Chardonnay. Let’s face it, it is HOT, and has been since the 90’s. For those of you who did not follow this trend, I urge you to continue reading, you might find something that could change your opinion.
The mass corporate wine producers have created a limited view on the extreme variations of how the grape can be transformed to liquid. The buttery, sometimes EXTREMELY heavily oaked Chardonnay wines coming from California were in mass demand throughout this trend. The style dominated the market, and created the “tunnel vision” effect with consumers. Most recently you will find that vintners are focusing more on highlighting the beautiful tart apple fruit and minerality of the grape.
The Chardonnay grape originated in the Burgundian region of Eastern France, and is now grown all over the World. The beauty of this wine is that each country and region has very traditional methods of production, creating quite the variation of resulting liquid that all began from the same fruit. So, going back to the roots, a good Pouilly-Fuisse will be the highlight of today’s wine consumption.
Pouilly-Fuisse is a sub-region of the Maconnais appellation of Burgundy, where the only grape varietal planted is Chardonnay. Think of it like Café du Monde, where the only food served is Beignets. The best possible Beignet you could ever taste in your life. Reason being, they are passionate, and have perfected that one item by repetition through the years. In the case of Pouilly-Fuisse producers, they have perfected that grape. Another part of this region that fascinates me is that there are no premier cru vineyards, so pricing and perception of quality is all based on the reputation of the producer ( as it should be ). The highlight of this region is the hillside vineyards which are all planted on limestone-rich clay soil and infuse a beautiful chalky minerality.
My current favorite for the price is the Pouilly Fuisse Cuvee Marie-Antoinette 2011. This wine retails for about $25 and was rated 90 points from Wine Spectator.
The elegant Chardonnay is straight forward with bright minerals and a spice backbone to rock it all together. An underlying layer of lemon pushes all of the flavor to the front and finishes quite long.
Here is a little side note of information when it comes to food and wine pairing, just because French wine does it so well. Adding a squeeze of lemon to a dish is going to enhance the flavors right? So the same will apply with a wine. A high acid wine such as a Pouilly Fuisse can compliment a dish in the same manner. Try using that as a comparative when pairing and let me know what you think. Until next time – Cheers!
Andrew Sarubbi studied wine with the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa, California, as well as with the Sommelier Society of America in Manhattan, NY. Andrew is also a Certified Specialist of Spirits and an active member of the United States Bartenders Guild. He specializes in the Historical and Cultural references associated with all alcoholic beverages. Andrew has been the Manager of McKinney & Doyle Fine Foods since 2004, over seeing all things restaurant-related, including the buying and directing of the entire Beverage Program. Please direct all questions, comments and other feedback to Andrew@Mckinneyanddoyle.com