'White Burgundy' is 100% chardonnay, and, chardonnay being a malleable, somewhat neutral grape, the term covers a variety of styles, from the rich buttery-minerally concoctions of the Côte d'Or to the steely, racy wines of Chablis to the easy-drinking yet sometime profound wines of the Mâcon.

Domaine de l'Arlot Nuits St. George Clos de l'Arlot 1994 (A New Low): Medium straw color. Yellow apple, pear, smoke and burnt firecracker paper. Also tastes slightly burnt, was there a fire in the vineyard? If you ignore the burnt taste, you've got a lean, fading yellowfruity wine that doesn't do much for me.

Domaine Barat Chablis Les Fourneaux 1996 (Hot Wet Summertime Action): Apple-juicy smelling, oxidized and flat tasting. Damaged, like all of us, only more so. (6/05)

Domaine Boillot Rully Grésigny 1997 ($21) (Horrifying the Newbies): This has an evocative nose of vanilla, sawdust, custard and toast. The pastoral image of a woodshop springs softly to mind when I smell this wine, lathes turning and saws buzzing merrily. Crisp, pleasantly balanced, but quite appallingly oaky and the tiny shy yellow fruit that's underneath the wood suffers a cruel death by suffocation. (3/3/01)

Domaine de la Bongran (Thévenet) Cuvée Tradition Mâcon-Clessé 1996 ($24) (Occult Wines): Pale lemon color. A bit of a startling departure from the Savennieres, the smoky-lemon-pear-butter nose quickly warms up in my noseholes, showing light green hints and matching the creaminess of the buttery sacrificial animal flesh very well. In the midpalate more pear and some baked Golden Delicious apple with butter lightly rubbed on it. After the colossal 96 Coulée this seems a bit of a rootbeer float of a wine, but only by direct comparison, as it's creamy and fruity and round and friendly, with a touch of sweetness. (5/15/00)

Domaine de la Bongran (Thévenet) Mâcon-Clessé Quintaine Cuvée Tradition 1998 ($25) (McNetta 2002): Pale gold color. Spicy nose, buttered baked yellow apples, hay, light honey, fragrant and sweet-smelling. Tastes a little harder than the nose would suggest, there's tightness here, a minerally subcurrent under the buttered-apple and pear fruit, the spicy fruit. Generous dollop of spicy-hay botrytis, nice addition to the complexity of the nose. Vivid and bright but wrapped up tight, the rare rare chardonnay that needs a little time to loosen up. Very nice, impressive aromatics but a little unyielding in the piehole. A great match with the uni pigs-in-a-blanket. (6/02)

Domaine de la Bongran Mâcon-Villages Quintaine Cuvée Tradition 1999 (MoJoe 2004): Boisterously aromatic: apple pie hints, baked yellow apples and canned pears in the middle, tiny hint of spicy hay up high and a flinty-smoky note underneath it all. The flavors are just as big but more monolithic, robust and creamy-round at the edges, tighter and flintier at the core, a big brute of a wine. (7/10/04)

Boyer-Martinot Meursault les Narvaux 2002 (Broken Rules): Light lemon-butterscotch aromatics. Medium-bodied, with lean buttered-pear flavors, watery midpalate, abrupt finish. Generic, lackluster Meursault--heavyhandedly wooded and not particularly interesting. I'm afraid at first that it's suffering the usual fate of chardonnay, performing especially poorly following wines made from more compelling varieties, but I go back to it later and it's just as lame. (11/04)

Boyer-Martenot Meursault les Tillets 2000 (Sleeping Cats): Crisp, stony nose, rocks and more rocks with traces of lemon and green apple. Tastes like it smells, tart, crisp and minerally, a bright, lean wine that finishes with a touch of lime amidst a flurry of chalk. Quite bracing, I like it very much. Meursault that thinks it's Chablis? (9/17/02)

Jean-Marc Brocard Bourgogne 'Chardonnay Sur Kimmeridgien' 1996 ($11): Light, banana-candy nose, kind of closed, doesn't give much. Crisp, medium-bodied, Lemon-Pledge notes, quite tart, passing flavors of apple juice also creep in. A nice drink, but not the knockout deal that his 'Vieilles Vignes' Chablis is (even though the VV is half again as expensive). Not well integrated-it seems a little disjointed, but certainly a very nice wine for the price. Could be a good house white. (11/98)

Jean-Marc Brocard Bourgogne Chardonnay en sol Kimmeridgien 1999 ($13) (Winterfest '03): Light aromatics, hints of honey, flint and ripe yellow apple, along with a whiff of banana. Have they been to the Georges Duboeuf fire sale? Tastes decent, crisp tart acidity struggles to hold up the rather flattened-out midpalate fruit. A bit dilute and lacking focus, but drinkable. The '96 version of this was very nice, this is not nearly as interesting. (1/22/03)

Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Montmains 1996 ($25): more my style of chardonnay: light, crisp nose--lemon-lime, stones & rainwater. Crisp in the mouth as well, with a bit of roundness around the edges, smooth Chablis, opening up a bit from when I last had it a year ago. (8/27/99)

Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 'Vieilles Vignes' 1996 ($18) was just lovely -- fresh, crisp, complex, with a whiff of lemon and what Lisa calls "rain" on the nose; wet stone, minerals, nice round mouthfeel, lively acidity combined with a gentle amount of chardonnay roundness and notes of citrus. Wonderfully smooth and integrated, with a lively finish. Perfect match with shrimp & feta cheese--crisp enough to cut through the aromatic cheese, but full and round enough to match the fleshy shrimp. Yum! (10/98)

