2018 Victor Fagon Bourgogne Chardonnay
“Bertrand Ambroise’s are not wines for the faint-hearted. They are neither fined nor filtered … on the palate are full-bodied and intense with his Corton being enormously concentrated.” – Jasper Morris, MW.
This is powerful, robust, and dramatic Chardonnay from white Burgundy that Jasper Morris, a 40-year veteran of Burgundy’s wines, is describing. As a young Brit, Jasper began importing some of Burgundy’s top estates into England. A Master of Wine degree later and a successful business career has led him to now being one of Burgundy’s top wine commentators. I respect his opinions immensely.
The name on the label, Victor Fagon, is an alias of sorts. Victor is the name of Bertrand’s son and Fagon hearkens back to the days of Louis XIV, and a certain doctor (Guy-Crescent Fagon) who was an important benefactor to the wine of Nuits-Saint-Georges.
Why the label channery? It’s because of politics, of course. Here goes:
Bertrand Ambroise was exclusively and for a long time imported into the United States by Bobby Kacher. Bobby retired and sold his company to Fine Vines. Fine Vines has since collapsed (maybe???), but it still holds the importing contract. Bobby’s right-hand man, Craig Baker, has been working with many of Bobby’s former domaines to get the wines into the States again. So we win by getting access to the wines, and the producers win by getting paid by a very large Burgundy market.
Now let’s get down to some serious drinking. The hill of Corton makes both Pinot Noir (Corton) and Chardonnay (Corton-Charlemagne) as Grand Cru wines – the top of the top in Burgundy. Bertrand Ambroise owns large sections of the hill of Corton-Charlemagne (and nowhere else). Thus, this wine is made from fruit on only those vineyards. Why not call it Corton-Charlemagne? Because parts of those vineyards flow into Ladoix, directly to the north, and Nuits-Saint-George (hence the good doctor’s name). But I would submit to you, this no “simple” Bourgogne blanc – because it isn’t. The powerful proof awaits you in the bottle:
The wine opens with an detonation of fruit complexity: citrus, green orchard fruit, pineapple, ripe pear, baked apple, bracken, Kaffir lime and all of these mixed with honeycomb and light savory notes of juniper, cinnamon and vanilla. It has an astonishingly concentrated palate, yet with a clear and vivid delineation. There is richness, power, and concentration in perfect synthesis with grape variety and terroir. In addition, 2018 is a powerful vintage and while this wine drinks well now, this will certainly age for at least another decade in your cellar.
And even better, we get the wine at a great price. This is exceptional, so don’t miss it.