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17/07/2020

BI Staff pick their most beloved Chardonnays

by BI Team

As the temperatures rise we’ve been celebrating Chardonnay Week here at BI! We asked our team to pick some of their favourite Chardonnays and reflect on when they realised the true elegance, power, and downright deliciousness of this great white grape. From DRC to vintage Krug, here are the bottles that mesmerised us!

 

Giles Cooper (Purchasing)

 

Your favourite Chardonnay (and why)

They even make killer Chardonnay in Italy and Isole e Olena’s Collezione Privata – previously known as Collezione di Marchi – has long been a big favourite with its toasty, nutty, green olive skin notes… it’s unmistakably Chardonnay but it  simply has to be from Italy. Plus it was the first wine my wife and I drank on our honeymoon on Lago di Orta so it will always have a special place in my heart.

 

Your ‘eureka’ moment with Chardonnay

Sharing Kistler Vineyard Chardonnay alongside a Batard Montrachet from the Hospices be Beaune with a great friend. It was almost a shame to drink the wines together as the strengths in one seemed to reflect as weaknesses in the other… it taught me two things: never pit your heroes against each other, and top California Chardonnay can totally stand up to Grand Cru Burgundy.

 

The best Chardonnay experience you’ve ever had (if this isn’t the same as the above)

Back in my days at Majestic wine head office I was lucky enough to attend one of the then-Chairman’s ‘Old World vs New World’ Chardonnay tastings. The list of wines was mesmerising… but it was the 1986 DRC Montrachet that unsurprisingly took the cake. After the tasting I had a cup of tea to gather myself. 45 minutes after that I could still taste the Montrachet. If I try hard enough I can still taste it now…

 

Ellie Roberts (Sales Team)

 

Your favourite Chardonnay (and why)

It would have to be Mate’s Chardonnay from the kings and queens of new world Chardonnay at Kumeu River (and arguably the rest of the world for that matter). Mate’s is one of the epic single vineyards at Kumeu River which, understandably, have achieved cult status in recent years. There is hardly any of it around so to be able to even taste it is always a privilege and a joy. To be honest anything the Brajkovich family at KR turn their hand to is destined to be a thing of beauty. I am constantly singing the praises of their entry level Kumeu Village which is stupidly inexpensive and thus I have glugged a lot of it during lockdown.

 

Your ‘eureka’ moment with Chardonnay

There have been a lot – most of these have been just through attending tastings at BI. I wax lyrical about most New World Chardonnays we try (and we do try a lot). The most recent was a tiny production Sonoma Chardonnay from Hartford Court - ‘Seascape’ Chardonnay 2016. There is no ridge between the ocean and the vineyard so Seascape is extremely cool meaning it’s intensely mineral with layers of brilliant complexity. I finished the bottle later that evening over prawn linguine with a friend and I’ve never wished a bottle was a magnum (or imperial) more.

 

The best Chardonnay experience you’ve ever had (if this isn’t the same as the above)

The BI sales team to Burgundy in June 2019 had many, many brilliant Chardonnay experiences but the icing on the cake had to be tasting in the cellars of the incredible Domaine Bruno Colin. The wines were truly phenomenal but made even more so by tasting from barrel in humble surroundings in and amongst the barrels. Tasting the Chevalier & Bartard Montrachet new vintages from barrel is an experience I don’t think I, or any of the team, will forget – it is no surprise that they were, and will continue to be, outstanding wines.

 

Philippe Guittard (Purchasing) 

 

Your favourite Chardonnay (and why)

2014 white Burgundy. 2014 was an outstanding vintage for white Burgundy and it is difficult to put a foot wrong when picking one considering how many producers have produced extraordinary wines that year. From the most modest Bourgogne blanc all the way up to Grand Cru there is so much to chose from. These are still very young though and require a fair amount of air to express themselves.

 

Your ‘eureka’ moment with Chardonnay

Tasting Bouchard Corton Charlemagne 1958 coming from the producer’s cellars. It was the first time I tasted a Chardonnay that was more than 30 years old and it showed me how well Chardonnay is capable of aging for a very long time. If you pick the right grower and vineyard the result can be truly magical.

 

The best Chardonnay experience you’ve ever had (if this isn’t the same as the above)

Salon 1996. An extraordinary Blanc de Blancs from an outstanding vintage. Tasted back in 2016 it was still a baby and looked like it could age for ever.

Guy Ruston (Managing Director, Asia Pacific)

Your favourite Chardonnay (and why)

Krug Clos du Mesnil 1988. While I could have name checked some DRC Monty or some Coche, I LOVE Champagne, so I feel a duty to champion an incarnation of Chardonnay that has some bubbles. Krug’s ‘88 CdM is my favourite vintage of this most revered of Blanc de Blancs, therefore it is my favourite Chardonnay period.

 

Your ‘eureka’ moment with Chardonnay

An ‘81 Lafon Meursault Perrieres crossed my bow at a La Paulee event in HK in 2013. My experiences with wines from my birth year had been ‘mixed’ at best up to that point. This bottle however, was a revelation. Dominique’s Papa, knew a thing or two about Chardonnay.

 

The best Chardonnay experience you’ve ever had (if this isn’t the same as the above)

Drinking Krug Clos du Mesnil 1979 in the Clos du Mesnil vineyard with some dear clients and Olivier Krug. A true once-in-a-lifetime wine experience. The ‘79 was still fresh as a daisy too!

 

Hamish Orr Ewing (Sales Team)

 

Your favourite Chardonnay (and why)

Gavin Chanin Sanford Benedict, Santa Barbara – because it always beats 1er Cru white Burgundy in blind tastings! And it’s made by one of the nicest winemakers you will meet.

 

Your ‘eureka’ moment with Chardonnay

Tasting Domaine de la Vougeraie’s Clos Blanc de Vougeot 2009 from barrel with Pierre Vincent. One of the richest, most buttery, gorgeous Chardonnays on the planet. Shortly afterwards it became the first case of wine I bought en primeur.

 

The best Chardonnay experience you’ve ever had (if this isn’t the same as the above)

Explaining to a very old friend and client that pre-1995 white Burgundy were unaffected by premature oxidation and thus were incredible, near-mythical wines. Then finding a bottle of 1993 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrieres for him. Then drinking it together!

 

Having followed COVID-19 Government advice, we have temporarily closed our London office until further notice, we are however operating as normal. Click here to read more