Louis Carillon Puligny-Montrachet 1997 ($45) (Yo-ho for Pinot): Pale straw-lemon color. Hints of yellow apple on the nose. Leaner and tarter than the Latour, tangy and crisp and steely, but not much else going on now. Closed, tight, lean. Time? (3/19/00)

La Chablisienne Chablis Blanchots 1997 (Sleeping Cats): with a pained expression, asking himself "Where did I get this? Where did it come from? Why god, WHY?" I can't offer an answer, but here is certainly proof that the French can make an ugly overoaked mess out of chardonnay just as handily as Americans can. Rather fat for a Chablis, there seems to be some decent minerally fruit buried somewhere under the carpentry. Sawdust, vanilla and toast, that's all she wrote. Chablis that thinks it's Napa chardonnay? (9/17/02)

Domaine du Château de Puligny-Montrachet Monthelie 1997 ($21): A wine that has some friendly, spicy fruit, but again it's a bit lost under a blanket of buttery oak. There is a nice lively nose, and some nice pear & peach notes on the midpalate, but they're a little smothered. (9/99)

Domaine du Château de Puligny-Montrachet Puligny-Montrachet 1995 ($32) (Motor Oil): Pale lemon-straw color. Bright, creamy nose, plenty of vanilla with crisp yellow apple and lemon, quite a bit of wood here, but the brightness of the underlying aromas help to shake it off and not get bogged down by it. Tastes a bit sharp at first, quickly turning creamy-mellow and settling on the palate. A distinct two-stage wine, with a tart attack that simply gives up the ghost and surrenders to a wave of creamy vanilla and pear flavors. Peculiar, but not unpleasant. (6/29/00)

Domaine des Chazelles Mâcon-Viré 1998 ($17) (Viva Mexico!): Light aromas of pear and yellow apple, with a tart Granny Smith streak. Tastes tart as well, without a lot of distinction, and a slight bitterness. Good balance, but not a whole lot going on in terms of flavor. Dressner stands, says "Underripe." Sits. Scattered applause. (3/01)

Coche-Dury Bourgogne Blanc 1993 (Impostors): Smells bright and lively, buttery-pear lemon-vanilla swirl with toasty almond hints, nice and bright to smell, happily yellowfruity. Tastes much the same, pleasant, young, fresh. A soft, slightly round mouthfeel, but there's quite a strong spine deep under the creamy fruit right at the surface. Quite decent, and then some. (11/4/00)

Coche-Dury Meursault 1996 ($60) (Manuel and Josie): Pale straw-lemon color; creamy-delicate nose with yeasty-toasty hints. Good structure, and there's a good clear throughline of apple-pear fruit here, good cut in the mouth, but the wine seems a bit lean and tight right now and a bit vanilla-leesy-woody for me, although there is a very nice long lemon-creamy finish. I'm a bit ambivalent. (4/23/00)

Coche-Dury Meursault 1997 ($65) (Lisa's Birthday): Medium lemon yellow color. Mmm, smells nice, much more open and bright than the shut down '96 version that we had a few months back--bright, velvety yellowstone-creamy fruit, vanilla, rich and beguiling, very nice to smell. After a few fairly lukewarm experiences I finally begin to see what all the Coche fans go on about. In the mouth it's surprisingly crisp and structured, nimble and racy, yet there's velvety-smooth tangy-tart fruit to clothe the bright spine. Tastes buttery-lemony, with custardy hints that evanesce like dim stars if you try and focus on them, but reappear when your attention is elsewhere, then flow into a long lemon-cream finish. Bright, nimble, young. (6/13/00)

Coffinet Chassagne-Montrachet 1990 (Bradcave): Pale lemon-yellow; slatey hints drift up in the slightly buttery-lemony nose--bit of burnt-matchy flare as well. Medium-thick and slightly unctuous, but there's some good structure too, and it doesn't feel distractingly fat. Tangy yellowfruit hangs nicely in the mouth and lingers softly on the finish. Decent enough, if unremarkable. (12/19/99)

Domaine de Comtes Lafon Meursault-Charmes 1992 ($109) (VS Eats at Joe's): Pale yellow; flinty-buttery nose, medium-bodied, bit limp in the mouth, some round, buttery apple-pear fruit turning earthy on the finish. This wine starts .sasha into a tailspin. He picks up his glass and paces back and forth disbelievingly, sniffing and swirling and saying "It's flat?!" to himself over and over again. I offer some lame quip about not knowing it was supposed to be sparkling, but his disillusionment runs deep and will not be assuaged. (11/7/99)

Domaine Cordier Pouilly-Fuissé Vers Cras 1999 ($30) (Miller Time): Déjà vu all over again. Smells of oak, vanilla-toast-pear-toast-vanilla-charcoal. Tastes of oak too, but is more skillfully constructed than the last mess. A cohesive wine with rounded edges, good balance and decent supporting acidity, merely tastes bad. (1/12/02)

J. Dauvissat Chablis Montmains 2002 (Hot Wet Summertime Action): Calm lemoncreamy aromatics, light smoky-flinty streak. Decent composure, bit vague in the middle, lacks focus, finishes on a firecrackery note. Seems watery after the well-honed sylvaner, but not bad. I guess. (6/05)

