Friday, February 6, 2009

Louis Latour Puligny-Montrachet 2003

I don't like Chardonnay. 

If you are still reading, let me explain why. 

I don't like Chardonnay in the same sense I don't like salmon. 

Now, if I haven't lost you yet, maybe I can really tell you something about me. Ok, let me start with salmon: salmon is an overrated and overpriced fish. C'mon, there are plenty of tastier fishes and, yet, 90% of the times salmon is almost the only fish choice at a restaurant. And why is that? Because salmon is familiar, easy, trendy and "safe". Now, I like variety, I like bold flavors and I have a natural, ancestral aversion to trendiness (to mainstream, actually). Salmon is the paradigm of what I don't like in food.

Chardonnay is in the wine world what salmon is in the fish world: an overrated and mostly overpriced wine. Chardonnay is grown everywhere, everybody drinks it, and everybody likes it. Unfortunately, the trend for the past 15 years was to create the perfect template, a standardized chardonnay regardless of the growing region. The result is that 99% of the Chards out there taste the same. Well, to be precise there are 2 templates: the tasteless, to-be-drunk-chilled, easygoing, mindless whites and the over-powerful, over-oaked, over-alcoholic deep yellows. Beware of both, avoid them at all cost: they will corrupt your taste and your mind. UN should proclaim a moratorium on mainstream Chards.

So, after all this nonsensical rambling, I must confess that finding a great Chardonnay is like finding a rare gem. And to find such a rarity I almost always have to go back to my beloved Bourgogne, homeland of the easiest and the hardest grapes of all (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir), plus the overlooked Gamay which is almost invariably better than one would think (if you are smart enough to decline the Nouveaux). To tell the truth, Champagne is another great place to find good Chardonnays. Anyway, this Puligny-Montrachet is an example of what emotions a great Chardonnay can evoke. 

BTW, when I'm in the mood to have a great salmon, I always go to one of my favorite restaurants, La Corte di Pogliano Milanese, where Leonardo Buoso is capable of ennobling even a stupid fish. Alas, it's now 6,000 miles away!

Tasting notes: Deep yellow gold color with green reflections. The nose is a wonderful and complex bouquet of flowery (elder, lilac), fruity (tangerine, passionfruit, peach, hazelnut) and mineral (steel, graphite) flavors. The palate is smooth and ample, with a great correspondence with the nose. The long and complex finish is superb, leaving the mouth fresh and watering for more. A great wine, showing the full potential of Chardonnay, very drinkable now and probably improving for at least a decade.

Score: 90/100

Price: $34.99

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