Chablis vs Chardonnay

This tasting was about comparing Chablis to California and Oregon Chardonnay. Chablis is a region in France to the northwest of Burgundy where they are known for wines that express minerality and have bracing acidity. Chablis has a latitude that is very close to that of Seattle and is cooler than Oregon. The tasting was done blind and our goal was to see if we could distinguish between the three regions. Here were the wines served:

France

2011 Domaine Pascal Bouchard Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru $81

2012 Domaine Chenevieres Chablis 1er Cru Fourchame $32

2012 Domaine Chenevieres Chablis 1er Cru Cote de Lechet $27

2012 Domaine Chenevieres Chablis 1er Cru L’Homme Mort $36

California

2012 Chateau Montelena , Napa $39

2009 MacRostie, Wildcat Mountain Vineyard, Sonoma Coast $35

2013 Frei Brothers, Russian River Valley $17

Oregon

2014 Walter Scott, Willamette Valley $25

2012 Matello, Dundee Hills $26

2013 Monte Ferro Dion Vineyards, Chehalem Mts (no oak) $20

2011 Girardet, Umpqua Valley (10%oak) $20

After going through the wines one time the group of twelve voted for their top three wines (5 points given for 1st, 3 for 2nd and 1 for 3rd). The overall finish for the group was:

1 – D Chenevieres Cote de Lechet
2 – Walter Scott
3 – D Chenevieres Fourchame

My personal favorite was the L’Homme Mort with the other three following in that order. I had three of the Chablis pegged right away, the Grand Cru being the exception because the initial aroma was buttered popcorn. For my fourth Chablis I picked the Walter Scott from Oregon because after tasting it a second time the acidity was so impressive and had hints of limestone. Walter Scott is one of Oregon Vine2Wine’s favorite wineries and I was very impressed that it was confused with Chablis! Another great accomplishment by Ken Pahlow who makes some of the best wines Oregon has to offer.

Here are my tasting notes of the top four wines followed by a review.

1) L’ Homme Mort

Me- Lemon zest, salty air, hint of ozone, very complex. Long finish of lemon custard and intense wet stone.

Burghound- “Very pure aromas of essence of citrus, white flowers, tidal pool and iodine. There is excellent detail and vibrancy to the markedly saline middle weight flavors that possess fine intensity on the dry, focused and well-balanced finish.” [BARREL SCORE 89-92]

2) Cote de Lechet

Me – intense lime/limestone with a hint of ocean. Clean finish of citrus, herbs and minerals.

Robert Parker – “The 2012 Chablis bursts from the glass with hints of smoke, slate, herbs & succulent yellow peaches….. and very nicely balanced, with considerable richness and depth.” 91

3) Walter Scott

Me – Green apple and stone fruit, hint of floral and limestone on nose, intense finish with crisp acidity and balance.

Winemaker – The 2014 Willamette Valley Chardonnay focuses on flavors of orchard fruits with an emphasis on white peach and a touch of green melon, cut with a hint of tangerine. The wine is tight and powerful, with high toned acidity and balanced richness on the palate that gives the wine texture.

4) Fourchame

Me – Limestone, hay, lemon zest on nose, good texture on palate with bracing acidity on finish.

Burghound – “An airy and moderately ripe nose of green fruit, wet stone and lemon rind possesses good Chablis character and impressively rich, round and seductively textured medium-bodied flavors that display good persistence on the clean, dry finish”[BARREL SCORE 88-91]

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