interest and quality at this price.
It will pair very well with seafood, fish and roast chicken.
Excellent and Highly Recommended Value
$38 at Marquis Wine Cellars