2004 Domaine Arnaud Combier St-Véran "La Goutte de Charme" (Elsewhere $35)

SKU #1050245

92 points from Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Yellow-gold. Idiosyncratic aromas of lime, hazelnut, lees and Chartreuse, with a stony mineral underpinning. Deeply concentrated citrus and peach pit flavors are complicated by brown butter and botanical herbs, with a strong licorice quality carrying into the finish. One of the most unique wines I've tasted in a long time, offering depth, vivacity and vaguely oxidized dried fruit character reminiscent of a old-wave Italian white wine or something from the Jura. Emphatically different and not for everyone..." (03/08) So critic Josh Reynolds from Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar has wonderful things to say about this St-Veran, but he does describe this wine as "not for everyone." I definitely agree that the wine won't touch everyone the same way, but it most definitely is a wine for fans of rich, vibrant, mature-styled whites. Aromas of roasted hazelnuts, citrus rind, white flowers and chalky minerality - what's not to like about that? The wine also has a wonderful streak of acidity that keeps it focused and a long lingering finish with a hint of wood spice. Yes, this wine is an idiosyncratic adventure, but like most Burgundy of this kind, it is a journey worth taking. (Keith Mabry, K&L Hollywood)

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Price: $19.99

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Varietal:

Chardonnay

- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.
Country:

France

- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of France.
Sub-Region:

Burgundy

- The province of eastern France, famous for its red wines produced from Pinot Noir and its whites produced from Chardonnay. (Small of amounts of Gamay and Aligoté are still grown, although these have to be labeled differently.) The most famous part of the region is known as the Côte d'Or (the Golden Slope). It is divided into the Côte de Beaune, south of the town of Beaune (famous principally for its whites), and the Côte de Nuits, North of Beaune (home of the most famous reds). In addition, the Côte Chalonnaise and the Mâconnais are important wine growing regions, although historically a clear level (or more) below the Côte d'Or. Also include by some are the regions of Chablis and Auxerrois, farther north. View our bestselling Burgundy.