In 2015 Burgundy produced high quality whites with amazing elegance for such a warm vintage. The hot summer produced full flavoured chardonnays with surprising acidity and a charming velvety texture. The producers that managed to preserve acidity, crafted wines that should stand the test of time for a decade or so. A selection of youthful high quality 2015 whites tasted in Burgundy showed remarkable consistency. Many elite white Burgundies arriving in our market offer a much better quality/price ratio than their counterpart reds.
As usual a group of 16 experienced tasters analyzed seven (7) 2015 white Burgundies plus a mystery wine in the usual blind tasting format.
Results: To establish the order of preference of the tasting panel, 3 points were awarded to a first place vote, 2 pts for a 2nd place vote and 1pt for a 3rd place vote.
To better understand this vintage it must be mentioned that high acid content in whites is trendy. Many wine writers and sommeliers tend to give better scores to whites displaying higher acid content. This trend has pushed some producers to harvest earlier, or to block/skip the malolactic fermentation to keep sharper acidity in their wines. Many of the participants at this tasting were surprised by such high acid content, in what is reputed to be a fairly warm vintage.
Two wines stood out as favourites: finishing first with 23 pts was the Meursault Les Narvaux from Remi Jobard followed closely in second spot by the Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos from William Fèvre with 20 pts. The Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Sous Frétille from Rapet Père & Fils came in 3rd with 15 pts. The most expensive wine, Meursault Les Tessons Pierre Morey (145$) finished dead last with only 2 pts. Six (6) tasters voted the Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir Beaudoin Millet as a disappointment. The wine seemed a bit oxidised. The Puligny Les Tremblots Vieilles VIgnes from Hubert Lamy did not perform well with only 3 pts. It displayed a very subdued nose with hints of acetone. Both wines should be re-tasted to establish if these were off bottles. As for the mystery wine, eight (8) participants correctly identified wine #5 as the odd man out. But all were surprised by its origin: Chardonnay Sons de Prades 2015 Conca de Barbera, Torres (Spain).
Most of the wines displayed typical characteristics of white Burgundies with surprising acidity for this fairly warm vintage. The best wines offered freshness, intensity, balance and good length. Not to mention great aging potential.
My top three wines were: 1- Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Sous Frétille, Domaine Rapet 2- Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos, William Fèvre 3- Meursault Les Narvaux, Remi Jobard. See my tasting notes below.
The wines : Order of blind tasting:
1- Meursault Les Tessons, Pierre Morey (Group score: 2 pts) 145$
Surprising lively acidity. Fruity nose displaying citrus and oxidised apple scents. Good intensity, balance and length. The oak remains obvious at this stage. Good aging potential : 5 to 7 years. My rating: 91/100
2- Meursault Les Narvaux, Remi Jobard (Group Score: 23 pts) 96$
The preferred wine of the tasting. Charming nose displaying citrus and apple with discreet oak. Fresh acidity, great balance, elegance and a lovely lengthy finish. Superb! Good aging potential: 5 to 7 years. My rating: 93/100
3- Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Sous Frétille, Domaine Rapet Père & Fils (Group score: 15 pts) 75$
My favourite wine of the tasting, but not by much! Some mineral and smoky oak scents with ripe pear and apple. More richness and fullness on the palate. Refreshing acidity, good balance and length. Should improve over the next 4 to 6 years. My rating: 94+/100
4- Sons de Prades 2015 Conca de Barbera, Torres, Spain (Group score: 8 pts) 32$
Eight (8) participants acknowledged it as the mystery wine. Lots of ripe tropical fruits with a hint of sweet corn. Soft acidity, not as lively as the Burgundies. A lovely Chardonnay at a very affordable price! Some potential : 3 to 4 years. My rating: 92/100
5- Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir, Beaudoin Millet (Group score: 6 pts) 69$
Six participants categorized this Chablis as disappointing. The nose showed some oxidation/browning apple. Could this be the style Beaudoin Millet is trying to achieve or simply bad winemaking? Very high acid content and a bitter finish. Needs to be retasted. My rating: 88?/100
6- Pouilly-Vinzelles Les Quarts, La Soufrandière/Brett Brothers (Group score: 13 pts) 74$
This Maconnais white still managed to finish fourth! Ripe nose displaying lots of citrus fruit with mineral hints. Lively and elegant with a charming lingering finish. Some potential : 4 to 6 years. A bit expensive for this appellation. My rating: 92/100
7- Puligny-Montrachet Les Tremblots, Domaine Hubert Lamy (Group score: 3 pts) 95$
Faint nose, displaying discreet fruit with a hint of acetone. Lively acidity, on the delicate side with a slight bitter finish. Could be an off bottle, should be retasted. My rating: 89?/100
8- Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos, William Fèvre (Group score: 20 pts) 133$
The 2nd favourite wine of the tasting. Very pale colour with a green tinge. Typical mineral nose offering citrus and apple scents. Very seductive/elegant with lively acidity and superb balance. An intense, elegant and charming Chablis. Good potential : 6 to 8 years. My rating: 94/100
Photo: Emanuel Delmas