On to our first dry white wine we had for Christmas. This bottle by relatively unknown winemaker Bernard Boisson-Vadot was recommended by one of my regular online-wine-shops here in Germany, promising lots of bang for the buck. How does Boisson-Vadot work his vines and wines? This blog post (in French) describes that the estate is maturing its whites for up to 21 months on the lees which supposedly adds complexity. Another post (in French as well) explains that vineyards are worked in a traditional way without chemical fertilizers, and including plowing of the soils. Also, Boisson-Vadot only uses very few new barriques for the élevage (25% maximum) for maintaining a very pure expression of the grape. But beside these posts, and the retailer infos, there’s not much information to be found on the winery. So let’s just get to the wine.
First of all: this wine needs a lot of air. I popped the cork at noon but this wasn’t sufficient for it to be fully open by the time we got to the scallops dish during dinner. Only after 2 days in the bottle the wine started to be truly enjoyable.
So the first impression is one of a harsh wine with shy aromatics in the nose and lots of acidity on the palate. Promising somehow, interesting already, but certainly not the right match with the scallops on that first evening. Luckily we were patient and took the time to find out its true face.
A nose of blossoms and walnuts was present from the first test sip, but only got more and more intense with the days. Together with the mouthfeel I nearly had the impression to taste one of Jura producer Tissot‘s Chardonnays (see here). I even thought it might be a touch oxidative. But after some consideration, as Tissot’s Chardonnay, I’m positive it wasn’t.
It is just the character of a Chardonnay that is anything else than generic, reduced to its pure core. On the palate it shows very lively with an electric acidity and dirty minerals. There’s tension, there’s pain, there’s a soothing minerality that even feels salty. Fruit is not on the fore to say the least. it’s by no means a fat wine, but still it is somehow loaded with substance. Some would call this a stone-licker’s wine and it is at the same time as bone-dry as Chardonnay can get. Of course there’s some of the blossoms and walnuts you get on the nose, maybe also some citrus fruit, but it’s truly about acidity and minerals.
You get the picture. This is not for everyone’s palate but rather a wine for specialists or, let’s say it: geeks. Most of my friends skipped this bottle after one or two sips and went on with a more mellow Burgundy (will follow). For me it represented one of my favorite whites of the season, but I’m sure it’ll be even better in a few years. One to bunker in the cellar and forget. (I know at least one person who would love this wine probably even more than I do – you should check it out, Didier)