René & Vincent Dauvissat Chablis La Fôrest 1997 (Misplaced Weekend II): Very gunpowdery at first, with a pronounced burnt-firecracker streak that blows off a bit with air and time. Smells of yellow apples and vanilla cream. Medium weight, medium acidity, lightly creamy texture, a bit vague in the middle, rallies on the finish, turning apple-spicy, like AppleJacks cereal. Very middling Chablis, correct but rather boring and a little creamier than I like. (5/9/04)

René & Vincent Dauvissat Chablis La Fôrest 1999 ($35) (Of Bass and Men): Steely, stony nose; quiet yet rich hints of minerals, green apples and white wine. Nice density, good feel in the gob, but still wrapped tight even after an hour or so of air. "Finally, a wine with a nose!" say supporters, adding that the nose is "surprisingly candied." Others say "Promising," but "reticent." (2/01)

René & Vincent Dauvissat Chablis La Fôrest 2000 ($42) (Winterfest 2003): Quintessential Chablis, lean and rocky, tart green apples and wet rocks. Quiet at first, it opens up with air in about an hour and a half, smelling smoothly rocky and green-appley. Lean, taut and edgy, Jamie calls it "echt-Chablis." Really long finish, stones hang out on your tongue for days. Crisp and crystalline Chablis--impeccable balance, great cohesion, laserlike focus, just very pure. Just. Very. Pure. (2/03)

René & Vincent Dauvissat Chablis La Fôrest 2001 ($33) (Eve of Chenin/Day of Satan): Flinty-toasty aromatics, pineapple and tart yellow apple underneath. Seems soft and loose and oaky compared to the Vouvrays, but there's decent potential if you let it sit for a few years. Mellow, decent. I brought this because I thought it would be a good match with lobster: it's not. Or maybe if we had grilled the lobster it would've been, but it's too smoky-woody right now. (12/31/03)

René & Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Les Clos 2000 (Winterfest 2003): ($50) Smells much like the Fôrest, but tastes rounder, a little more plush, less rocky-edgy. It's not unfocused, but it does have a hint of fat around the middle. Another wonderfully pure, cohesive wine. I like the Fôrest better for its tautness and focus, but there's something to be said for a hint of creaminess as well. I wouldn't kick either of these wines out of bed for eating crackers. Drink the Clos now, age the Fôrest. (2/03)

René & Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Les Preuses 2000 ($70) (Winterfest 2003): Strikes a balance between the first two, just a bit of fleshiness to cover a nice strong spine. Extremely complex in the nose, richly flavorful in the piehole, long long finish. Not as racy as the Forêt, but still nicely structured. An elegant wine that rewards attention and reveals itself with continued listening. I don't know, maybe this is my favorite. Lovely. Long, stony finish, maybe even longer than the Forets. The balance is better--where the Forêt is racy and a little hard and the Clos a little fatter and rounded, this is ethereal and substantive, a balancing act. Great wines. (2/03)

Alice & Olivier de Moor Chablis 2002 (Unclear Identities): Smells like hay, hay and baked yellow apple, hay and canned pear juice, more hay. Hmm. Tastes broad and diffuse, oxidative, some acidity but a general sense of honesty and tiredness. There is a poem on the label in tiny, scrawly French script that no one can decipher. This is apparently an unsulfured cuvée, and it looks like that may have been a miscalculation, or perhaps they're just jumping on the oxidative-style bandwagon that's sweeping France. SFJoe pronounces it "Inoxidizable," I pronounce it "strange." (8/8/04)

Domaine des Deux Roches St. Véran Vieilles Vignes 1997 ($25) (Journey to Queens): Pale gold-tan; yup, slightly toasty-oaky on the nose, but there is indeed some nice pear and melon aromas as well, maybe some honey-figgy-earthiness. A pleasant enough medium-bodied wine with some good fruit. I'm a bit off chardonnay in general, but this is pretty decent, very drinkable. (10/30/99)

Joseph Drouhin Chablis Premier Cru 1973 (Liberation Celebration): Medium gold color. Smells gently pomander-spicy, half-baked yellow apple laced with clove, flint and orange rind. Tastes calm and rounded, with firm acidity lying dormant at the core. There's a certain tiredness to the fruit but the wine is still going, spreading out quietly on my tongue, finishing with an orangespicy flicker. Quite pleasantly striking, considering it's chardonnay. Were this good chenin or riesling it would still be an adolescent, but to find life in a thirty-year-old chardonnay is crazy, baby. We pass some to Kat, our friendly neighborhood waitress. She likes it. We'll turn her into a geek yet. (11/6/05)

Joseph Drouhin Chablis Vaudésir 1997 (Broken Rules): Smoky-flinty smelling at first, some flat apple-juicy oxidative notes, then butterscotch and toast. Unpleasant. It seems a good dose of bully-boy new wood has beaten the crap out of whatever else was in the bottle with it and now reigns supreme, with no challengers in sight. (11/04)

Joseph Drouhin Chassagne-Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche 1996 ($60) (Fisting Punts): Flinty-smoky undertones underneath yellow fruit, butterscotchy hints above. A sip, and the mouthfeel is somewhat angular, although the wine seems quite substantial. In the middle the lemony yellow fruit takes a turn towards a figgy earthiness that runs parallel with the minerality underneath. Firm and crisp, the yellow fruit isn't quite meshing with the high and low notes, but there's a lot of ground to cover and perhaps it just needs time. (10/13/02)

Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet Folatieres 1998 ($65) (Miller Time): Sweetly charred vanilla, hints of pear and yellow apple underneath. Tastes limpid and blunt, mostly creamy oak, some toasty oak. Oh, and here's a hint of pale yellow fruit. Whoops, never mind, it's been clubbed to death by the oak. Creamy oak, toasty oak. (1/12/02)

Domaine du Duc de Magenta (Louis Jadot) Auxey-Duresses 1993(Of Bass and Men): A little thin, a little faded, with a touch of bitterness. Not much there. Crisp, but not much stuffing. (2/01)

On a whim, we popped open the second of the "roll the dice" vinos that Susan got from the local liquor store, expecting another dead bottle. Unlike the McDowell, however, the Château de Fuissé St. Veran 1982 (Cepage Chardonnay-M. Vincent & Fils) ($9.99) had a lot of life left in it and seemed to have thrived under impossible conditions in its long journey to our table. Toasted hazelnuts on the nose; pale yellow, soft, round, nutty flavors on the midpalate--medium acidity, flashes of crispness, notes of honey and vanilla, glycerin texture. Rounded & pleasant; bracing acidity comes across more as the wine warms. Notes of vanilla & butter meld into crisp finish that hums nicely for about a minute. I'll be curious to see how this is affected by a day or two in the fridge. Was it always so nutty, I wonder, or is this a function of age, which is the impression I got from tasting it for reasons that are unclear to me. This wine did seem "old", but seemed the better for it; more complex and really very interesting to taste--there was no loss of fruit or drinkability, but I don't think it would have lasted too much longer before starting to slipslide away. (11/15/98)

Domaine Emilian Gillet Mâcon-Viré Quintaine 1996 ($19): The nose on this little chippy reminds me a bit of certain Champagnes--very bready, yeasty, with lemon and stony hints. Bright and tart-tasting, with a lot of flavor and a pleasant viscosity balancing out the generous acidity. A chardonnay that I could drink a few glasses of, which ain't too common these days. Really very pleasant and lively. (10/22/99)

Louis Jadot Corton-Charlemagne 1988 (The Return of Marty & Jill): Smooth vanilla-hazelnuttiness over muted apple-pear yellowfruit, there's a nice smacking of wood here but it's of the burnished variety, quietly spicy. A sip, and it's a calm, firm wine, medium-crisp and posessed of a self-contained maturity. Hasn't quite the vibrancy of the Raveneau or the faux-wine quality of the Yellow Tail, but there's a lot here to like. (2/06)

Vincent & Francois Jouard Chassagne-Montrachet La Maltroie Vieilles Vignes 2002 (Unclear Identities): Good whiff of butterscotch/vanilla woodwork on the nose, but there's some placid yellow fruit and a quiet underlying minerality as well. The wood is actually the first thing to stroll over my tongue, but some lean yellow-apple/pear fruit races after it and throws a stonyfruity bathrobe over its nakedness. Lightly creamy texture, young and bright with a pleasant buoyancy and good focus. Nice balance as well. Actually, for woody chardonnay it's pretty decent. Would probably benefit from a few years' bottle age. (8/8/04)

Laboure-Roi Mâcon-Villages St. Armand 2006 ($8) (Boatloads XI): Gently creamy pear-yellow apple aromatics, touch of fig in there as well. Tastes chardonnayish, medium bodied and compact, with a pleasant tartness and calm creamy flavors. Nothing at all distinctive, but a very decent drinkable if slightly nondescript wine. [Buy again? Yuh, think so.] (11/07)

Hubert Laferrere Mâcon-Chardonnay 1998 ($19) (Trilateral Offline): Pale straw; light, lemon-pear-cream hints with a touch of rainwater underneath, aromatically light and fresh-smelling. A light, smooth, easy-drinking Mâcon, tangy and crisp and on the lean side, not terribly complex, but a pleasant little chardonnay that might actually go well with food, light and silky in the mouth. (3/14/00)

Louis Latour Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot 1996 ($45): Pale straw. Apple Jolly Rancher candy and yellow apple on the nose, candied-smelling. Some oxidation here, hints of caramel, fruit is a bit flat and neutral. Drinkable, but only just. (3/19/00)

Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne 1990 ($60) (Bastille Day): A big woody potion, the kind of wine that almost put me off non-Chablis chardonnay for good. Burnt firecracker paper on the nose (some wag says "gun flint," but my flintlock is in for repairs after last week's frenzied 'Kill the Redcoats' bash, so I can't swear to that), green celery highlights along with the yellow pear/yellow apple fruit, not to mention a bottle of vanilla extract poured through a sieve of burnt toast. Big, weighty and glyceriney-textured, there's good balance and enough acidity, but what seems like a fine core of fruit is pressed like a Salem witch under a fatal weight of wood. There is a brief rally of yellowness in the midpalate, but the finish turns smokily astringent. (6/16/01)

Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne 1991 ($65)(Yo-ho for Pinot): Medium straw-gold. Flinty creamy-lemon nose, velvety & rich, with some vanilla oakiness. On first taste you get a nice flush of slightly limpid creamy fruit, but it fades a bit on the midpalate and turns a bit woody-rough on the coarse finish. A big, fairly fat wine, but shorter on structure than I like, a bit heavy in the mouth. The last time I had this one blind I guessed it was Californian, and my impression of the wine hasn't changed much. (3/19/00)

Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne 1994 (A New Low): Medium straw color. Bit fruitier-smelling than the last, pineapple and pear laced with vanilla and light butterscotch. Plenty of new wood here, but there's decently lively fruit as well, although the two aren't quite in synch. Still, it's not bad on its own oaky-chardonnay terms. Drinkable, sort of. (7/14/03)

Louis Latour Meursault-Perrieres 1992 (Continuing): A very sedate nose, calm yellow fruit with streaks of flint and celery seed, laced throughout with muted vanilla. The midpalate is decently composed but rather inert, just passing through without much fuss into a surprisingly pleasant finish. Not bad, seems to be fading. (9/23/01)

Domaine Latour-Giraud Meursault les Narvaux 2002 (Foodies 3): Light pear-apple fruit laced with toast and vanilla, medium-bodied, with sufficient acidity, enough spine to get by. Not bad at all, a bit oakier than I like, but I suppose complaining about oak in white Burgundy is like complaining about too much snow at Vail. (2/26/05)

Domaine Long-Depaquit Chablis 1996 (Blind Whites): Pale yellow; lemony-rainwatery quality again, rich nose, minerals & slight muskiness. In the mouth a bit like a riesling, but fatter, with some saliva-gland-pinching acidity. I don't quite know what to make of this wine. (7/8/99)

Château de Maligny Chablis Fourchaume 1996 ($25) (Journey to Queens): Lovely classic Chablis spritzy limestony-lemon nose, nice and bright and rich. Tasty and tangy as well, but I find it a bit limp in the mouth, a bit challenged in the zing department. I'm surprised, because I've had this before and not thought that. Am I going through a dumb phase? (10/30/99)

Château de la Maltroye Chassagne-Montrachet La Romanée 1998 (Heat): A whiff of matchsticky sulphur, gobs of vanilla-toasty oak and a celery-stick undercurrent. "No... wait!" he says, "this crap might just blow off--this is supposed to be good..." The sulphur does indeed blow off, but I'm not sure it's an improvement, as the oak steps up to take its place. Quite crisp and well spined, but the pear-apple fruit has had the life sucked from it by the vampiric wooding and just lays inertly in my mouth, whimpering softly. Poor Manuel is disconsolate. Someone cries out "This wine is possessed by the devil!" and I can't disagree. (6/16/01)

Domaine Joseph Matrot Meursault 2000 ($28) (Winterfest 2003): Lightly tropical smellies; pineapple, pear, yellow flowers, whiff of vanilla and toast. A sip, and it's crisp and velvety, not very deep but amiable. Tangy yellow fruit flows across my tongue but recedes quickly, leaving uncushioned a hard, minerally finish. Not bad, but the finish is a little jarring and the middle is smooth but hard. Needs time. (2/03)

Joseph Matrot Meursault-Charmes 2002 (Steamed Steaks): Pleasantly aromatic, lightly earthy apple-pear yellowfruit, touch of vanilla toastiness, minerals underneath. Good structure, nice crispness, a pleasantly cohesive little Meursault that paints by the numbers and colors inside the lines; no missteps, but not much verve either. I could drink it easily, but the Chablis is much more compelling. (10/2/04)

Domaine Joseph Matrot Meursault-Perrieres 1999 ($37) (Miller Time): At last a lighter hand with the barrels. This smells minerally, an airy, chalky nose. Well balanced, medium-crisp in the piehole, has a lightly velvety-smooth mouthfeel with a slight edge to it. (1/12/02)

Pierre Matrot Puligny-Montrachet Les Chalumeaux 1991 ($30) (Lisa's Birthday): Medium lemon-gold color, slightly dark. Flinty lemon-cream nose with some hazelnutty notes, kind of odd... is this a bit damaged? Kane makes faces and moans theatrically, but you'd pretty much expect that with any chardonnay. Tastes tangy, crisp, slightly creamy mouthfeel with nice backbone, but there's more almondy nuttiness along with a toasty-flinty note. Finishes with a pleasant medium-long tangy-lemon hum, but something seems a bit off. (6/13/00)

Louis Michel & Fils Chablis Montée de Tonnerre 2002 (Steamed Steaks): Pale straw color. Aromatically shy at first, some light yellow apple, white flowers, cream and minerals. Tastes calm and steely-stony, medium acidity and with a subtle plushness around a solid core. Quiet and pure, a slow-moving mountain stream. Charming and minerally early on, it takes on other guises as the evening goes on, the color deepening, a quiet oxidative quality slipping in, yellow pear and tangerine-citrus notes appearing, a living wine, very interesting. (10/2/04)

Domaine René Monnier Meursault-Charmes 1997 ($40) (Quiz Show II): This smells rather like a local [Cal] chardonnay, quite vanilla-buttery, with pear juice tones and a flickering flintiness underneath it all. Tastes less overtly woody, lightly creamy, lemony hints, nice balance but fairly neutral, a bit wan but quite correct. It's nice enough but it really leaves me a bit cold. (4/15/00)

Bernard Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Beaudines 1988 ($40) (Fisting Punts): Not as stony as the Morgeot, touches of baked apple, honey and walnuts in the nose. A bit looser, more yellow than the all-white Morgeot, plenty of acidity, still crisp and lean. (10/13/02)

