Wine Guy: Affordable white Burgundy does exist
I wrote in a recent column on affordable Bordeaux, "(A)s these wines (the top Bordeaux) have reached icon status, their prices have followed into the hundreds and even thousands of dollars - per bottle. Still, it is possible to find good, affordable Bordeaux." Just change Bordeaux to Burgundy.
The most famous Burgundies (those of the Côte d'Or) have become out of reach for most wine drinkers but it is still possible to find good Burgundy at reasonable prices, if you know where to look. This column centers specifically on white Burgundy - the wines are 100 percent chardonnay as Burgundy is the birthplace of chardonnay.
A longtime favorite of mine is Mâcon-Villages. Located at the southern end of Burgundy, Mâcon chardonnay tends to be unoaked, refreshingly lively and delicate.
The large, well-respected négociant Georges Duboeuf offers a typical Mâcon (2015, $20). This wine presents taut citrus, peach and honeysuckle. The family-owned and farmed for five generations Domaine Les Chennevieres (2015, $22) is fruitful with citrus, mineral and a hint of spice.
A little to the south, Pouilly- Fuissé likely benefits from more recognition among American consumers, a vestige of its popularity in the last century. Its wines tend to be fuller with deeper fruit than Mâcon-Villages.
Duboeuf also produces a Pouilly-Fuissé (2015, $35). Citrus, apple, melon and pineapple greet, while modest oak yields a light touch of vanilla and a lush, lightly spicy finish. From another family-owned vineyard (with a 200-year history in the region), Emile Berangér (2015, $40) offers a creamy, texture, bright citrus, pear and apricot.
And from the most northern Burgundy region, Chablis may provide the best values. Comprising about 18 percent of Chablis production, the grapes for Petit Chablis are grown primarily on younger soils, mostly on the plateaus. The wines are fine everyday values, inviting attention to their refreshing, pure fruit and generally light, lively palate.
Expect aromas and flavors of citrus (lemon, lime, grapefruit) and sometimes peach or pineapple. You might even detect some of the mineral and chalky signature characteristic of Chablis.
From a family that has farmed the area since 1887 and made wine since 1957, the 2015 Domaine du Colombier ($15) offers brisk lime with a steely note. The 2015 Sebastien Dampt Terroir de Milly ($17) is nicely prickly and a bit spicy.
The 2014 Jean Marc Brocard ($18) comes from a producer with extensive holdings, mostly farmed organic or biodynamic. This one matches some mineral with its lively grapefruit, offset with a touch of honey. Finally, from a producer working with a cooperative of nearly 300 growers, the 2014 La Chablisienne Pas si Petit ($19) reflects its name ("not so little") with intense gooseberry, a touch of grapefruit and honey.
As a bonus, these wines are versatile accompaniments to food, nicely complementing egg dishes, a variety of fish, shellfish and raw seafood, picnic foods, even grilled and barbecue foods. And they are ideal as an aperitif.