Although I can’t afford it, there is an awful lot of Chablis and white Burgundy consumed here at Graham HQ. Chardonnay, in general, is the choice grape, Pinot second, Riesling is up there and then it’s whatever is open.
All of which means that whenever something white and Burgundian is open, attention is honed.
That’s why, when Chanson kindly sent a Burgundy sample care package last year, Team Graham was pumped.
One of the oldest of the Beaune negociants, Chanson has changed dramatically since Bollinger took over in 1999, with the range now featuring a selection that is regional and well priced (in context).
I visited back in 2013 and the wines, as a group, looked even better in situ. The quality step up in recent years has no doubt been helped by several vineyard purchases purchases over the past ten years, with now 30% of the production comes from the Domaine’s own vineyards. They also include more stalks than most of the traditional Burgundian negociants, which makes for more masculine reds. It is with whites that this producer stars, however, and the ’14s below have a really classical form to them.
More sample packs please Burgundians!
The ’12 white was a late inclusion (and absolutely delicious).
Chanson Clos de Mouches 1er Cru 2012
Surprised at that alcohol, but not at the style and character here. Warm-hearted, with more flesh and grip than is always the norm, the slight heat on the finish and hint of almost apricot fruit pushing the flavour forward. It’s no shrinking violet, but delicious because of the extra heft. Drink it cooler as it looks chubby pretty quickly out of the fridge, but at what was probably 10C this was magnificent full throttle white Burgundy. Best drinking: 2018-2023. 18.5/20, 94/100. 14%.
Chanson Fourchaume Chablis 1er Cru 2014
A riper style but not overdone. Imperceptible oak and has a proper Chablis funk. Lovely fuller style and every sip gives a punch of flavour. Long, softly acidic finish. Delightful in its soft classic style, even if it’s not piercing or confrontational. Yum. Best drinking: 2018-2026. 18/20, 93/100. 13%.
Chanson Pernand-Vergelesses ‘Les Vergelesses’ 1er Cru 2014
Really rather ripe given the vintage, if tannic. Tannins are the key feature here, the fruit playing catch up. There’s quality here, but will need more fruit to be delicious. Dry and licoricey, something of a flashback wine, but loving the tannins. Hold. Best drinking: 2020-2030. 17.8/20, 92/100+. 13%
Chanson Clos des Feves 1er Cru 2014
Chanson Gevrey-Chambertin 2014
Very fresh. Light purple maroon edges, this is shaped by acidity and tannins, it’s a light style, the bright ruby red raspberry fruit just trying to drive the wine forward. A wine for the future, still coming together. Such a different beast to most new world Pinot – drier. More tannic. Maybe too lean and has needed some sweetness to built the palate. But the reserve is the big appeal here. Hold. Best drinking 2020-2028. 17.5/20, 91/100+. 13%.
Chanson Vire-Clesse 2014
What an overperformer. A cool, classy, ‘I can’t believe it’s from the Macon’ style, framed by acidity, all white flowers over citrus, if underpinned by just a little more softness. Nice wine and a relative bargain. Best drinking: 2018-2022. 17.5/20, 91/100. 13%.