Verget Bourgogne 2003
Verget is turning out to be a reliable Négociant for me in my search for well-made
white Burgundies in the sub-$20 range. Theoretically the rubric “Appellation Bourgogne
Contrôllée” allows the producer to source grapes from anywhere in the extensive area we call
Burgundy, but in fact the system allows the quality conscious winemaker to pick and choose
the best. In this case, the Chardonnay grapes come from the Meursault and
Puligny-Montrachet areas (both Côte d'Or).
The wine is a clear lemon-gold with some light bubbling. The nose gets mineral first, then grapefruit, pear and white peach. Once in the mouth, the mineral enlarges into earth, the grapefruit, pear and peach remain. I enjoyed a slight bitterness with vegetal overtones of black olive.
This wine is sub-labeled «Terroirs de Côte d'Or» in an attempt to capture the essence of
the region. I'm not sure how the use of the phrase stands in the French legal system of
Appellations; it may be a species of extraneous hype (albeit dignified) but it seems to
fit. Given the careful construction of this wine, it may arrive at its Old World quality through
a pragmatic process more akin to New World methods, but it is a French experience, and
hence a delightful one, nevertheless. Here is a white wine (and 100% Chardonnay to boot)
that leads a man to think instead of quaff.
French wine does not merit automatic approval, but it does bring up abiding notions of quality. May the actual wine fit the standards it inherits.
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman