Saturday, June 12, 2010

Domaine Faively Montagny, 2006

If you want to know what Chardonnay from a good terroir tastes like without the influence of oak, give this wine a try. Chardonnay is the only varietal permitted in Montagny, a village at the extreme south of the Cote Chalonnaise, just north of the Maconnais border. These two appellations (Chalonaise and Maconnais) are known for offering up good quality but reasonably priced white Burgundies. Faively's vineyards in Montagny were planted in 1991 and 1994 on steep slopes, up to 400 meters in elevation, with east/southeast exposure.

When I first tasted this wine, I assumed that it had been aged in oak because the aromas and flavors were beautifully framed with a good balance of fruit and acidity. I get lemon, spring flowers and minerals along with the apply Chardonnay fruit--very zesty, a good match for shrimp pasta. This is not at all like an Australian or New Zealand unoaked Chardonny, and even the most avid oak drinker could not accuse this wine of being "sweet." The color is lighter than you would expect from a barrel-aged wine, however, and Faively's web site confirmed it for me: "No barrel treatment; aged 10 months" (presumably in stainless steel). What I like most about this wine is that it tastes even better when it warms to room temperature. Unlike the Edna Valley Chardonnay (see above), which talks about terroir and gives you oak, this wine walks the walk as well.

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