From €9.19, £13.95, $17.99.
I don’t often go back twice, no, three times, during a tasting to the same wine. It’s even more rare that it’s a white Burgundy under £15 that has thrilled me so much. Of course, the price is probably everything to do with the fact that it hails from the sunny Mâconnais and doesn’t have the illustrious postcodes of its northern neighbours. But that doesn’t detract from the fact that this bottle of sunny Chardonnay is a serious summer bargain.
Domaine Cheveau is run by Nicolas Cheveau, who has 14 ha across the Mâcon, with a small underground winery in Pouilly. It was started by his grandfather André in 1950, and Nicolas has now taken over from his father Michel. As is not entirely unusual, all the grapes are picked by hand and he doesn’t use fertilisers, but he must be doing something special because the purity and clarity of his wines really sing out. The other delightful thing about this particular wine is that it needs no patience; it is absolutely deliciously ready to drink right now. Although, judging by comments from others on the 2009 vintage, it will certainly keep well for a couple of years.
This particular wine is from a small parcel of relatively young vines (16 years) grown on a clay-limestone hillside. There is no oak used – all stainless steel – but the wine is kept on fine lees for eight months. It clocks in at a civilised 13.5% alcohol.
My scribbled notes read, ‘An inviting nose with a hint of creaminess, hazelnuts and juicy yellow peach. Gentle roundness and weight, apricot tang and crisp apple. This really opens up and spreads across the mouth. Backbone of minerality. Real intensity. Tense acidity. Long. Superb. VVGV!’
Cheveau also makes a gorgeous Bourgogne Blanc and a much more serious Pouilly-Fuissé called Les Trois Terroirs, both of which are being sold in the UK at Caviste (along with the Sur Le Mont) for £13.95 and £18.95 respectively. I see that, according to wine-searcher, the 2010 is also available from Slurp, as well in France, Germany and Belgium. The 2009 vintage, which Jancis recommended in 75 sure-fire whites, is available from at least nine wine merchants in the US; and Sussex Wine, Solano Cellars, Ancona’s Wines, Harry's Wine and John & Pete’s Fine Wines all assure me that they will soon be stocking the 2010.