Domaine Tupinier-Bautista Mercurey Les Vellees Vieilles Vignes Blanc 2012
Beloved for its deep and flavorful reds made of Pinot noir, Mercurey is the largest and most important village in the Côte Chalonnaise with most of its vineyards tucked away in hillsides or stretched along the aptly-named “Golden Valley.” This valley, sheltered from the moist and cool air that funnels along at lower elevations, is ideal for ripening Pinot noir.
Mercurey follows strict yield laws, similar to those at the Côte d’Or village level, promoting the development of deep, full, concentrated and age-worthy Pinot noirs. In their youth, a chewy and rich structure supports flavors of ripe strawberry, raspberry and cherry. Age brings notes of underbrush, tobacco and cocoa.
While Pinot noir claims the majority of Mercurey vineyard acreage, Chardonnay does grow here and produces uniqely floral and spicey scented white wines.
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 practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.