2016 Guy Amiot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Caillerets

$195

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Chardonnay

As one of the most popular grapes for growing and consuming, Chardonnay can be made in a wide range of styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. These styles can vary from a sparkling Blanc de Blanc, or fresh fermented in stainless steel, to rich and creamy white wine aged in oak barrels. While Chardonnay can flourish in many environments, in its homeland of Burgundy it can produce some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. Whereas from California it can produce both oaky, buttery styles as well as leaner, European-inspired wines. A Somm secret: the Burguny subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style with high levels of acidity. Most people who do not like oaky/buttery Chardonnay may likely enjoy Chablis.

Notable regions for this grape include Burgundy (and Chablis) in France, Central Coast, Napa, and Sonoma in CA, and Western Australia.

When pairing with meals, consider the characteristics, flavors, and acidity of your food first. You always want to try to match the same characteristics and intensities with your wine. No brainer pairing options include seafood, salads, and white meat. Chardonnay, with its vast versatility, is everyone’s best friend.

Burgundy, France

Burgundy, AKA “Bourgogne,” is a small, historical region in east-central France that covers a wide area with ranging climates. The large number of producers and appellations within Burgundy can make the region seem complicated even to a seasoned wine pro, but fear not – the region need only be as complicated as you want it to be. At it’s essence, Burgundy can be quite simple. This is the home for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and these wines are second-to-none around the world with an influence that is huge in the world of vino. Burgundy winemakers were the pioneers for premium Chardonnay production and continue to provide a benchmark of excellence in viticulture and winemaking for all of their varieties. 

A vineyard’s location is extremely important here. The location will determine their quality level within the Burgundy appellation hierarchy. The highest-quality vineyards will generally have a south or east facing exposure providing the most access to sunlight and offering protection from westerly winds. These wines may be listed as premier cru or grand cru on the bottle label. Soils in Burgundy can vary depending on the area, but you’ll find many of them are rich in limestone. Pinot Noir is grown throughout the entire region and accounts for a third of the total vineyard area. Although a wide range of winemaking techniques are used varying by producer, a classic “Burgundian” Pinot Noir has red fruit flavors in youth that evolve into earth, game, and mushroom as the wine matures. These wines, as well as Chardonnay, can age for many years if stored properly. Other grape varieties include the red grape Gamay, famous to the Beaujolais region, and the white grape Aligoté. 

There are many smaller appellations within Burgundy, just like Bordeaux and other regions in France. These appellations include Chablis, the Côte d’Or, the Côte Chalonnaise, and Mâconnais. Each of these areas house many respected and highly-regarded villages and vineyards. 

Domaine Guy Amiot in Chassagne-Montrachet possesses a line up of crusthat are enviable. Founder Arsène Amiot started acquiring parcels in Chassagne including several premier crus and a few rows of Le Montrachet. Under his direction, Domaine Amiot became one of the first to begin estate-bottling their production. Their work springs from a long tradition begun in the 1920s under the direction of founder Arsène Amiot. Arsène started acquiring parcels in Chassagne in the 1920s, including Vergers, Clos Saint Jean, Caillerets, and Dent de Chien (which would later become le Montrachet), and under his direction Domaine Amiot became one of the first domaines in Burgundy to bottle their own wines.

Arsène’s son Pierre took over in the 30s, adding more parcels such as Maltroie, Champgains, “Les Chaumes,” Macherelles and Chaumées, and their parcel in Puligny-Montrachet, Les Demoiselles. By the time Guy Amiot (who the current domaine is named after), took over in 1985, the domaine had built up very impressive holdings and had passed the knowledge of how to best care for the vines down from generation to generation. There was a continuity of work in the vineyards that led to solid consistency in the wines. In 1993, Guy’s son Thierry Amiot took over and has been both respecting the tradition and striving for improvement ever since.

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