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1995 White Burgundy

by Tom Cannavan, 1996

This was a blind tasting. Overall these wines lived up to their reputations, ranging in style from austere and tight to quite fat and generous. The wines of Niellon were particularly impressive.

Pascal, Puligny-Montrachet - £16.99
Bright, pale straw colour. Reticent nose, a hint of apple, very little else. Crisp and bone dry, some spicy flavours, but rather tartly acidic and short on the finish. Not enough fruit.

Niellon, Chassagne-Montrachet - £17.99
Deeper gold tinge to the still pale colour. Very intense nose of cinnamon spice and warm, toasted oak. Much fatter wine on the palate with full body and more intense, figgy fruit and a nice measure of new oak. Finish stays big and spicy, with a nice acid balance. Quite a robust style of wine, but very good indeed.

Sauzet, Puligny-Montrachet - £22.99
Very pale gold, almost hinting at green. Restrained nose, giving very little -a touch of melony fruit perhaps? Seems a little dilute on the palate. A good acid structure and long finish, so could come together well if fruit comes to the fore. Only quite good on this evidence.

Chateau Puligny-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet, 1er Cru "Les Folatières" - £20.99
Pale golden yellow. Very striking, intense nose with loads of oak and a slightly green note. On the palate a very big wine with rich fruit and prominent oak, fat and quite alcoholic. A bit of a blockbuster which would become tiring to drink I think. Needs food.

Pascal, Puligny-Montrachet, 1er Cru "Hameau de Blagny" - £21.99
Darker gold/yellow colour. Sweet, syrupy element to the nose with a little bit of acetone. First impression on the palate is of very oily texture with a hint of botrytis? A herbaceous edge to the acidity which is quite confusing. Good lemony fruit too and nice acidity in the finish.

Niellon, Chassagne-Montrachet, 1er Cru "Champgains" - £22.99
Straw colour, perhaps edging towards gold. Huge concentration of leesy aromas. Really powerful on the nose. Excellent integration of fresh oak, buttery fruit and a very clean, mineral edge to the acidity. Full bodied but not flabby. Classy finish. Very good indeed.

Carillon, Puligny-Montrachet, 1er Cru "Les Champs Canet" - £23.99
Pale straw colour. Striking, heady aromas of tropical fruits. Gorgeous, opulent mouthfeel - richly textured with a sweet element (botrytis again?) Pure stripe of white acidity to balance and leave a rounded impression in the finish. Very good.

Pillot, Chassagne-Montrachet, 1er Cru "Morgeot" £21.99
Pale straw colour. Very toasty on the nose, nice oak. Slightly rubbery edge to the taste, but good melony fruit comes through. Dies a little - something missing? Acid re-states itself in the finish which is actually very fine. This may just be a bit untogether at this stage. Good in a few years time?

Hamilton Russell Vineyards (South Africa), Walker Bay Chardonnay 1996 - £10.99
Golden yellow colour. Delicious nose of sweet fruit, minerals and new oak. On the palate showing very pure citrus fruit flavours, but restrained too. This is classy new world stuff - cool climate though? A very delicate wine, finely balanced and with complex layers of taste. Very good indeed and very immediate.

Niellon, Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru - £67.99
Very pale straw yellow. Yeasty nose, very soft. Subdued on the palate too, quite a lot of spicy, buttery flavours buried in there. Improving. Needs a lot of concentration to taste the subtleties of this, but it has a lot of complexity. Needs time? Very good indeed.