Part 4: A top wine at below $15 - Burgundy
Let's be honest, Burgundy is expensive. There is nothing we can do about this, and as the years go on, the prices just keep increasing. I love Burgundy, however finding true value in Burgundy has to be one of the hardest jobs around, yet it can be done! There are close to 4,000 producers in Burgundy and so trying to pick real value can sometimes be a challenge.
The Côte Chalonnaise is located just below the Côte d'Or, and even if slightly cooler, due to the topography of the land, it has a similar soil composition to that of the Côte de Beaune. This appellation produces around 14% of the total wine produced in Burgundy. It offers fantastic value in terms of Sparkling (Rully), White (Montagny) and Red (Mercurey). Note: the village of Bouzeron produces some very aromatic and crisp Aligoté which is worth seeking out. The style of white wine is somewhat in between that of the Mâconnais (rich and full), and the Cote de Beaune (purity of fruit with good acidity and tension). The best appellation for Chardonnay in the Côte Chalonnaise is Montagny, this 100% white appellations is home to the Cave des Vignerons de Buxy, a CO-OP which produces 65% of the appellations wine and has 372 members. Even if their wine is not is not as structured or with as much personality as their northern cousins, I believe for the price you will be able to enjoy Burgundy without breaking the bank. There 1er cru Montagny is one step up and offers that extra level of complexity.
Part 4: A great value white Burgundy = Montagny!
This entry level Burgundy offers a perfect combination of rich, fleshy fruit, with enough acidity to keep the palate interested.
1) Region: Montagny, Côte Chalonnaise
2) Grape: Chardonnay
3) Climate: Continental, yet cooler than the Côte d'Or
4) Flavours to look out for: Apple, pear, citrus, butter, brioche, spices and vanilla (if oak is used)
5) Textures: A good Montagny wine is less crisp and floral than Rully (Another village appellation in Côte Chalonnaise), yet is fuller, fatter and more honeyed.
6) Food pairings: Veal or white fish with a wine sauce. Shellfish also works well. Due to this wine being slightly heavier, think of dishes which have a slightly thicker, maybe even creamier sauce. The richness of the wine will pair nicely with a slightly richer dish.
7) How to serve? I like my Chardonnays around 12*C
The Côte Chalonnaise along with Mâconnais offer some fantastic value Chardonnay below $20. There are multiple CO-OPs and Negociants who should be at the top of your list when researching wines from these regions including: Louis Jadot, Louis Latour, Joseph Drouhin, Domaine Faiveley, Cave de Lugny and the Cave des Vignerons de Buxy. Look out for village wines from Rully, Montagny, Macon-Village and Macon-Lugny for the best value.
So today we will focus on Vignerons de Buxy Montagny Buissonnier 2016 - My tasting notes are as follows:
A reasonable value Chardonnay from Vignerons de Buxy, aromas of peach, pear, tropical fruit and a little guava, the palate was simple and round showing a medium concentration of orchard fruit, spice and brioche, the finish was a little hot and simple, yet still a good value - 87 points
Another wine which costs around $20 is Joseph Drouhin Mâcon-Lugny Les Crays 2017 - One of if not the top Chardonnays around $20 in the Maconnais, Golden in color, the nose is quite aromatic and has both rich orchard fruit, tropical notes, and spring flowers. The palate is full and fresh with peaches, nectarines, pineapple, and cream the mid-palate has medium concentration, and exactly what you would want with a Maconnais without faults, the finish is a little rich. Drink now with those wonderful lobsters which will arrive this week - 90 points
Finding a good quality Burgundy wine between $15-20 is tough, yet with a little research you can find some real gems. For the extra $5 the Drouhin Les Crays is really excellent value and comes highly recommended!