We have been seeing such incredible value in white Burgundy recently. A string of great vintages have ensured that even our cheaper examples are packed with that special freshness, depth and mineral harmony that defines this great style. Among all of them, however, one region towers in terms of its value.
Situated in the Macon’s premium appellation of Pouilly-Fuisse, the hamlet of Vergisson is the picture postcard of these Chardonnay heights. The most elevated part of this area, the cool landscape around the prominent peak of the Roche de Vergisson allows Chardonnay fruit to ripen slowly into sumptuously full flavour, while its bracing acidity picks up endless nuance from the limestone bedrock beneath razor-thin topsoils.
This has been called the “epi-centre for intense, mineral-driven French Chardonnay” as well as the home of “some of the finest Chardonnay vines in France” (Skurnik Wines). As we read such words – and taste such wines – we could be forgiven for thinking that Pouilly-Fuisse was beginning to challenge Meursault and Montrachet on more levels than merely a price comparison that – as you will see – is beyond competitive.
Considered the “Master of Vergisson”, Daniel Barraud now works with his son Julien to produce a set of regional and single vineyard wines which Caro’s have long admired. So we are very pleased to announce we are once again in a position to import these wines of true class and astounding value.
The Barraud family have been vignerons of this area since 1905. Later in the century they were among a handful of producers whose obvious quality established the fast-rising international reputation of this exceptional terroir. In a recent vintage, Neal Martin was “knocked out by the quality of these latest releases that are infused with great tension, vitality and race”. Burghound’s Allen Meadows is a particular fan, saying that “Daniel Barraud is without question one of the finest growers in all of the Mâconnais … his remarkable consistency vaults him right to the very top of the list.”
As their range and holdings having slowly increased, they have come to offer an impressive display of the Macon’s many premium virtues. Our late-February arrivals will include a white from the area’s other main village, Saint Veran, which offers a beautiful sappiness and racy acidity yet retails for a mere $39.99. At the same price we will offer the first of their Pouilly-Fuisse wines – the Alliance, which blends premium sites into a real value spot – while the other two arrivals will be single vineyard labels of immense charisma and storied histories.
What makes Chardonnay from Puligny-Montrachet so transporting is a special combination of a nearly opulent excess in its ripe fruit and a nearly austere impression in its chalky, lime-mineral acidity. Yet a little way south – from the finest vineyards on the towering limestone slopes of Pouilly-Fuisse – the Master of Vergisson offers this very same combination in old vine cuvees that cost from $40 to $70.
Close your eyes and tell the difference if you can…
Note: The full Barruad range will arrive at the end of February.