Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ho-Hum vs. Humdinger in White Burgundy

My cat may ignore white Burgundy — he prefers beer and will happily if naughtily lick the lip of any open bottle — but I do my best to keep these wines in my orbit. With Burgundy's endless numbers of producers, most of who produce wines from a large number of climats, it's difficult for me to wrap my brain around the region. So my approach is to take it slow and tackle just a few producers at a time.

Domaine Jean Touzot Mâcon-Villages Vieilles Vignes 2007
Between the vintage and the fact that this reasonably priced ($15) Mâcon is sourced from old vines, I had hopes that this wine would show good energy and character. Alas, this fell a bit flat. It's clean and unoaked and hardly fat, but there's just not a whole lot going on — it's neither energetic nor voluptuous, neither creamy nor precise. Noblet's lightly oaked Mâcon at the same price point is a much better bet, as is Thévenet's unoaked Mâcon that costs just a few bucks more.

Unfortunately, I can't find any usable information online about this producer or his methods.

Yves Boyer-Martenot Meursault Les Narvaux 2005
This is a big step up from the Touzot in neighborhood and price (close to $40), and given that it's also from a different vintage and is aged in oak, it doesn't seem quite right to pair these two reviews.

But I'm going to go with it, anyway, because while the sweet kiss of oak gives this wine notes of cream, nuts, and a hint of tropicalia, this is fabulously transparent and precise. The nice long finish of pear, lemon, coconut, and stones fades ever so slowly to a pure and clean tone of mineral and acid energy. That energy seemed to flag a bit on the second night open, but it came roaring back on nights three and four. Provided this doesn't fall prey to the dreaded prem-ox problem that reputedly afflicts too many white Burgundies, this should hold up for quite some time.

The Narvaux vineyards are high on the Meursault slope, just above the 1er cru vineyards. The Skurnik web site tells us that Yves Boyer ferments using only wild yeasts and that roughly one-third of the oak barrels are new.


David McDuff said...

Man, your cat looks pissed....

It's not much, but here's a little info on Touzot:


Should you stumble across it, Jean-Pierre Diconne also makes a very fine "Les Narvaux" that should sell in the same ballpark range as the Boyer-Martenot, though it may be creeping closer to $50 these days.

Wicker Parker said...

Good sleuthing, David, I hadn't seen that page on Touzot. And thanks also for the nod toward Diconne.

As for my cat -- he is an intense and insistent little man! Thankfully he's only a jealous and not vengeful cat, otherwise I'd be toast.