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Wine Blogging Wednesday #39: Silver Burgundy

Domaine Michel Cheveau Mâcon-Solutré PouillyI got a big jump on WBW #39 this time, tasting my wine nearly immediately after the theme was announced. Except it was that fantastic Domaine Michel Cheveau Macon Solutre-Pouilly 2006 that Brooklynguy wrote up this last Friday.

Hey, that was MY wine! Why he gotta be like that?

Well, Brooklynguy is right — this wine is sick. Sick, we say in thronging chorus! And all for about $24 per bottle, in Texas at least.

Pale straw gold in color. Lush, vibrant aromas of quince, lemon, cream and a brisk steeliness. On the palate, there are hard corners of minerality, with intense flint character, as well as pear, smoke, lemon and golden delicious apples. Usually a wine inspires me to either sniff or sip repeatedly; this wine demanded both, exhaustively. The finish just didn’t stop; this is exactly what I want from a white Burgundy, but more so. Run, don’t walk, to buy it. I got mine at Vino 100 Lakeway.

The Cheveau family farms a little over 30 acres in Pouilly. Grandfather Andre founded the domaine in the 50s, and now son Michel and grandson Nicolas run things. They hand-pick their grapes and farm without fertilizers, according to their importer the Mad Rose Group.

The appellation here is Macon Solutre-Pouilly, which is a sub-region of Pouilly-Fuisse (pronounced poo-YEE fwee-SAY), which is located in the Maconnais (pronounced mack-on-AY). The Maconnais is known for passable, affordable Chardonnays, sometimes blended with Pinot Blanc. Wines from the Maconnais and the Cote Chalonnaise are a great way to get your Burgundy on without breaking the bank. Trust me; I’m cheap and I know these things.

Pouilly-Fuisse has a cachet that has lasted since the 70s, though I’m not sure how it earned its love… it’s like all of America learned how to pronounce one French wine name and then had to drink it for at least ten years. Well, lucky them! Finally, a trend from the 70s that we can proudly carry on.

But wait, there’s more!

I couldn’t stand to be scooped, so I headed out to Specs Monday night and talked to Smokey, my favorite wine salesguy. He is a bit of a Burgundy-head, as it turns out, and he turned me on to an interesting little wine: this Chateau de la Greffiere Macon La Roche Vineuse Vielles Vignes 2006. It was the last one on the shelf, and I couldn’t resist buying it.

Then I rather impulsively stopped by the grocery store and picked up some comestibles I thought might match up with this new fancy wine of mine. I thought, OK, Maconnais: we’re talking maybe creaminess, hazelnuts, maybe lemon, some mineral. The menu I came up with was: a starter of brie on baguette rounds with crushed hazelnuts and (homemade!) fig preserves. Main course was lemon-pepper-cornmeal breaded catfish, mixed wild and basmati rice, and acorn squash mashed with nutmeg and Gorgonzola. For dessert, ripe pear and some more brie. Unfortunately, I forgot that the camera was in the back of my husband’s car, so I got no pictures of my tasty dinner, but that’s life.

Greffiere Macon La Roche Vineuse 2006OK, so the wine: Clear hay yellow in color. Lemon and minerality on the nose, with a slight buttery cast when cold. Upon warming, the nose showed white flowers and yet was steelier, with some interesting hints of tart green apple and effusive, blathering pear. Nice texture: very oily with a powerful mineral bite on the tongue and at the back of the throat that lingered for a long time. I love how minerality can be super-spicy like this; and the contrast between the slick mouthfeel and the razor-like minerals was really entertaining.

My pairings were more slightly problematic as I didn’t expect such strong minerality on the wine. The an appetizer of brie/hazelnuts/fig did not pair super-well; the nuttiness did not jive. The wine was really quite nice, though, with the catfish I baked. The lemoniness is what it needed, I guess, and the pepper really brightened up the flavor of the wine. The Gorgonzola-mashed squash was a mighty tasty pairing, too. I love mashing blue cheese with baked squash; you don’t even need to butter, and the bitterness of the cheese is drowned out by the sweetness of the squash. The pear was fantastic with the wine, with a little brie to sass it up. The best thing is, I can eat some tasty leftovers all week for lunch!

There are so many people who still stick to that tired, limp “Anything But Chardonnay” drinking policy, and I feel sorry for them. If they only knew what rich, racy, spicy, elegant, powerful, reasonably priced wines made from Chardonnay that they could be drinking right now!

If there were ever a white made for winter, that season when we all hibernate back into our glasses of Red and More Red, it’s white Burgundy: the wealth it brings to the glass is definitively Yule. Use it to complement your turkey this year, or take it to all those obligatory parties you’ll be attending next month! Nothing warms the cold prospect of another year winding down like a bright glass of “silver Burgundy:” wines from the Maconnais and Cote Chalonnaise.

Kudos, Brooklynguy for a great Wine Blogging Wednesday theme!

4 replies on “Wine Blogging Wednesday #39: Silver Burgundy”

Nice post, Scamp. I’m still working on mine…. The Greffiere is not only an old fave of mine but was the white wine served at my wedding a bunch of years back. At the time, it was a great value at a mere $12/bottle. Now that I think about it, I haven’t seen it around or tasted it in quite a while. I’ll have to keep on the lookout for a bottle as it would be nice to get reacquainted.

Hi Andrea – thanks for participating, and wow – what a great post. how great is that Cheveau? i guess you apy higher shipping costs in texas, but it’s still a bargain compared to village level puligny or something. do you think it will age well or is this a drink it within the next year or so wine? too bad about the brie+macon wine. sounds like a tough one. i really don’t know what cheese i would do – maybe a hard cheese like a compte of some kind? i think your comments about winter and white burg are right on. thanks again for your great post.

Oh, I forgot to say that I only paid $14 for that bottle of Greffiere; thanks David! I don’t think you can go wrong with it. Pairing it with a shellfish would probably work like a charm. I don’t know if I’d try another cheese with it, even a compte like Neil suggested.

Neil, I would be very interested to taste that Cheveau again in 2 or three years, wouldn’t you? I’m not sure how it will age, but I’d like to see if the steel and flint takes over or not, you know? But then isn’t that what makes white Burg a joy, the fact that it has the bones to age? Even if the lushness disappears, you still have that cream/earth dichotomy, which is always so stimulating…

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