Bernard Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Caillerets 1988 ($40) (Fisting Punts): This one flashes past me as I puzzle over the first two. The bottles are hurtling by at alarming speed. Marty and I both beg for mercy from the onslaught, but Camblor cries "No quarter asked or given!" and continues to fling them down the line. I vow to catch it on the way down the other side, but by then there are two more entirely unrelated bottles coming at me, and it falls by the wayside in the name of vinous triage. (10/13/02)

Bernard Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets 1998 ($45) (Prodigal Hawaiians): There's a little burnt-matchy hint to the nose here, but it isn't terribly bothersome. Sprightly, smooth and a bit soft, although crisper than the Raveneaux, with a bit of overt oak that doesn't quite fit into the mix. I'm not quite connecting with this. Perhaps needs time to settle a bit? Still, pretty nice. (1/12/00)

Bernard Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Embrazées 1988 ($40) (Fisting Punts): Touch of caramel, flint and a green note ("Smells like baked zucchini" offers SFJoe). Showing more oxidation than the others, but similarly crisp and nimble in the piehole. Even damaged it's pretty good. (10/13/02)

Bernard Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot 1988 ($40) (Fisting Punts): Airy, minerally, crisp, lean and steely. Bracing acidity, lots of rainwatery minerals, a bit severe on the finish. Good stuff--lean, taut Chablis. Oh wait, it's not Chablis. Whatever, then. Quick, on to the next! (10/13/02)

Pierre Morey Meursault Genevrieres 1977 (Recluse Convention): Medium tan-gold color. Quite funky smelling, a base of flinty marzipan nuttiness laced with a briny oystershell note and hints of mouse. In the piehole there's a sharp start, minerally tart yellow nutty fruit, rather faded. The middle turns stonier and the yellowness seems to be struggling to overcome a baked-out flatness that is rising from within. Bordering on over the hill, there's still enough complexity and life here to give pleasure, but I'd drink up soon. No, make that really soon. Or yesterday. (11/22/02)

Niellon Chassagne-Montrachet les Vergers 1993 (Broken Rules): Okay, this smells pretty decent--some supple pear and pineapple hints, bit of vanilla, calm and bright-smelling. A sip, and it's a subtle, creamy wine that spreads out rather insistently over my tongue. Very pure tasting, cohesive and firm but velvet edged and ticklishly flickery. Medium amplitude, startlingly persistent finish. I confess that I may have been wrong that this grape has no potential; this wine at least achieves veryniceness. (11/04)

P. Pernot Bienvenue Batard-Montrachet 1993 ($35)(Joao/Kansas): Light, creamy-lemon & pear notes, soft and nonconfrontational. Medium-light in the mouth, good balance with a slightly viscous feel, bit of yellow appleskin. This is a bit one-dimensional, but it's a fairly pleasant dimension, and there's a nice long soothing finish. Small and quiet and pleasant enough, it lulls you along with soft whispers and gentle entreaties. (3/2/00)

Petit Chapeau Mâcon-Villages 1997 ($11.99): Pale straw color; good chardonnay fruit and lemony supporting acidity in a lean and racy body. Fairly unremarkable, but fresh & decent, tangy & honest. A good food chardonnay (now there's a notion). (1/29/00)

Le Petit Roi Mâcon-Villages 1997 ($8.99). Weird nose of washed-out Lemon Pledge. Thin and insipid, with baffling levels of acidity the only noticeable flavor component. My impression was that someone had dissolved a chewable vitamin-c tablet in dishwater and put in a few drops of yellow food coloring. Undrinkable. Really and truly undrinkable. Wins the prize for nastiest wine of the year. Blech.

Albert Pic Chablis 'Pic 1er' 1990(Sitting Jeebis): A little thin, a little oaky. Light flavors. Watery. Not very good. (3/31/01)

Albert Pic Chablis Valmur 1989(September 15, 2001): There's an odd cabbagey funk at first that blows off soon enough, after which a flinty nose with flecks of butteriness emerges. Cool and somewhat neutral at first, the flavors take their time in blooming, only coming out really strongly on the finish, which carries on tangily for two minutes, twenty-one and six-tenths seconds (02:21.60). (9/15/01)

Domaine Louis Pinson Chablis Mont-de-Milieu 1996 ($22) (Longest Night): Pale straw-lemon. Smells rainwatery-stony, tight at first but soon giving up some nice wet rockiness. The wine has a coiled core with a velvety skin, the beginnings of softness. Pretty good, quite young now. (12/31/00)

Domaine Louis Pinson Chablis Montmains 1997 ($24): pale tan; spry, minerally nose--rainwater, soft ginger ale, velvety-smooth; tastes tangy-crisp, bit of baby fat, light pear-apple notes, but more minerally than fruit-fruity (not that there's anything wrong with that...). Pleasant, open and smooth.

