As a former Press Secretary on Capitol Hill, I often found The Wall Street Journal as my go-to news source. It had everything I needed to know to tell my boss about the latest in policy, financial news, or breaking events. Now, I find that the lifestyle section (even sans millionaire status) is a must, and especially the reviews on wine. How else would I know that Costco carries exceptional finds? So in a recent article, “The New Master of Affordable White Burgandies,” I found inspiration to head to my local store and try one–or a few–out.
Before I get to the taste testing, I have to rewind a few weeks to the surprise birthday party of my girlfriend, Ellen. Marcel’s, one of the best French restaurants in DC, was the backdrop and the prelude to the main course featured a crisp, slate-bright, green-fruited white wine that was so well-balanced and acidic, I neglected the red wine present throughout the remainder of dinner. If diamonds have a liquid equivalent, this was it. My friend informed me when I asked, “Oh, it’s a white Burgandy.” Not Chablis. Not Chardonnay. Simply, a white Burgandy.
As easily as she told me the kind, I thought the style would be as easily indicative of the region. Therefore, all white Burgandies must be of the same quality. The $24 reference in WSJ was my beacon of hope–the price didn’t seem unreasonable, and if that was the case, I was bound for Burgandy success.
I picked up a bottle of Macon La Roche Vineuse 2011, and as it poured into the glass, was slightly shocked at the light gold color, reminiscent of California Chardonnays. The oaky, yellow-apple, and fuller-bodied taste made me take a double take at the label. It had none of the crisp, refreshing mineral flavor I was looking for–only the flaccid oaky taste of a cheaper, off-brand Chardonnay. The acid was not there, nor the finish. This was not what I expected for the $22 mark.
Overall, this was a white Burgandy that disappointed and did not hold true to the region (or I should say my expectation of the region), but I think it hit the mark of what a Chardonnay can be. Next time, I’ll do a little more research before diving in to this Zone 1 category wine.