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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Summer Luxury : White Burgundy

L-R, Domaine Michel-Andreotti 2012 Montagney1er cru, $29.99 ; 
William Fevre 2013 Chablis "Champs Royaux", $29.99 (sale $26.99);
Domaine Marc Morey 2013 Rully, $25.99

Summer is an easy time of year, all about relaxing and keeping cool through slow movement and cold drink.  What most of us want this time of year is good food and delicious drink that we don't have to think about too much. Better to spend your energy on the good company you keep. But that doesn't mean we can't enjoy a little Old World luxury now and then. If you're looking to spoil yourself a little, classic white Burgundy is just the trick.

For those that don't already know, white wine from Burgundy is chardonnay. But it's not just chardonnay, it's the chardonnay, as in the old stuff, the original, the reason why chardonnay is even a thing in the world at all. The grape, prolific in California, enjoyed a widespread popularity among American drinkers in the eighties and nineties. Frequently fermented in oak barrels, California chards were known for their big, buttery texture a sweet leaning flavor profile redolent of tropical fruits. These same characteristics that popularized the wine led to it's own decline as American drinkers grew to be more wine savvy. And then there's white Burgundy.

Burgundy chardonnay is an exercise in understated complexity. While many of the best examples can reach upwards of $100/bottle, there are quite a few excellent expressions of the wine available for $30 or less. Unlike many of it's California counterparts, oak barrel influence plays a minor role, remaining more in the background to add texture and a luxurious richness while allowing the fruit character and natural acidity of the wine to take center stage. Golden in color, lush in texture, and yet still delicate, white Burgundy is the perfect choice with dishes as simple as a classic roasted whole chicken or as decadent as oysters.

And nothing, by which I mean nothing, is a better compliment to lobster with drawn butter. It may be hot outside, but that doesn't mean we should have hot dogs and beer everyday, does it?

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