2018 Paul Pernot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Folatieres

$132

Bright lemon-yellow. Highly aromatic, expressive aromas and flavors of yellow peach, ripe citrus fruits, flowers and spices, with a hint of orange juice emerging with air; less obviously oaky than the Chalumeaux. Quite silky and fine-grained, with harmonious acidity contributing to the wine’s impression of softness and refinement. Tightens up on the back end, finishing with noteworthy force and excellent length. A beauty in the making. – Vinous

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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. 

Paul Pernot has run the domaine since 1955 and now his three sons are assisting him. They own 19 hectares of fantastic vineyards in the Cote de Beaune, but sell a vast majority of it to negociants, including Drouhin. The 20% or so that they bottle themselves are pure, elegant and delicious representations of their best parcels. While most wines see some new oak and they only use barrels for three years, he bottles early in order to preserve freshness and avoid any noticeable oakiness. The top wines, which always make a great comparison, are the Grand Crus Batard-Montrachet and Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet. Two Chassagne parcels and one Puligny parcel (.61 ha total) with vine ages of 10-30 years go into the Batard. The Bienvenues comes from two parcels (.37 ha total) with 10 and 40 year old vines, respectively. As great as both wines have been over the years, they only get more distinct and complex as the vines age. Pernot also owns great plots in some of the Puligny Premiers Crus, including Pucelles (.28 ha of 35 year old vines), Folatieres (45 year old vines) and Clos de la Garenne (in Champ-Canet adjacent to Folatieres).

The 2017 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatières is his largest cuvée. This is a textbook Folatières in Pernot’s accessible, front-loaded style.

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