548 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 77 PART 4 JULY 2019
choice for a special occasion or a gift to a valued friend or client. The less
costly selections are recommended for everyday drinking and to enjoy with
family and friends.
There is one final point that we should make: readers should not assume
that the expensive wines are necessarily any better than their cheaper
counterparts. There are two things that we can tell you about the wine
industry. The first is that wine is a deeply personal thing; it is only your
taste that matters and you should not necessarily trust someone else’s ratings.
The second is that good wines can be found at almost any price point.
You might just have to look a little harder.
OLD WORLD CHARDONNAY
In the Old World, wines are described by where they come from; in the New
World, wine producers tend to identify the wine by the variety of grape or
the blend thereof. This can make it difficult for the consumer to know what
to look for when buying wines from Europe. In Burgundy, however, there
is no such confusion, because every white wine is made from Chardonnay.
In Burgundy, the bottom of the pyramid is occupied by regional wines
that simply say “Bourgogne” on the label. On the second tier from the bottom
we have “village” wines that identify the local provenance of the wine,
such as “Puligny-Montrachet”, the name of a small village in the Côte de
Beaune. Next up the scale are wines from vineyards designated as Premier
Cru (there are, for example, 17 such vineyards in and around the town of
Puligny-Montrachet), and at the top of the heap are vineyards with the distinction
Grand Cru (of which there are, for example, only four vineyards in
the same town).
Chardonnay flourishes in the Côte de Beaune, and within this small part
of Burgundy you will find 126 acres of vineyards designated as “Corton-
Charlemagne”, just north of Beaune near the village of Aloxe-Corton. If you
journey south of the town of Beaune you will find Puligny-Montrachet,
Chassagne-Montrachet and Meursault, from which world-famous white
wines are produced. The wines from the Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards
of these areas will all fit into the “high” category.
A couple of years ago, we had the pleasure of tasting and then sharing a
case of the 2010 vintage of the Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne Grand
Cru. Our scribbled tasting notes are brief and hard to discern, but they read
something like “sex in a glass”. This might be the perfect Chardonnay. You
can buy the 2015 vintage for $250.