White Burgundies that won’t break the bank are worth the search

November 4, 2023

Long-timers know I often whine about pricing on White Burgundy wines, many of which reside in the $400-$900 realm and rate from the mid-90s up. Recently I had the opportunity to sample several Louis Jadot products that were inexpensive, worthwhile and findable. The recommended vintages are on the shelves. In the event you are seeing 2021, be careful. The vintage had issues in Burgundy, but scores may not reflect that. If you follow my advice, always be sure of the vintage. Louis Jadot Chardonnay Bourgogne Blanc 2021, 89 McD, $18, 100% Chardonnay, is full bodied and spent eight months in oak. Pale yellow, it opens to almond, citrus and white floral bouquet. On the palate, citrus repeats with tart green apple. Bright acidity lifts the long, clean finish. Goes well with oysters and white fish with a Fumé Blanc sauce. LJ Macon Village 2020 only rates 90 McD. I added 1 price point for careful shoppers. Available prices were from $13-$24. No oak here; look for melon, crisp apple and citrus aromas supported by bright mineral acidity. On the palate, more honeydew and lemon. Crabcakes, scallops and other shellfish. Dry Pinot Grigio fans may wish to try a bottle. Those who like it and switch can find a case under $144. It keeps. Louis Latour Grand Ardèche Chardonnay, 91 McD, is another fairly priced French Chardonnay; the 2019 can be had under $17. It won double gold and wine of the year by country at Sommeliers Choice awards in 2022. Latour’s Macon Village Chameroy 2020 won gold also, 91 McD, $23. Those buying domestic, look for Bogle Phantom Chardonnay, 90 McD, $17. Also, Bogle Bread & Butter Chard is good for readers who enjoy tropical fruit, banana, mango, honeysuckle, and barrel spice, caramel-vanilla nose. Pineapple, apricot, wet stone and cinnamon toast on the palate are carried by a nicely balanced, buttery frame, 87 McD. Although I usually enjoy big, old-style chardonnay, the opulent fruit made it appear a bit sweet for my palate, but I added 1 price pt at $16. <BREAK>

When many folks see the name Bruno Giacoso, the red wine light turns on. I wrote of another of its reds recently. Bruno spent about 70 years upgrading his four-generation family company and may have been the top name in Barolo and Barbaresco in Piedmont during his lifetime. The company now is in the hands of Bruna, his very able daughter, well trained by papa, and the hits keep on coming. The 2020 Roero Arneis DOCG is an important exception to the winery’s outstanding lineup of reds. Not only is it white, it also rates 93 McD. I just saw a sale price of $176 for six bottles. Arneis, like Viognier, is one of those oldie-but-goody local varietals that was nearly extinct. As recently the 1960s, there were only a few hectares (less than 1/3 acre) left. Its renaissance is credited to Alfredo Currado, scion of the highly regarded Vietti family. Roero is the location of the vineyard. Green-tinted, dark straw-colored with a lovely bouquet of apricot, lemon, peach and pineapple, plus floral accent. Fresh fruit and bright acidity on the dry palate; full-bodied, with mineral acidity through its long, palate-cleansing finish.

It has been a while since I wrote about Tenuta di Nozzole Chianti Classico (Sangiovese) DOCG Riserva. This was a staple item on local lists before so-called Tuscan blends, driven by U.S. tourists demanding Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, prompted crafty Italians to start blending with them, causing their rise in popularity. It helped that these Super Tuscans brought a much higher price, and more’s the pity, for perennial 89-91-point ratings by most wine scribblers and always priced conservatively. The past 10 years, careful shoppers could buy this around $20. I am happy to inform fans of “Lady and the Tramp” that they can still find the 2020 new release, McD 91 plus 1 price point, for $22. Ruby red with a mixed bouquet of strawberry, cherry and sugar cookie, with a hint of wax. Typical bright acidity and integrated tannin. Adding a red-and-white-checked tablecloth, a candle, garlic bread, a pound of spaghetti, some homemade meatballs and sauce from the last of the tomatoes may prompt a family of four to rub noses.


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