Francoise & Denis Clair Santenay Blanc 2013
Serve with fresh salad, grilled fish or fish with light sauce.
His wife Françoise was born in Saint-Aubin, a neighboring AOC village 2 1/2 miles to the northwest (a bit longer by car). This is where the Clairs' winery is located. They have a son, Jean-Baptiste, who joined the family business in 2000 working the vines. Jean-Baptist eventually began making their white wines.
Today the family owns 15 hectares, including parcels in Santenay and Saint-Aubin. They sell 75,000 bottles a year, with about 75% of that going abroad.
In the far southern end of the Côte de Beaune, Santenay forms a little notch that juts into the otherwise straight border with Côte Chalonnaise.
Santenay red wines show the true essence of red Burgundy at good price points and without demanding a lot of cellar time. Enticing aromas of rose-petal, violet, red fruits and licorice lead to sturdiness on the palate. With soils rich in oolitic limestone and marl, this is the home of well-constructed, hearty Pinot noir and represents a fantastic region to explore if you are just beginning your understanding of red Burgundy.
Reputable vineyards of Santenay include La Maladière, as well as the Premier Crus of La Comme, Clos de Tavannes, and Les Gravières.
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.