Wednesday Wines – Episode 35

Episode 35 – 25th November 2020

Four Chardonnays from Decorum Vintners

I tasted a range of terrific wines from Decorum Vintners the other day in order to prepare for the momentous day when this company takes a massive step into the future by launching its own retail website.  Granted Rupert and Mark have been supplying elite private clients and the trade at large for over 21 years, and I am pleased to say that I have been a customer since day one, but this logical step has been a long time coming and so here are the first four, of what I expect to be many recommendations from this exemplary wine merchant.

Please do feel free to contact Rupert Monier Williams, Managing Director, Decorum Vintners (e) (w) directly if you would like to load up with any of these wines ahead of the website launch.

Just for a bit of a laugh, I thought I would add some scores for fruit, minerality, acidity and palate weight with 1 being the lowest end of the spectrum and 10 being the highest.  I have never employed this gimmick before but it might illustrate the overriding theme linking this quartet of stunning Chardies.

2019 Langhe Chardonnay, Tenuta Rocca, Piemonte, Italy £12.50

Fruit 4; Minerality 5; Acidity 5; Palate Weight 3

There is pristine freshness and purity here with skinny, water-white, ravishingly nervy fruit underpinned by mountain stream freshness and stony minerality.  The fruit has faint pineapple chunk freshness and this glorious package of attributes make this edgy wine and incredible and, perhaps, unexpected given its origins, aperitif white. 17/20 (Drink now – 2021)

2018 Petit Chablis, Thierry Laffay, Burgundy, France £18.50

Fruit 5; Minerality 8; Acidity 7; Palate Weight 4

Goodness me this is as authentic and mineral-drenched as any Chablis I have tasted in a long while.  I have long been a Laffay fan but I haven’t seen a wine as dramatic as this before.  Super-dry, lean and raspy, this if the definition of a classic Chablis and it is a rare example which manages to kick so successfully against the irrepressible spectre of climate change.  Warmer growing seasons appear to be transforming the famous wines from this region into more luscious Chardonnays than they have ever been and ‘luscious’ is not a descriptor I like using when describing the wines from this hallowed region.  The finish on this thrilling PC is sensational, packed with high tensile fruit and I cannot recommend it enough, not least because the value afforded here is astounding.  17.5+/20 (Drink now – 2023)

2017 Meursault, En l’Ormeau, 20 Mois, Boyer-Martenot, Burgundy, France £45.00

Fruit 7; Minerality 6; Acidity 6; Palate Weight 6

Vincent Boyer-Martenot changed his white wine élévage regime from 100% oak to 50% oak and 50% concrete egg in 2017 and, following this trial, he has moved to 100% concrete eggs in 2018.  This brave move has focused our attention on the calibre of his fruit like never before.  There is nowhere to hide when you mature your wines in an inert vessel and you will not be surprised to hear that these are the finest Chardonnays that I have tasted from this famous estate.  Super-fine, mineral-soaked and ever so pretty on the nose, the wildflower and pear skin notes are hypnotic and the accompanying texture is genuinely ethereal and haunting.  This is a juicy wine, but it is also controlled and refreshing and the finesse and beauty on the finish is unmistakable.  Already drinking, this wine is a triumph of balance, pitting the crisp 2017 acidity against shimmeringly attractive, glassy Chardonnay fruit.   18+/20 (Drink now – 2025)

2017 Puligny-Montrachet, Les Recheaux, Boyer-Martenot, Burgundy, France £48.50

Fruit 8; Minerality 6; Acidity 6; Palate Weight 7

With more tension and drive than the seamless Meursault above, this rare lieu dit is on exemplary form in 2017 and Boyer-Martenot’s move to concrete eggs has given it unimaginable dynamism and élan.   Like the Meursault above, the value here is extraordinary, because this a Puligny Premier Cru flavour with an exceedingly keen price (I cannot think of any Puligny close to this qualité rapport prix).  Sour, stern, linear and grand, this is one of the most memorable wines of 2020 and to think it costs a few quid less than a bottle of vintage Clicquot!  This truly underlines the point that Decorum is one of the finest outfits in the land at finding wines that defy modern-day fiscal logic.  My overriding theme was, of course, the absence of carpentry and when one tempers this flavour in well-situated Chardonnay the fruit is allowed to sing of its cleansing acidity, firm minerality and pure fruit.  I hope that you decide to buy all four of these arresting wines from the newly minted Decorum website because when you can appreciate the near-naked form of this awesome grape you never want to taste a fully upholstered version again!  18.5+/20 (Drink 2021 – 2025)