A Serendipitous Chardonnay

A Serendipitous Chardonnay

Posted on Jun, 17. 2010 by

Categories: Wine

We’ve been offering a number of wines lately that are perfect for summer consumption, and just in time given the early arrival of the heat and humidity this year. While we’re offered a wide variety of varietals (in both white and rose), it struck me that we haven’t done much recently with good old fashioned Chardonnay. So I went on a quest with our distributors to find a high quality, reasonably priced chard to offer out to the group, and I couldn’t be more excited with what we’ve come up with.

The 2006 Domaine Besson Givry Le Haut Colombier blanc was a revelation when we first tasted it some months ago. Kevin Schultz of Dionysos Imports had sent a box of wine to the Guild office for a Wednesday tasting back in the winter, and mysteriously a bottle of the 06 Besson blanc happened to get delivered alongside its brother (the 06 Besson Grands Pretans rouge) that we were tasting that evening. The way I recall it, as we tasted through Kevin’s other wines at some point in the evening the urge came over us to pull the cork on the blanc as well, just for fun. I recall myself and others being really surprised by and impressed with it, and making a mental note that it was a terrific value that we ought to follow up on later.

Now, like so many things, this brilliant idea somehow got lost amidst the enthusiasm of the evening and the other wine we formally tasted that night and was forgotten…until just a few days ago. In the middle of my quest for chardonnay, we got a closeout list from our friends at Dionysos and there before my very eyes, at 25% off the prior price, was the 06 Besson blanc. Well how about that. I was just a little concerned about my recollection however (as one’s wine memory can become rose-colored with time), so I promptly secured another bottle from Kevin to give it a re-taste — the sacrifices we make in the name of science. As I sit here finishing the last glass of the bottle on its second night, I am even more impressed with it than I was back then. Here are my notes:
2006 Guillemette et Xavier Besson Givry Le Haut ColombierFrance, Burgundy, Côte Chalonnaise, Givry (6/16/2010)

Medium gold color. Nose of lemon curd and almond paste. On the palate, grilled lemon, baked apple and almond on the attack, with a carmelized sugar/creme brulee finish framed by a healthy dose of oak. Vibrant acidity lends focus, though the edges have softened quite nicely as it enters middle age. Drinking great right now… (91 pts.)

In addition, when I mentioned to Will earlier today that I had sampled the Besson blanc to offer out and asked if he remembered it, he just about came through the phone, saying “oh, I LOVE that wine” (can’t you just hear Will’s voice and intonation?). Not only that, he had exactly the same recollection of the facts and circumstances of our first encounter with it as I did. So you can rest assured our resident Burgundy champion enthusiastically supports this offer as well.

In any event, on to the specifics:

2006 Domaine Besson Givry Le Haut Colombier blanc
Member Price: [private_member] Grand Cru: $15.40 • Premier Cru: $16.10 [/private_member]
Retail Price: $27.00
Buy this wine!

A price in the mid-teens is a mere pittance for classy white burgundy with enough bottle age to begin showing some lovely secondary nuances. I think this wine is an outstanding example of its type — if you’re into white burgundy this is a slam dunk, and if you’re more of a California Chardonnay person stylistically, this is one to buy to understand what the Francophiles get so excited about.

One Response to “A Serendipitous Chardonnay”

  1. Michael Davis

    17. Jun, 2010

    I drank this last night and it is every bit as good as Kevin and Will said. A steal at this price too.

    Finding great inexpensive Burgundy is my favorite aspect of the Guild. Before I was a member it was an expensive hit and miss game. Now, I have at least a couple good house burgs around at all times.