A Captivating White Wine

by Chikashi

Domaine de la Vougeraie Monopole Le Clos Blanc de Vougeot 2011

When a friend came around last year after his boozing tour of Burgundy, he very kindly brought along a bottle from one of the producers he visited. Being old friends since primary school, the image that I am tempted to paint is that of him holding a piece of rope tied to a dried gourd bottle filled with grain alcohol and singing some cheesy 80s pop song. Instead, he handed over a chic carrier bag branded with the producer’s logo. In it was a bottle of 2011 Vougeot Premier Cru from Le Clos Blanc de Vougeot, a Domaine de la Vougeraie vineyard. Dried gourds simply do not come with so many French words attached to them.

And, no singing. ‘See if you like it.’

White wines tend not to capture the imagination and attention as red wines do. It probably has something to do with my preconceived notions, but whites tend to just fall in one of the following categories without really provoking any excitement as some reds do: ‘yuck’, ‘passable’, ‘not too bad but needs to be had with food’, and ‘pleasant’. But that’s about it. I don’t long for specific whites at random moments or imagine and plan a whole meal around a certain white like I do with some reds. That is not to say that I dislike whites or that I necessarily prefer reds to whites. I suppose that I don’t find whites to have a certain seductive quality that good reds tend to have. Perhaps whites are like a beautiful girl lacking in sex appeal, the heroine in a Walt Disney animation.

So I thought, ‘A white Burgundy… Mostly Chardonnay, a bit of Pinot Gris and a lick of Pinot Blanc… It’s probably alright.’ Expectations being neither high nor low, just absent. In reality, it’s probably the best way to approach something unfamiliar.

A whiff of the Vougeot betrays that she’s not just a pretty face. Expectations rise.

A sip initially delivers a very ‘safe’ tasting elixir, lacking in any character to speak of. Neither offensive nor pleasing. Nothing to hold onto. Expectations turn flaccid.

A moment later, a burst of complex flavours fills the mouth. Suddenly, there is structure, body, vanilla, peach and an assortment of flavours that demand that you sit up and pay close attention before swallowing. It’s an altogether extraordinary experience. This one is no Snow White.

But, neither is she a heavily made-up, bleached, nipped, tucked, Botoxed, fashionable bore with perfect hair and matchy-matchy get-up devoid of style, like a lot of Australian wines tend to be, with heavy-handed inclusions of flavouring additives.

I always feel faintly ridiculous using words like harmony, balance, complexity and depth when referring to bevvies, but the use of such words cannot be avoided when referring to the Vougeot.

Actually, it is an extremely sexy white wine. Imagine that. Thanks, J.