For the past few years, Chardonnay has been so unhip that some clever wine drinker coined the term "ABC" (Anything But Chardonnay) .
But at Crush, we like to think ABC stands for "Awesome Bottles of Chardonnay," because believe it or not, they do exist.
While the rich, oaky and viscous style of Chardonnay has its place and is easy to drink at a party, a different type of Chardonnay makes the Crush staff do cartwheels: the kind that's racy, minerally and funky (in a barnyard kind of way). Even better, great Chardonnay has tremendous length and complexity.
Most Chardonnay that fits this description comes from the Burgundy region in France.
If you're used to blousey, New World Chardonnays, it's time to reintroduce yourself to the grape; otherwise, you'll miss out on wines that are expressive and full of character.
We suggest you start with Gerard Chavy's 2001 St. Aubin 1er Cru "En Remilly".
Chavy's "En Remilly" acts as a reflection of terroir and a lens to the soil where the grapes were grown. Instead of muddling its sense of place, the oak actually helps the terroir emerge.
"Value" White Burgundy is one of the most difficult wines to find, and for less than $30 a bottle, this wine shows what truly profound Chardonnay is about: elegance, concentration, minerality, earthiness and purity.
The Chavy "En Remilly" is a perfect partner to rich dishes or seafood. While it is drinking beautifully now, stored properly, it will continue to improve into the spring and summer months and over the next year or two.
St. Aubin is, in my eyes, the top appellation for value in white Burgundy, and En Remilly is a vineyard that is right next to the great Grand Cru Chevalier-Montrachet vineyard.
While the wine does not have the fat of Chevalier, it sure comes close in the elegance department.