THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 7 P A R T 4 J U L Y 2 0 1 9 549
We recently tasted the 2016 Couvent des Jacobins Bourgogne Blanc, SKU
475368, at $31. This regional wine, the entry-level white Burgundy from négociant
powerhouse Louis Jadot, proves that the wine does not have to come
from a Premier Cru or Grand Cru vineyard to be good. It is a medium-bodied
white wine with just a touch of oak. We found notes of lemon and vanilla on
the nose, followed by melon, stone fruit and honey in the mouth. It has a softness
on the tongue which gives way to a fresh acidity in the finish. We paired
it with salmon and lemon risotto, but it will go well with any fish dish.
NEW WORLD CHARDONNAY
The North American answer to Burgundy is undoubtedly California
Chardonnay. It has probably been so since an entry from Chateau Montelena
won the so-called “Judgment of Paris” in 1976, beating several Burgundian
whites in a blind tasting.
Arguably, the Napa Valley is a little too warm for Chardonnay, and some
of the offerings from that appellation are a little too extracted for our taste.
But if you like a big, buttery Chardonnay that has plenty of oak and abundant
flavour, there is nothing wrong with the products from Napa producers
like Rombauer, Shafer and Grgich Hills, all of which exhibit that style.
In our view, however, the better California “chards” come from Sonoma,
Sonoma Coast, the Russian River Valley and Santa Cruz, which are closer to
the Pacific and benefit from the diurnal cooling and coastal fog in which the
Burgundian varietals seem to thrive.
Our favorites in this category are the DuMOL Russian River Valley Chardonnay,
SKU 139822, at $103, and the Ridge Santa Cruz Chardonnay, SKU
720664, at $86. These are elegant wines that do not overwhelm the drinker
with too much oak and are nicely balanced. They are available at BC Liquor
Stores, at better wine shops and on many restaurant wine lists.
Our pick in this category is the 2016 Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay,
SKU 275552, $28 (Sonoma). BC Liquor Stores have been stocking this wine
for many years. It rarely gets any special attention on the shelves with postings
of its high ratings, yet year after year, it provides high quality at a reasonable
price. Chalk Hill is an American Viticultural Area (“AVA”)
established in 1983. It is distinguishable from other areas within Sonoma’s
Russian River Valley for its chalky white ash soil. Not unlike its French
cousins in Chablis, there is a subtle minerality to this Chalk Hill wine that