Vin Jaune's Grand Cru
2006 Macle Château-Chalon
"One of those wines that seems to rifle through a repertoire of the natural world"
Jean and Laurent Macle's Chateau Chalons are simply legendary. They represent Vin Jaune at it most elegant, most mineral, with a depth and longevity that's arguably unrivaled in the region.
Château Chalon is the Grand Cru of Vin Jaune. This is where one of the world's most unique wines reaches the pinnacle of fineness and deep complexity.
Curnonsky, a famous 20th Century Parisian gourmet known as the "Prince of Gastronomes," included the wines of Chateau Chalon among "the five great white wines of France," along with Montrachet and Yquem.
Macle's Chateau Chalon is the benchmark of Château Chalon, a vinicultural treasure. A tasting of 78, 79, 81 and 82 a few years ago only confirmed the breed and importance of these wines.
Macle's Château Chalons have a wicked singular complexity. In The New France, Andrew Jefford comments that Macle’s wines, "...seem to rifle through a repertoire of the natural world as you sniff and sip."
And that begins to give you a sense of the vast range of flavors and scents that a Macle Château Chalon offers. Think of a mind-twisting spectrum of marmalade, burnt orange, lemon pith, plums, mushrooms, celery, pine needles, moss, walnut, baking spices, and pure rocky minerality.
Macle's 2006 Château Chalon emphasizes the ripe citrus elements upfront, but soon gives way to a dizzying wash of minerals, spice, earth and other savory notes. It's all really glorious. Sous Voile wines, like Château Chalon, do really well in riper vintages, and '06 is a great example of this. The extra fruit that such vintages bring seems to give the wines an extra dimension and lift of complexity while still delivering tons of acidity.
The Macle's print, "Vin de Garde" or wine for keeping, in the center of the label. And, for sure, Macle's can age 30, 40 and 50 years without any difficulty. Part of that means that some vintages can be shy in their youth. The beautiful thing about the 06 is that it offers a fairly accurate snapshot of just how incredible these wines are.
We've been offering Macle's Chateau Chalon since the 1999 vintage and we're happy to see the domaine's reputation growing. The only issue is that there's never enough of their Chateau Chalon to go around. With only 4ha in the appellation and very low yields, normally in the 24hl/ha range, demand far overwhelms supply.
For those of you not familiar with Vin Jaune, we must issue a strong endorsement, with a serious warning: Château-Chalon is one of the most compelling, amazing and bizarre vinous experiences on Earth. *However,* the broad, aggressive pungency of these wines can be like a slap in the face to the uninitiated palate.
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