Domaine Provenquiere Chardonnay Vin de Pays D'Oc 1997 ($6.99): One of Mr. Andrew Scott's bargain finds, this is a crisp, light, pear-apple-fruit-salad kind of wine that sits happily in my mouth, tangy-fruity and simple, but appealingly fresh, juicy and non-oaky. (9/99)

Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet les Ruchottes 1986 (Broken Rules): Tired and flat-tasting at first, but once I get used to the tiredness and flatness it seems to rally in the middle, acquiring a bit of zip. Oddly, it continues to revivify with air, finally seeming quite crisp and almost bright everywhere but at the core, which is still somewhat tired and flat. If I sound like I can't quite make up my mind then I'm communicating the experience properly--this wine is a moving target in need of repeated reassessment, it continues zigzagging until it's gone. (11/04)

Raveneau Chablis Blanchot 1995 ($65) (Manuel and Josie): Pale lemon-yellow color with a tight, flinty butter-lemon-yellow appleskin nose that opens up a bit with air time. Some pretty floral aromatics emerge amidst the Chablis minerality; plumeria hints, white flowers, pretty and rich. In the piehole it's a steel spine in a lightly creamy spineglove, racy and muscular with a dash of lightly buttery babyfat creaminess. There's great density here and much need of time, but this is an impressive wine even now. (4/24/00)

Raveneau Chablis Butteaux 1998 ($60) (Fisting Punts): Not much here, aromatically speaking. Quiet nose, light hints of rainwater and... and... well, nothing. No, wait, here are some very light frozen-pineapple hints, flecks of steel and ice. Fills out a tiny bit with air, gains a light satiny layer of flesh over the impassive core. Just tight as a drum. Puzzled, I tap on my glass and shout "Hey! HEY! OVER HERE!" but I can't get the damn wine to respond. (10/13/02)

Raveneau Chablis Chapelots 2000 (A New Low): Smells like... air? Nothing? Okay, must focus. Swirl, swirl, okay, here's some light yellow apple hints, traces of light chalkiness. Smooth and silky, refined and cohesive, it's nevertheless rather vague and inert after the brawny and precise Huet. Not bad for chardonnay, I guess. (7/14/03)

Raveneau Chablis Les Clos 1991 (Prodigal Hawaiians): This was showing very well: Lightly velvety flint and tropical-fruit hints on the nose, complex and pretty, almost seems to be a hint of botrytis to me, but that notion is shot down in good order. Nevertheless, this is very nice, not steely at all, but a bit round & fleshy, nicely balanced in the mouth, more tropical fruit and a light butteriness. I don't know Raveneaux's wines, but this seems to me almost more of a white burg style than traditional Chablis, velvety-smooth with a delightfully long finish. (1/12/00)

Raveneau Chablis les Clos 1993 (The Return of Marty & Jill): There's a gente spiciness to the yellowfruity aromatics, cinnamon or perhaps cardamon, just a dusting. My first thought it that it shows quite white Burgish, lemoncreamy & beeswaxy, but over the course of an hour or two it narrows and becomes more honed, ambling back towards Chablisiosity. Either way, it's a luminous wine, vivid and alive, quietly thrilling, inviting one to return to it every few minutes to see what turns it has taken. (2/06)

Raveneau Chablis Vaillons 1995 (Culling Me Softly): Smells calm and yellow, apple and pear with undercurrents of stoniness. Tastes silky and cohesive, rounded edges with a bright, flexible core, finishes medium-short. Easygoing, pleasantly minerally chardonnay without the trimmings, similar in character to J.P. Brun's perennial thoroughbred. Either it's noninterventionist white Burgundy or (knowing Joe) some extremely iconoclastic New World producer who goes easy on the ripeness and carpentry. (9/03)

Raveneau Chablis Valmur 1989 (Clash of the Ayatollahs): This wine comes around, and the heady flinty-chalky nose makes for an immediate pause in the action. "Radioactive," says Joe, which sounds about right to me. Really strong, deep aromas of minerals & burnished-steel white flowers. Rich and powerful tasting, quite racy but simply packed with dense flavors, it overpowers the lobster with pure lean hard muscle, but I don't mind a bit. (4/19/00)

Domaine de Roally Mâcon-Montbellet 1998 ($17): Medium lemon-straw color. Whee, this is a departure from the two oaky things before--bright tropical nose, lightly pineappley, with rainwatery-mineral notes underneath, smells bright and fresh-fruity. Quite lean and racy in the mouth after the last two wines, more mineral-based, yellow flowers and Bartlett pear hints, just a trace of sweetness, richly flavorful. The minerality hangs in all the way to the end, but the fruit takes a bit of a powder and a touch of dilution towards the finish keeps this from hitting a home run. (8/00)

Domaine de Roally Mâcon-Montbellet Cuvée Tradition 2002 (Rivers of Liquid Gold I): ($20). Sweet ripe bosc pear-juice aromatics, yellow apple and yellow flowers. Medium-framed and rather contained, taut at the core with some creamy skin wrapped around. Crisp, balanced and flavorful chardonnay, that rarest of beasts outside of Chablis. (11/05)

Domaine de Roally Mâcon-Village Cuvée Tradition 1999 ($18) (Impostors): This one smells much more fresh-fruity, lemon-pear and white grape juice hints, unmarked by overt oakiness or yeasty-leesiness. Tastes good, too, balanced and smooth, with a light touch of sweetness in the midpalate mingling with a nutmeg-spiciness, sweeping into a feathery-soft finish. Very nice, lots of happy expressive fruit. (11/4/00)

Domaine de Roally Mâcon-Village 2000 ($20) (Foodies 2): Now this is chardonnay done right. Richly smelly, ripe spicy yellow apples, figs and a light mineral undercurrent. The flavors swirl up in the middle in a bright flourish, then flow onwards, turning towards pear jam on the finish. Wonderful, supple and lightly creamy. I make a note to buy more of this before it disappears from local shelves. Sadly, I lose the note soon after I write it. Has anyone seen a note about Domaine de Roally laying around on the floor? It might actually say "goyard" or "BUY BUY BUY" on it...? (2/03)

