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Howie Hart

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White Burgundy Questions

by Howie Hart » Mon Jun 19, 2006 11:03 am

Generally speaking, Chardonnay is either unoaked with no M-L fermentation or oaked with M-L. I would guess there are also some oaked with no M-L and some unoaked with M-L. Which white Burgundies should one look for if one is looking for a particular style? Would all wines from a particular appellation have the same characteristics wrt M-L and oak? If so, which appellations should one look to for unoaked, no M-L or oaked + M-L?
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Dale Williams

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Re: White Burgundy Questions

by Dale Williams » Mon Jun 19, 2006 12:38 pm

Hmmm, I'm not really up on winemaking techniques -where's Claude Kolm when you need him? Or Alan U? But my (possibly erroneous) impression was that most if not all white Burgs go through malolactic fermentations.

The least likely areas to see new oak would be Chablis and Macon (though there are certainly producers who use a lot of new oak in Chablis, and many others age their GCs in oak even if the Chablis AC is in stainless or old foudre). I think pretty much everyone in Cotes d'Or ages in wood, though there are some that might age their Bourgogne AC in stainless? Of course many use only old wood (or save the new barrels for the GCs). Hopefully someone with more knowledge will chime in.
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Carl Eppig

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Re: White Burgundy Questions

by Carl Eppig » Mon Jun 19, 2006 1:48 pm

Just about all the Maconnaise besides Pouilly-Fuisse will be oak free, and we love'em.
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Alan Uchrinscko

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Re: White Burgundy Questions

by Alan Uchrinscko » Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:24 am

True about the ML Dale.

Excluding the Macon & Chablis, the VAST majority of White Burgundy sees oak, usually in increasing degrees from Villages (A.C.) to Premier Cru to Grand Cru. Of course some producers use more or more new oak than others, but in exploring Burgundy, the biggest factor IMO is what village it comes from.

Generally, unless there is a lot of oak or a high level of toast, the village will shine through in a well made wine. This is even the case in Chablis where I regularly blind taste a wine and think that oak has been used and there is none. When one tastes Chablis from Dauvissat, the first thing one thinks of is gunflint, minerals etc (even though oak is used).

Similarly, producers of Meursault such as Fichet or Henri Germain who use oak very carefully will shout of Meursault equally as much as Boyer-Martenot e.g.

Forget about the ML thing completely. Ignore the oak argument quite a bit. Learn the charcteristics of the villages and then their individual vineyards, and you will be closer to discerning the realms of possibilities of Burgundy. The other things are detours...

If Chablis didn't go through ML in a typical year, it very well might be undrinkable, so searching for "unoaked" and "no ML" won't really direct you to a style of Burgundy that is typical...oaked + ML will be 90% of all Burgundy made excepting Bourgogne Blancs, much of the Macon and some Chablis...

Buy:

Puligny AC from Pernot, Chassagne AC from Bernard Morey and Meursault from Matrot and drink them all with a couple of friends. You'll be a lot closer to examining the stylistic differences of Burgundy...
Alan Uchrinscko
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Howie Hart

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Re: White Burgundy Questions

by Howie Hart » Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:23 pm

Thanks Alan, Carl and Dale. That helps a lot.
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Victorwine

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Re: White Burgundy Questions

by Victorwine » Wed Jun 21, 2006 10:43 pm

Hi Howie,
I’m sure you are well aware that as of December 2005 the European Union is allowing its winemakers to use “oak chips” or alternatives to oak barrels. We all know how oak influences wines. Maybe using “oak chips” will make the process of marrying oak with wine much more “controllable” and “predictable” (when it comes to obtaining a desirable style)..Actual the use of oak alternatives is being reviewed by the controlling bodies of AOC wine appellations in France (as of now it is only allowed in “table wines” or “country wines”).

Salute
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Howie Hart

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Re: White Burgundy Questions

by Howie Hart » Thu Jun 22, 2006 12:01 am

As I make my home made wines in 5-6.5 gallon batches in glass carboys, oak chips are my best option. However, one of these years, I'm going to buy a 40-55 gallon barrel and make a Bordeaux style blend. :wink:

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