Thursday, November 20, 2008
Cellar Report: 2002 Bernard Moreau Chassagne-Montrachet
Bernard Moreau....the King of the Recycling Bin!!!
This is what all American chardonnays wish they could grow up to be, but as they say, breeding is everything. It's like a commoner aspiring to be British royalty. To compare Cali chard to this 2002 Bernard Moreau et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet "1er Cru Les Chenevottes" (now that's a mouthful of frenchiness!) is like comparing a plastic surgery addicted porn actress to Meryl Streep (Meryl's unfortunate turn in Mamma Mia notwithstanding). In other words, this is chardonnay from another planet. That planet being Chassagne-Montrachet from the wine galaxy that is Burgundy.
I opened this the other night for some friends to have with our seared scallops. Not that there is ever a bad time for premier (that's what "1er" means in French wine lingo) cru white Burgundy, but this turned into one of those perfect, "oh my freaking god" food and wine moments. Oh, in case you didn't know, all white Burgundies are 100% chardonnay (conversely all red Burgundies are 100% pinot noir). Chassagne-Montrachet is a tiny vineyard area within Burgundy where some of the most sought after white wines in the world are fortunate enough to grow up. Anyway, I knew this would be just about hitting its peak drinking time. Good white Burgundies really seem to need about 5 or 6 years to really give all they have. And this one was giving it up big time. Beautifully complex fruit on the nose...think bushels of pippin apple, with hints of earth, stone, citrus and fig peeking in from the edges with honey and flowers adding their two cents as it opened up. On the palate this had all of the aforementioned pleasure giving components, plus that classic Burgundian minerality...sort of a slate and wet stone flavor (not that I go around sucking wet stones. But if I did I hope they'd taste like this), with a still brilliant backbone of acidity and a luscious, lingering finish. So pure and so perfect with the simple richness of the scallops. One of those times when a bite of scallop followed by a sip of wine each seemed to enhance the other. This isn't an inexpensive bottle of happiness (about $50 retail) but it will kick any similarly priced American chardonnay to the curb. Am I lucky? Most humbly and gratefully I can only say absolutely!