Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau St-Veran Fournaise 2017
Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau is a small estate run by two talented farmers and winemakers, Frantz Chagnoleau and his wife Caroline Gon (winemaker at Héritiers du Comte Lafon). Frantz has a degree in oenology and cut his teeth working for Olivier Merlin in the Mâconnais. Caroline holds two degrees in agricultural engineering and oenology; she also worked at Newton Vineyards in Napa Valley.
The vineyard work is arguably among the finest we have seen, with organic farming and many vineyards worked by horse. Frantz and Caroline believe that minimal intervention, including the use of indigenous yeast, is the best way to express the nuances of each unique terroir. Harvest is done completely by hand on a plot by plot basis, allowing each vine to achieve the appropriate balance of sugar and acidity. The wines are mostly aged in large, used French oak. This is a lineup of pure, terroir driven Mâconnais wines.
Occupying vineyards to the west and south of the village of Mâcon, the appellation of St-Véran interweaves with Pouilly-Fuissé, overlapping both the Mâconnais and Beaujolais. St-Véran includes a lot of what was once sold as Beaujolais Blanc. Grown on limestone, St-Véran whites' ageability and power fall somewhere in between the wines of Mâcon-Villages and Pouilly-Fuissé.
After subtle aromas of lemon, apricot, acacia and honeysuckle, on the palate a St-Véran (always made of Chardonnay) shows fresh focus and clarity while exhibiting roundness and harmonious balance. A great St-Véran will express notes of almond, hazelnut, cinnamon, butter or toast and sometimes an exotic twist of orange peel. Seafood risotto or pasta with mushrooms are perfect pairings.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.