Domaine Alain Chavy 2018 "Les Charmes" Puligny-Montrachet

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Tasting notes
Light, gravelly soils give a bright, focused wine with floral, lemony fruit, fresh green apple and an appealing pithy note on the finish. Rich and lemony so pairs well with rich, creamy dishes but also white meats and fish. Turbot comes to mind to make a fabulous meal.

Why we recommend this wine
Puligny-Montrachet is our favourite white wine and we have been buying from this domaine for years.

The wine
Puligny-Montrachet Les Charmes is a lieu-dit well-situated next to Meursault’s Premier Cru Les Charmes and shares many of its characteristics, like the light, fine, stony soils. It certainly merits single bottling, with its fine-boned nervous freshness and delicate richness underneath. The name charmes likely derives from champs, and means, simply, field or meadow. Here, heavier clay soils mix with limestone to deliver a wine that combines the richness and spiciness of Meursault with the elegance and minerality of Puligny. Alain inoculates for fermentation and believes in keeping bâtonnage to a minimum. He uses a combination of 400-liter oak puncheons and 20% new Burgundian pièce for the village-level wines. Aging in a small percentage of new French oak barrels lends accents of toast and vanilla. “We’re looking for balance between the fruit and oak character,” explains Alain. “We want the wines’ minerality to show through.”

The wine estate
For years Alain and his brother Jean-Louis made wine together at their parents’ estate, Gérard Chavy, but in 2003 they went their separate ways; Alain owns 6.5 hectares of splendid vineyards. Alain’s wines are very much in the mould of his father’s: pure, racy and delicate. Almost no chemicals are used in the vineyards apart for protection against mildew. All grapes are hand harvested, pressed and fermented in barrel at not more than 25 degrees. The entire crop is barrel fermented, which as Alain believes, give additional depth and intensity to the wines. 20% of the barrels are 400 litre, as he believes it keeps the wines rich and complex but with less oaky flavours. The amount of batonnage is low and the malolactic fermentation normally starts late – probably due to the relatively cold temperature in the underground cellar. The wines are not racked before September and have been bottled as late as January – 16 months after the harvest. Amongst his finest wines besides the Chevalier Montrachet are Puligny “Les Pucelles” (located next to Bâtard Montrachet), “Les Folatières” and “Les Clavoillons”.

Food and wine
White Burgundy, with its rich texture and toasted flavors, pairs well with white fish and shellfish and its naturally high acidity can counterbalance cream-based sauces. Refer also to our food and wine pairing guide, click here.

Did you know?
Montrachet (pronounced Mon-rashay) straddles the border between the two communes of Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet and produces what many consider to be the greatest dry white wine in the world. The wine from the Chassagne side is usually known as Le Montrachet while the wine from the Puligny side is known as Montrachet (how subtle is that?). It is surrounded by four other Grand Cru vineyards all having "Montrachet" as part of their names. Montrachet itself is generally considered superior to its four Grand Cru neighbours, and this is reflected in its higher price.