Updated: Jul 28, 2021
How often do you come across, much less drink, a pure blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc? Actually quite a number of table wines across Europe have those two components in their white wine blends but they are almost always accompanied by other grape varieties too. Chardonnay is a hugely popular grape, not to mention one that can earn a lot more cash for grape growers so naturally one will find its existence in almost every wine producing region, no matter the climate or terroir, which usually result in some insipid, forgettable wines without a soul.
Both grape varieties, when made in their more appropriate terroir, and bottled as single grape varietal wines, will carry distinctive characteristics which are worlds apart in terms of aromas, flavours and texture. Some of the world's greatest white wines are in fact made from these two International varieties (e.g. Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet, Meursault, Chablis, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, etc.) and for us, the crème de la crème of those wines remain the ultimate reference point or benchmark for anyone who tries to emulate them.
But Sauvignon blanc x Chardonnay? How would that even taste like?
Here is an interesting bottling from Isabelle and Bruno Perraud of Domaine des Côtes de la Molières who are based in Vauxrenard (Beaujolais) - "Mon Blanc des Molieres 2011" that was vinified, raised and bottled without any SO2 (sulphur), no additives and no fining. Our experience with this cuvée in the last couple of years has been a fascinating one as the wine tends to behave like a chameleon as and when it wishes. Some days it can be as warm and generous as a hot Latina but on certain occasions, we have been served nothing but cold shoulders and a deafening silence treatment that left us totally baffled.
It may seem very temperamental and unpredictable, but when this Chardy-Savvy blend decides to show-off its curves, it will first capture your attention with some deep, smokey, flinty (matchsticks) and mineral aromas before enticing you to take a sip with its warm tropical flavours of fresh pineapples, ripe guava and tart green mangoes. Once it has had sufficient contact with air, the more herbaceous characters of Sauvignon will gradually surface (juicy limes, thyme and green apples mostly), creating a multi-layered experience bound by mouth-watering acidity and a somewhat zesty, saline texture.
Frankly, it is a wine that will continue to evolve given how little added protection it actually had, and one of those that showed us it is entirely possible to craft good wines naturally without going overboard on the extreme end of the vin naturel spectrum just to make a point.
While this may not appeal to everyone, it deserves a chance to be tasted given its uniqueness in an ocean of poorly made Chards and Savvys. After all, how many of us will be able to tell it is actually made of 80% Chardonnay & 20% Sauvignon blanc, un-oaked, SO2 free and almost a decade old in a blind tasting? Those who are keen to give this a go, you should know what to do by now eh? Bon week-end et gros bisous !