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North and South

I did an interesting experiment once with a group of executives where we blind tasted them on 25 foods and recorded their reactions. Then we did a control with the same foods in the same order, this time letting them see what they were tasting. We did not tell them it was exactly the same foods they tried blindfolded until the end. The outcome blew everyone away: Once un-blindfolded, more than a quarter of the participants insisted they didn't like a certain food they were looking at, despite having just expressed their delight when trying it blind moments before. The experiment reminded all of us that challenging pre-conceptions and being open minded is really important – in the workplace and out. Plus, it makes life a lot more fun.

I see a lot of preconceptions in the wine world. People will decide they don’t like a certain grape or a certain region, and because of that they close a lot of doors to discovering great wines. I was thinking about this today because this week’s wines are from the same grape, Chardonnay, and the same region, Burgundy, but they are remarkably different. Here’s why:

Dylan and Simon tasting this week's wines with open minds, and clearly enjoying it!

The first wine is from the northernmost part of Burgundy near Chablis, which has a cooler climate and a rocky terroir. The second wine is from further south, near the village of Puligny Montrachet, where is it warmer and the soils are made of clay and limestone. The first wine is unoaked, while the second wine is lightly oaked, with 20% new oak. The first wine goes with simple foods, the second with richer foods. But look at them on the shelf of a store side by side two Chardonnays from Burgundy and who would guess how different they are!

Les Alles Du Vignoble Petit Chablis 2020 ($24) A taut and mineral-packed Chardonnay from the top of the hills above Chablis. Petit Chablis is an area at a higher elevation above Chablis on harder rock. It's not the second wine of Chablis, as some people assume from the name. They probably could have named it better with something like Haut Chablis, but there you have it. It has this intense green apple on the nose, which is just classic unoaked Chardonnay, and it flows into a bright palate with some lovely guava notes, but still crisp and clean and refreshing. I love it. Roast chicken here I come, with a fresh salad and some jus-soaked croutons.

Domaine de Montille Bourgogne Blanc 2019 ($46) This, my friends, is a serious wine for a Bourgogne. The first thing you notice is the light touch of oak. It lingers around the baked apple and melon flavours creating a much richer and sensual nose. Then, wow! Take a sip and just feel the balance of this wine and all its aspects that sit within the structure of the tannins from the oak, and yet there is almost no hint of that oak flavour. The focused, beautiful tension and purity is just spectacular. You can take it to a posh dinner and watch people just fawn over it. This kind of quality at this price is so fun to find and share. It is a wine that works with more sophisticated food like richer fish and chicken dishes with creamy sauces. The acidity breaks through and lifts all the flavours in the food, creating magic as you eat. A brilliant wine. Hats off to Etienne de Montille and his team.

So, I leave you with this: Take a moment today and have some fun challenging yourself to re-examine something or even someone you have strong feelings about, with a clear mind, body, and spirit. Surprises are waiting.

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