Verget Saint-Véran 2004
The French created the Saint-Véran appellation in 1971 to differentiate and elevate the
Chardonnays from seven communes both north and south of Pouilly-Fuissé. The area lies at
the extreme south of the Mâconnais region of Burgundy, just north of Beaujolais. Verget uses
grapes from three of the communes: Prissé and Davayé to the north of the Pouilly-Fuissé
enclave feature limestone soil; Leynes to the south reflects a mixture of limestone and sandy
red Beaujolais soil. On the market, the appellation fills a niche between Mâcon-Villages and
Verget makes the most of Saint-Véran's possibilities, starting with late harvest grapes, leaving the wine on its lees for a full year, keeping oak totally out of the equation. The $20 wine is an appealing full gold, bringing ripe apple, toast, apricot and clove to the nose. Dry but not bone dry (and yet with some tangible flint), the wine is long and extremely well balanced, particularly in regard to its well-integrated acidity, which I suspect may test higher than the tongue indicates.
On the palate the wine is a delight: a base of toast and apricot, a hint of pineapple, and a
sharp grapefruit tang of the best and freshest sort; at first palate contact the grapefruit took on
a penicillin-like intensity, a commitment indeed, and one I appreciated. The wine is piercingly
refreshing and complex at the same moment; while I enjoyed it in the depth of winter, I look
forward to a repeat performance come summer.
Verdict: Buy More
I am always interested in complexity, as long as the wine holds together and avoids an “engineered” quality.
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman