Domaine Valette “Clos de Monsieur Noly” Vieille Vignes Reserve Pouilly-Fuisse 1999
There is a bias in laying down wines to age that tilts towards prestige. Certain wines carry the pedigree that deems them worthy of aging, whether that is a high score from a renowned critic or simply international reputation such as Bordeaux first growths. The great wines of the Cote d’Or largely fall into this prestige camp.
If you focus only on prestige, however, you will miss some of the most exciting discoveries that wine has to offer. This Domaine Valette Clos de Monsieur Noly, a Macon Chardonnay with 14 years of age, was a superb example of the lesser known offering profound age-worthy wine.
Macon is not known for ageability. The best producers top wines usually hit peak at 6-8 years. There are, however, a few exceptions. Domaine Valette eschews the norm in Macon by focusing on very long elevage and oxidative treatment to the wine prior to bottling that sets it up perfectly for aging. This wine, at 14 years of age, shows no signs of becoming tired. Rather, it was singing at peak with astonishing and highly expressive aromatics of coffee, caramel, and toasty molasses (my first exclamation was “coffee crisp in a glass!” – a Canadian chocolate bar). However, this is no over the hill or tired Chardonnay. Rather, the palate is fresh and very very dry, but perfectly rounded and integrated. It is also incredibly stable and will easily last a couple days after opening.
This is an astonishing wine and it is amazing proof of what can be done in the Macon with the right treatment in both vineyard and winery. I shared it with close friends and a dinner of crab-roux pasta and miso-marinated sablefish. It was brilliant. The wine also suggests that premox may be avoided with better cellar treatment allowing the Chardonnay to become comfortable with oxygen prior to bottling.
~$70 at Terroir SF