Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rully Mollepierre Matthieu de Brully, 2004

The Cote d'Or is a narrow 30-mile stretch of hillside vineyards producing some of the finest and most expensive Chardonnay wines in the world. The price and reputation of a particular wine depends more than anything else on the location of the vineyard in relation to the hillside and the sun (east slopes of limestone soil are favored). The French, over several centuries of growing grapes and enjoying wine, have determined that certain sites are precious. And they are right.

Rully is the first village south of the Cote d'Or, in an area known as the Cote Chalonnaise. The hillsides there are less regular in their formation, the vineyard sites less desirable and the wines correspondingly less expensive. When I sample Rully wines at tastings, I am nearly always impressed by the full body and rich, complex flavors and scents--hazelnuts, white flowers, peaches, grain. These wines, in my opinion, are tremendous values; yet I don't buy many since the best examples, such as Rully les Pucelles and Rully les Gresigny, still cost $20 to $25, and that is a bit out of my price range. When I saw this Rully offered for $12.99 at Village Corner in Ann Arbor, I jumped at the opportunity.

Having had three bottles of the 2004 Rully Mollepierre, I have to admit that it is NOT the best example of Rully but rather on a quality level similar to that of a good Macon Villages. While not a screaming bargain, it is worth the price I paid. Rully wines generally age well for five years or more, but this 2004 Mollepierre is clearly at the top end of its aging cycle. It's a medium deep gold--definitely mature. The green apple scents have ripened and mellowed. I also smell ripe pears, flowers, nuts and a hint of lemon. The character of unoaked (or lightly oaked) Chardonnay fruit comes through clearly on the palate but with less complexity than the previous bottle (November 13, 2007). With pork chops and fried apples/onions, it's a very nice wine. But one of these days, I'll splurge on a Rully les Pucelles or Rully les Gresigny.

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