After leaving a company where I worked for over 20 years, I arranged a hastily organized retirement dinner with a few friends. We met at a friend's restaurant in downtown Asheville where he had a beautiful spread set out for us in an incredible courtyard. We kept the evening relaxed by ordering platters of a variety of foods from off his menu and selected a few amazing wines with which to celebrate.
There was a magnum of Domaine Servin Les Clos Chablis Grand Cru 2000, a magnum of Mount Veeder Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 1999 and a magnum of Joseph Drouhin Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche Grand Cru 1992. All the wines were fantastic but none could stand up to or compare to the Montrachet.
Montrachet truly is the chardonnay in which to compare all other chardonnays. The complexity, longevity and standard that it sets is purely mind numbing - at times even palate numbing! To give you some idea of the details I've included a brief description from the Estate below.
As for our dinner - the Montrachet showed off with a seductive nose of honey, fresh blossoms and grilled nuts. The palate was even more mesmerizing with a lush full body of fresh honey, cooked white pear and apple (without the sweetness), hints of cardamom, nutmeg and white pepper, grilled hazelnuts and a glorious balance that threatened to knock each of us out of balance. The body, fruit, acidity, alcohol, oak influence and sheer inspiration of this chardonnay was an explosion to our senses that kept us in awe. The finish of our palates seemed endless. Appropriate for a 20 year career and a 20 year old wine, don't you think!?
If that is what its like to retire . . . well, I kind of want to do if a lot more often!
I wish more friends could have been there to celebrate and enjoy that Montrachet. But there's always next time...
|Yes, I drank this Montrachet out of a Riedel Montrachet glass!|
Grape Variety :Chardonnay.
VineyardSite : in the southern part of the Côte de Beaune, the estate of the Marquis de Laguiche is entirely located on the Puligny side of the appellation. A very mild slope and a great south-east exposure.
History & tradition: at every period of history, a few vineyards have been considered heirloom treasures for their incomparable quality. The Montrachet of Marquis de Laguiche belongs to this Pantheon. This property (2.06 hectares - 5.15 acres) is actually the largest parcel of the Montrachet vineyard and has been in the hands of the Laguiche family since 1363. The Drouhin family is in charge of its cultivation and vinification and, since 1947,has spread and preserved its worldwide renown.
Soil: brown-red earth, strewn with white, polished limestone pebble. The word "rachet" in Montrachet means infertile land, where nothing can grow.
Plantation density: from 10,000 stocks/ha in order to extract all possible nuances from the terroir.
Yield: 48hl/ha. Low on purpose to limit the production of each vine stock.
Harvesting: by hand, in small open crates in order to preserve the integrity of the fruit.
Sorting: if necessary, the grapes are sorted twice : once when being picked, the second time on the sorting table at the winery.
Pressing: very slow so as to respect fruit. Juices from the very last pressings are not retained
The wine goes directly into barrels after débourbage (decanting of white wine to reduce sediment).
Type: in barrels (0% in new oak).
Length: 15 to 18 months.
Origin of the wood: French oak forests.
Weathering of the wood: Joseph Drouhin insists on total control of the weathering for a period of 3 years, one of the contributing elements to the elegance of the wine.