Have you ever had a long conversation with someone you just met, and weeks later the conversation still resonates, pinging around in your head at unexpected moments? Well, that’s what running into this wine was. ( I didn’t exactly run into it. See ‘The Back Story’ below.) Yes, this is a memorable kind of wine and has precipitated a love affair—an unrequited love affair—for me. You see, I don’t have another six bottles to taste it as it develops.
The contents of this particular bottle had a creamy, concentrated Chardonnay centre, encased in what I can only call sculpted minerality. Had it been a sculpture, I would have likened it to the Atlas figure half-emerging from its embryonic stone in one of Michelangelo’s Slaves (four unfinished sculptures now located in Florence). In like fashion, this wine has barely begun to emerge. It certainly doesn’t lack in tenacity or commitment. Its future bounty of charms have been hard won; obtained with clear, focused stony determination. You can almost taste its quest to break open, such is its life-force. If you can’t wait 5 or 10 years to drink it, by all means, decanting is recommended. As it is now, however, tightly wound, intense, and long on the finish, the core of fruit is unmistakable, as well as its provenance. No other part of the world produces wines with this kind of flavour profile. To taste this wine is to be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Meursault and Puligny, and you can almost feel them trying to elbow their way into the conversation. Lemony fruit and warm millefeuille (chausson au citron anyone?) meet stone and slate and their offspring produces rapture, a wine that is bound to ravish and mesmerise. (And the toasted hazelnut lightly covered with ghee, aromas of freshly baked brioche mixed with morning mist, lively acidity create a storyline… suddenly a log is crackling in the fireplace. Never mind that it isn’t winter. ) And thus, the rest of the world has taken a back seat to what is happening now; this wine. I very much doubt any one else made a wine that tastes anything like this in that year, there, or anywhere else… Chapeau, mon vieux.
THE BACK STORY
My good friend, François Bonaventure picked this bottle for me. He undoubtedly knew it was “our kind of wine.” François and his lovely bride, Myriam (see above, under stone and slate meets rapture…and they produced a child…) are in Canada—she, a former denizen of these Australian shores, now firmly ensconced in ‘La Terre Québécois’—and gifted us the bottle, which was hand-carried here by their friend Madeleine.
And so it was that night, the universe managed to contract, the world became smaller and for a short while there, we were with our friends far away. I raised my glass and could almost see them through it.
The Auxey Duresses Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) was created in 1970. Not too long before that, wines from this area were often sold as Meursault or blended into Côte de Beaune.
A visit to the winery’s website is revealing, for there, in almost heartbreaking earnestness is a Mission statement, and their mission is dedicated to the memory of their Father and bringing back the glory and nobility of a brand that for a while there, as I recall, had weakened at the knees.
From the Boisset family estates website: ” Winemaker Grégory Patriat strives for authentic wines in which human intervention has been kept to a bare, discreet minimum. Utilizing native yeasts and never more than 30% new oak.”