Saturday, July 3, 2010

Chateau de Maligny Chablis Premier Cru Montee de Tonnerre, 1996

This is my idea of Chardonnay at its best--a well aged Premier Cru Chablis from a top vineyard. No oak, no butter, no toast, no cream, no tropical fruits, no lime lollipop--just good wine that reflects its soil and micro-climate.

The color is a beautiful bright yellow, medium deep with some hints of green even at this advanced age. The flinty, mineral tones that are typical of Chablis are present from the first sniff and they are embellished by pretty scents of white flowers, pears, citrus and a hint of honey. There is nothing showy or flashy, just rich, concentrated fruit that keeps coming at you. The finish is long and powerful.

When I bought this bottle from Sam's more than a decade ago, it was only about $10, and the salesman tried to point me to more expensive bottlings of Montee de Tonnerre. If I wanted something to drink tonight, he said, this wine would be okay. I have read reports of some of the wines he tried to sell me; they are all dead in the water. And this wine is still cranking.

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