White Wines Matter

Patrick Piuze, Chablis, Plateau de la Cornasse, 2017

I was browsing the shelves at Selfridges a few years when I ran into a couple of Grand Crus by Piuze. I texted Daniel Lifshitz, asking him if the guy was any good. "Yeah," he said, "Bourgogne Crown is going to start bringing him in." So I decided to wait with Piuze until I could purchase at home and bought a Joseph Gonon instead. 

Three years later, Lifshitz is selling both Piuze and Gonon.

Anyway, this is classy. It's a village plot or blend, I don't know which, and it's riper than what I usually find in Chablis, which means it takes a while to get the usual minerals and sea salt. Very flavorsome, with Premier Cru body and depth, but with less complexity and grip. (Sept. 9, 2020)

Domaine Verget, Mâcon-Bussières, De Montbrison Vieilles Vignes, 2017

A typical Macon white, as I understand the style: pears and dry grass. Despite the age of the vines, I don't get a lot of intensity and the relatively limpid mid-palate shows some bitterness. No great shakes, just a fun Chardonnay. (Aug. 28, 2020)

CARM (Casa Agrícola Roboredo Madeira), Douro, Maria de Lourdes Vinho Branco, 2017

This is CARM's premium white (comprised of 40% Gouveio, 30% Rabigato and 30% Viosinho) and while its breed is almost immediately obvious, it takes a while until it starts to show the typical mineral intensity of the Duoro. There's a bitter-sweet aftertaste, as though you took a such a big bite out of a slightly under-ripe peach that you actually breached the pit.  It's not one for a very long haul, but the nose has a sweet talc character that hints at developments and nuances to come in a couple of years' time. As do the salty flavors that sneak in on the finish. (Aug. 31, 2020)

Feldstein, Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc, 2017

Everyone around the world has been copying everything else those farmers way out in Bordeaux did - except the formula for this classic white blend, which doesn't  always get the respect it deserves. It's a definite oversight, given how well Sauvignon's herbaceousness complements the yellow fruit of the Semillon. Feldstein's version was exceptional from the first vintage and the 2017 is a complex wine with nuances of chalk that needs time to gather power and presence, about an hour, and packs a good punch when it does.  (Sept. 19, 2020)

Lagar de Cervera, Rías Baixas, Albariño , 2018

I was looking forward to seeing how well this would hold up to my benchmark Albariño: Zarate. Very well, it turns out. An exquisitely fresh and vital nose, lime and wet pebbles, echoed on the palate, where the acidity drives the chalk-laced lime to a very long finish. A terrific find! (Sept. 22, 2020)

Vinarija Čitluk, Hercego, Mostar, Žilavka, 2018

From the Mostar region in Bosnia-Herzegovina, this is made from the country's signature white grape, Žilavka. It's borderline orange, 6-12 hours of skin contact. It's moreish and stoked with minerals and ripe oranges. It's not a grand vin, but it punches above its pay level and it ranges beyond what we accept as the normal spectrum of flavors just enough to to tantalize. (Sept. 23, 2020)