Vignerons De Buxy Buissonnier Montagny 2013
Ask yourself: when was the last time you had a glass of Chardonnay? If you’re like most people I know, it’s been a long time. Until I started dating my husband, who loves Chardonnay because he’s sort of a genius, I hadn’t had a glass in years and likely would’ve refused one if offered.
You also probably think you don’t like Chardonnay. You probably think it’s sweet and creamy and not really wine. That’s because, in the ’80s and into the ’90s, the market was super saturated with BIG and OAKY California Chardonnay. Wines that were fermented and aged in new American oak, underwent full malolactic fermentation (when sour acids are turned into softer acids), and were ripe with big, huge, confected flavours.
So of course there was a backlash. The ABC movement – Anything but Chardonnay – took root and it was almost as if everyone forgot that Chardonnay could be amazing and subtle and delightful. It was almost like everyone forgot about Burgundy.
Here’s the thing about Chardonnay: it grows well everywhere, but it’s almost completely neutral. Sure it takes on different aromatics depending on where it’s grown, but there’s a reason people call it a “winemaker’s grape”. Clearly, the winemakers in California went a bit too far and everyone got turned off and stopped drinking it. But that’s crazy. (And luckily, even they are starting to pull back.)
Chardonnay, especially in cooler climates like Burgundy and Ontario (oh yes, we share a similar latitude and soil structure to the fabled region), can make stunning, elegant wines. They vary from unoaked and crisp in Chablis to subtly oaked masterpieces in Meursault. But they’re all beautiful expressions of this weirdo grape that can be enjoyed as an aperitif, sipped over dinner, and can even inspire an entire movement.
This particular bottle of white Burgundy is from an area in the Côte Chalonnaise called Montagny. The fact that we know it’s from Montagny, that it isn’t labeled simply Bourgogne Blanc, and it’s just $20 is kind of insane (Burgundy is not a region known for its value). It’s one of those bottles you crack, take a whiff and sigh. We drank a glass of this while a chicken roasted, loved it while eating that same chicken, and then finished the bottle a couple hours later with a bowl of popcorn. It was perfect at every stage. And it’s proof that if you haven’t given Chardonnay a chance recently, you definitely should.
Now I have to say something difficult, so don’t hate me: There are only a couple hundred bottles of this wine left at the LCBO. It flew off the shelves. They do bring it in every vintage, so you’ll see it again, but this particular bottle might be hard to find. You will, however, find a Premier Cru Montagny from the same producers at $25 (another insane value) and a few other bottles from other producers in the region. So use this as a guide and grab a bottle of Chardonnay. Then thank me.
Nose: Lemon and peach, buttered popcorn, something exotic, white pepper and even a touch of pineapple and a hint of vanilla.
Palate: Tangy and mouthwatering, rich but light. It’s lemony with subtle oak evidence (although the winemaker claims there's no oak, so it might be the malo or lees talking), almondy and textured. I wrote in my notes that it was almost like licking the popsicle stick as you finish an orange Creamsicle (I think I have popsicles on the brain). It was really easy to drink and balanced, despite a tiny bit of bitterness on the finish. And it was just as good really cold as it was once it warmed up a bit.