Paul Pernot Bourgogne Blanc 2017
I’d be a fool not to buy this wine. You too. And here’s why.
First, Paul Pernot is considered a master at making white Burgundy.
Second, Paul Pernot’s vineyards are all in Puligny-Montrachet, one of the greatest sites for Chardonnay in the world.
Third, the price is ridiculous. I have literally sold this wine at twice the price and still thought I was giving people a heck of a great bottle. Here’s how ridiculous this offer is: Many of my vendors—people who buy below retail price, below wholesale price—are choosing to snap this guy up in case lots.
It’s killer wine at an amazing price. If you like white Burgundy—even just a little—you need to buy as much as you can.
OK, enough about the why, here’s the how.
As a young man of 14, Paul fought in World War II. Immediately following the war, he went into the family business—growing grapes in Puligny, which his family had been doing for 200 years. In 1957 the Pernots had the foresight to start buying as many Puligny-Montrachet vineyards as they could. These vineyards were already planted and remain in good health to this day. Thus, the domaine makes claim to some of the oldest vineyards in all of white Burgundy, as well as the oldest average age for vines across the entire region. The oldest vines at the domaine are 90 years, and the average is 70.
Most of these grapes are sold to negociants, a practice that continues to this day. As Jasper Morris MW notes: “At present, 80% of the wines are sold on to extremely fortunate negociants in Beaune. However, the 20% that Paul retains and bottles himself is the absolute crème de la crème and quintessentially representative of Puligny at its best.”
Let me dig down into Burgundy terminology a bit to illustrate just how good you’re getting with this bottle.
Burgundy has a hierarchy of vineyards. The most generic are labeled “Bourgogne,” meaning they could be located anywhere in Burgundy.In the case of large negociants, the vineyards are usually in poorer quality southern regions like the Macon or Beaujolais. The next level up are wines labeled with a village name. There are lots of villages, but in our case, Puligny-Montrachet is one of the best. Next are Premiers Crus vineyards, and then finally Grands Crus vineyards top it off.
Now let’s go back to Paul. He is a substantial landowner in the Grands Crus Vineyards of Bâtard-Montrachet and Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet. He is the majority landowner of the Premier Cru vineyard Pucelles. All of his land is in Puligny-Montrachet, and it is all old vines. Further, of the wines he makes, he cuts off the bottom 80% of his production and sells it off. This is from the best vineyards, the oldest vines, and culled from the best barrels of a master craftsman’s wine.
And there’s more with this very special bottle. Paul’s winery is downslope in Puligny-Montrachet, in a section where the water table is so high that he can’t build cellars. Consequently, he always releases his wines very fresh, right out of the gates. The wine is stunning:
A deeply layered nose of floral, citrus, pear and hints of cream. Like the man himself, this wine sternly drives at perfection, and that leads to an intense drinking experience: The palate is tightly woven, focused, linear and pure, with its driving intensity being the most noticeable part before you get to the everlasting finish. There are notes of spice, pear, honeysuckle and orange blossom that come in layers upon layers, leading to a fresh and vibrant finish. This goes down so beautifully that some nights you may just have to get in trouble and go for that second bottle – or an entire case!
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