New Case of the Month Selection – One of the best Chardonnay values in the world! Much like our last Case of the Month (Domaine Brunet Pinot Noir), the Domaine de Bernier Chardonnay is one of my top white wine finds of 2016 thus far. This is real-deal, estate grown Chardonnay from a 20+ year old, sustainably farmed vineyard just outside of Muscadet, in France’s Loire Valley. Robert Parker said the wine “does a fine job of impersonating Chablis,” and I agree with him 100%. Clean, fresh, and crisp, but with ample body, weight, and the tiniest kiss of oak, it’s the perfect white wine for just about anything.
Domaine de Bernier is made by the Couillaud brothers, who also own and operate Château de la Ragotière in Muscadet. Adjacent to their Muscadet vineyards, they own and farm a 20 year old Chardonnay vineyard composed of soil just like that in Muscadet — heavy clay and chalk. It is this combination of soil along with the more Atlantic influenced vineyards of the region that contribute to this wine’s lovely freshness and bright acidity.
As noted above, Robert Parker and a host of other wine writers have compared this wine to good, entry level Chablis. Parker went on to say there “is enough Chardonnay character to please fans of that varietal, but the real hallmark of this wine is its crisp, elegant, steely, mineral, and citrusy personality. It is impossible to find a wine of this type from California, Australia, or South America. A refreshing, lively wine, it will drink beautifully with light fish dishes, or served as an aperitif.” Again, I couldn’t agree with this description of the wine more. This is a wine that delivers Chablis-like nuance and style at less than $10/bottle, a fraction of the price you would pay for solid entry-level Chablis!
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