Wine Review: Philippe Colin, Premier Cru, Chassagne-Montrachet, France “Les Chenevottes” 2012

Philippe Colin is a terroir-ist. He produces up to 25 wines a year, mostly drawn from 13 hectares (32 acres) of single plots in Chassagne-Montrachet: Burgundy’s central heart of golden, powerful Chardonnay (and some Pinot Noir). He would make more if possible. Colin has shifted from traditional 228 litres to 450 and 500 litres oak barrels, 20 to 25% of which are new, to not overwhelm the fruit with wood.

Today’s Les Chenevottes is one of Colin’s three Premier Cru parcels. Les Chenevottes sits low on flat land, producing more powerful, characterful, and spicier wines than his other sites, thanks in part to the high clay content of the soil. I held onto a bottle of 2012 for five years now. Let’s see how it shows:

Philippe Colin, Premier Cru, Cassagne-Montrachet “Les Chenevottes” 2012

The wine looks a clear, brilliant medium intensity gold color with brassy highlights.

Pronounced aromas smell of marzipan, pineapple, lemon peel, white melon, and vanilla bean husk.

The palate feels dry, with racy high acidity, medium but warm alcohol, a plump medium plus body, and a dual viscous yet crackling texture.

Pronounced flavors ring with the fruits: citrus, ripe pineapple, and melon. A delicate vanilla and nutmeg dusts around the edges. The long finish carries all these but tightens into a lemon, lime, and brine laser of light.

Colin’s 2012 is outstanding Chardonnay from a warm vintage and a stellar Premier Cru vineyard. It tastes brilliant alone but could stand up to a variety of Fall food faire, or chicken piccata, young bries, nuts, olives, and nearly anything with cream and a dash of lemon. It has enough ripeness to please your Chardonnay daily drinker but push them into a more demanding, intriguing realm. Meanwhile, your Chardonnay hater, fearful of butter and syrup, may just come back to the light side of the force.

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