We're always on the hunt for great values - one of the most frequent requests we receive is for reasonably priced domestic Chardonnay or White Burgundy. One of our favorite places to look is closeout tastings. Here's the deal:
In general wine distributors buy as much as they think they can sell, but sometimes they end up with wine that hasn't moved like they expected it would. Whether the wine didn't get a high enough score from a famous critic, didn't catch on with their salespeople, or is just plain bad, distributors have a limited amount of cash flow like the rest of us. To turn the wine back into cash they drop the price.
These tastings are a great way to find high quality wines that may have been initially overlooked (oftentimes it takes wine a few years to develop in the bottle), however, the dud to gem ratio is very high and you have to dig through a lot of coal to find a precious few diamonds.
At a recent tasting of Burgundies there was a lot of coal, but we emerged with a great diamond: the 1999 Antonin Guyon Pernand-Vergelesses Blanc.
Here are our tasting notes on the wine:
"Full of minerality and life. With bright green apple fruit and wonderful acidity this is drinking beautifully right now. Supple yet with great mature notes of grilled nuts and lemon butter. So silky."
Where in the World?
Pernand-Vergelesse is a vastly underrated appellation, located on the western side of the Cote de Beaune near Savigny-Les-Beaune and Aloxe-Corton. The appellation produces vastly more red wine than white wine (84% v. 16%) but the whites that are made have a wonderful mineral streak combined with fatty fruit flavors like apple and pear.
While the whites are ideal for short-term aging, they won't go the distance like Meursault or Puligny-Montrachet. A great example of a not-so-famous village in Burgundy making killer wine for intermediate-term drinking.