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Saturday, 5 December 2020

The CWB Southern French Oaky Chardonnay-Off

Two oaked Chardonnays from southern France

Chardonnay is quite possibly the world's greatest and most versatile grape; it makes everything from fizz to dessert wines - and all points in between.

Easy to grow and easy to say, Chardonnay was everyone's favourite white in the '90s; until we all went off it and moved on to kiwi Sauvignon. 

Burgundy is the benchmark style for moderate-climate oaked Chardonnay; Chablis is leaner and Australia / California much more full-on.

These two southern French Chardonnays are essentially Burgundy lookalikes - but without the price tag.

Louis Latour Grand Ardèche Chardonnay

Maison Louis Latour is a Burgundy producer also making Burgundy-style wines outside the region; this Grand Ardèche Chardonnay 2018 is treated the same way as the wines grown and made from the prestigious vineyards of its more famous cousin.

The chalky soils are similar to the soil in Burgundy; the consistent climate and abundant sunshine ripen the grapes to perfection, whilst the northerly Mistral wind, which blows for days at a time, stops any problems with humidity and eliminates the risk of rot.

The wine spends ten months in oak barrels made at the Latour cooperage in Beaune.

Louis Latour Grand Ardèche Chardonnay 2018 (£11.99, stockists below) fresh almonds and vanilla, green apple, citrus and a zip of lime zest; full and supple with brioche, almond and creamy oatmeal. Gentle, very adept oaking. Precise, balanced, very harmonious and elegant.

Good and Good Value; will age.

Match with roast white meat, pasta with creamy mushrooms, shellfish and fish dishes or charcuterie.

Silene Chardonnay Limoux

Domaines Paul Mas is based in Languedoc and considered a flagship of the region. The origins of the estate go back to Jean-Claude Mas’s great-grandfather, Auguste Mas, who bought the first family vineyard in 1892.
Jean-Claude trained in Bordeaux and has a background in advertising and economics, meaning that he knows how to make, blend and sell wine as well as run a business.

Silene Chardonnay Limoux, 2019 (£10, Co-op) spicy cinnamon and aniseed with honeysuckle, citrus, baked apples and pears, lime marmalade, creamy-nutty, buttery oak and warming toasty butterscotch. Supple and warming. Very adept.


A versatile white, match with roast chicken, pork or meaty white fish.


Silene also reviewed by:


Full list of stickists for the Latour Grand Ardèche: Majestic Wine, Bon Coeur, Dickens House Wine Emporium, Fine Wine Direct, House of Townend, Noble Green Wines, Patridges, Rodney Densem Wines, Small Beer, Thedrinkshop.com, Winebuyers, Winedirect (Sussex)

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