After the last bottle was a Pinot, but from the other end of the world, I decided to try a few bottles of Pinot from this side of the globe in the next few weeks. I like to drink Burgundy varieties and I also like to drink them from Burgundy. But the price structure there is reason for the fact that my experience is limited to bottles that keep the hole in my wallet within an acceptable range for me. But even within this range there is still enough to discover and so I just keep trying across the board, what I have seen somewhere as a recommendation from people whose taste I trust, or what is offered by trusted dealers. Of course, every now and then that leads to a bad bottle of wine, but we just ignore those. Despite all the trying, I had never heard of Vézelay before buying these wines. I guess I am not completely wrong in claiming that most of the readers would feel very similar. It is also a fun little search game, when you try to look for it on the appellation maps that the internet spits out. Sometimes even in vain. The appellation was only awarded as AOC Bourgogne Vézelay since 1997 and is now, since 2017, classified as Village AOC Vézelay. It is located a bit lonely south of Chablis and covers around over 700 hectares.
Jeannot Montanet was already president of the local cooperative there before the first classification, which still influences wine growing in the area today. At the end of this time, cultivation of his vineyards was converted to organic farming in 1999. This was followed by leaving the cooperative in 2004 and founding Domaine de la Cadette. In 2011, his son Valentin joined the winery, which today farms about 13 hectares of wine. The grapes are hand-picked and fermented with wild yeasts, no sugar is added or fining is done and only minimal sulfur is used when bottling. The Pinot Noir Champs Cadet grows in a vineyard surrounded by forest near Vézelay, but is bottled as Bourgogne Rouge. The grapes for the Chardonnay come from the appellation Mâcon Villages in the very south of Burgundy and the wine is quite new in the portfolio. Unfortunately, I don’t know if the grapes are from their own cultivation or purchased and I couldn’t find anything online about it either. There used to be a Mâcon Chardonnay and at least that one was from purchased grapes. Quite independent of the wine, I find it pretty chic how they have placed the accents within the letters of the font and anyway I find the typography on the Chardonnay label very beautiful.
We also start with this bottle for tasting. There is a lot of pome fruit in the nose, clear and juicy. And that’s exactly how the wine drinks, there is a lot of freshness and a little bit of creaminess. The whole mouthfeel is a bit like what remains after biting into a very ripe but not overripe apple. Minus the peel pieces between the teeth of course. Over the evening, the wine stays like this, slightly creamy, fresh and with a lot of pome fruit. I like that very much.
The next day, it has changed from apples to these white, pickled pears in the nose. And indeed, that also arrives on the tongue. I’m a big pear fan, so I like that even a little bit more than on the first evening. The fruit is very clear and yet somehow multi-layered and with depth and although quite a few wines have passed my tongue by now, such a fruit gets me every time. Nice wine.
In the Pinot you find nothing but red berries right after pouring. But already with the first portion of oxygen it becomes earthier and more structured. The tannin is quite restrained and the acidity is fresh. It lingers a long time, tastes of cherries, berries and has a bit of smoke. The wine then becomes softer, fruitier and darker in aroma over the evening. That’s extremely relaxed to drink and is thus quite similar in style to the Pinot from New Zealand last week.
As with the white wine, the fruit changes overnight and what was hinted at on the first evening continues. Here this fruit becomes even darker, still a bit more berry-like and intense with a herbal-smoky spice and fresh wood. And this wine also drinks very nicely. It is clear and dense in the nose, the acidity is fresh, the tannin soft. There is no endless complexity and it is also not the most elegant of Pinots I have ever had, it is rather a little bit charmingly rustic at the edges and that’s okay. And in the center its soft like feathers. Great wine, but I do have to say that I like the Chardonnay a tiny bit more today.