Domaine de Roally Mâcon-Viré 1998 ($18) (Clash of the Ayatollahs): Very bright, lushly tropical nose, lemon-pear cream and yellow apples, ripe and friendly. You get a hint of sweetness in the juicy-round midpalate, and it finishes with a pleasant lemon-fruity zing. Another friendly, accessible wine. (4/19/00)

Domaine de Roally Mâcon-Viré Cuvée 54-H 1998 ($20) (Joey): I take one whiff and go slightly weak in the knees; while the Brun chardonnay was subtle and balanced, this is wild and extravagant, lushly tropical, smelling of pear preserves and apple brown betty. Layered, sexy in a slatternly kind of way, a bit of sweetness, curvaceous and pillowy, oddly balanced and seamlessly acrobatic, given all the balls it has in the air at once. A brazen hussy of a wine; sure works for me. (1/6/00)

G. Roumier Corton-Charlemagne 1992 (Five Jews): Pale yellow-gold; a flinty note is the first thing that strikes me upon smelling this, floating over a body of light honey, yellowfruit and minerals, and a slight touch of botrytis. Being a little off chardonnay in general, I was prepared to write this off, but in the mouth it's got a nice leanness, tangy fruit and crisp acidity, with a bit of oilyness to the mouthfeel and some slight limpidity in the midpalate. Nevertheless, this is a fine wine, leaner and more vivid than I'd expected. (12/12/99)

Etienne Sauzet Batard-Montrachet 1996 (Lucid Jeebusing): Smells of vanilla and toast over a minerally cream-soda base. Rather tight and ungiving, it doesn't say much, despite its impressive focus. On the lean side, there is very nice balance and sustain, but the barrel treatment seems to have pummeled the vivacity out of the fruit. In other words, it's a very sophisticated, elegantly woody chardonnay--if that's your bag more power to you. (2/02)

Etienne Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet 2000 ($28) (Drunken Hawaiian Holidays): Pale straw. Smells of flint and lemon, light vanilla, minerals. Crisp but fleshy, easygoing and loosely wrapped, decently unmarred chardonnay. Light pear, not brutally woody, flint and smoke notes. Good, easygoing Puligny. Light and lemony, uncomplicated. (5/03)

Savary Chablis Selection Vieilles Vignes 1998 ($20): This wine is also pale yellow, but there is a distinct greenish cast to the color. Not aromatically exuberant--with swirling you get some nice minerally flint & lime-rind notes that suggest a reticent complexity. Silkily crisp and smooth, with a soft cushion of fat on a bright, tight framework, turning slightly lemon-creamy on the finish. I sense that this wine isn't showing all its colors tonight, as it's more intellectually interesting than pleasurable, but I'd keep my eye on it, as it seems to wink suggestively as it goes down. (1/29/00)

Domaine des Terres Dorées/Jean-Paul Brun Chardonnay Beaujolais 1997 ($9): Pale straw-yellow, some good chardonnay color. Softest nose yet, velvety lemon and yellow apple hints over a light rainwatery background; this is the softest and richest wine so far, smooth and lightly layered, turning a bit honeydewish on the finish. Small in amplitude, but very pleasant and smooth, although I think a bit more backbone would be nice. A gentle wine. (1/29/00)

Domaine des Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun) Chardonnay Beaujolais 1999 ($10) (Joey): The streak continues: a lovely, slightly buttery-chalky smelling wine, with charming pear-apple fruit, hints of lemon and marzipan, and a more noticeable mineral-rainwatery streak than I remember from previous years. Tangy, crisp and velvety-smooth, a pretty, elegant wine. What more do you want from chardonnay? (1/6/01)

Domaine Thevenot-le-Brun Pinot Beurot Bourgogne Haut Côtes de Nuits 2003 (Foodies 3): Smells very strange, lots of vanilla, hint of ripe banana down low, green spearmint up high. For all the odd aromatics, the wine is strangely fruitless--vanilla oak and a gentle acidity hang out in the moderately viscous midpalate, which turns out to be the finish as the wine just stops abruptly. The question ricochets around the table: what the hell is pinot beurot? Judging from this wine, I would guess that pinot beurot is the Bastard offspring of chardonnay and niagara. (2/26/05)

Tremblay-Bouchard Chablis Mont de Milieu 1997: Pale straw; smooth nose, straw & light yellow apple aromas, crisp-smelling; in the mouth bright & pleasingly tart, stony/rainwater, bit tight, not overtly fruity, more of a mineral base--crisp & delicate, but with a steel spine. Nice Chablis.

Laurent Tribut Chablis Beauroy 2002 (Football Fever!): "The geekiest chablis on earth!" our host assures us. Damn, I'd always thought that was Raveneau, looks like I can't keep up with these kids today and their crazy trends. Anyway, the wine smells lightly creamy, yellow apple and vanilla. Tastes smooth and creamy, green apple acidity, ginger-pear skin around a taut core, very decent (for chardonnay), on the lean side, with velvety-soft edges. (1/05)

Gilles et Catherine Vergé Viré-Clessé 1999 ($17) (Farewell My Lovely): A bright-smelling noseful of chardonnay, yellow appleskin and gingery hints over a wide streak of limestony minerality. Tastes light and crisp, just the fun side of puckery-tart, a racy wine that slides into the fleshy underbelly of my soft palate like a whittled chalk shiv. But in a good way. (6/01)

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