It goes without saying that this incredible Champagne-method sparkling wine deserves a real wine glass (not a tall skinny “flute”). And prepare to be stunned by how good this is. First, the unique dosage of twenty-two-year-old botrytis-affected Mâcon-Viré gives the wine a beautiful yellow gold color, not to mention a generous, honeyed mouthfeel.
In the glass, aromas of ripe forelle pears, raw honeycomb and Golden Delicious apples move in and out of the background, trading places with blanched almonds, lime blossoms, and a fleeting suggestion of freshly shaved nutmeg as the nose develops in the glass.
On the palate, the wine is elegant and mouthfilling, with the juiciness of those crazy ripe pears you have to eat over the sink, and limestone saturated Chardonnay flavors that continue to put on weight, even as the feathery, caressing mousse gradually subsides. Pure, creamy Viré-Clessé! Drink now – 2025 at least (the 2008 was excellent three weeks ago), with everything that accompanies elegant white Burgundy.
About this wine producer: When André Bonhomme took over the family vineyards in 1956, he immediately quit selling the grapes in bulk to the local cooperative, exasperating his father, and alienating his neighbors. Setting out to bottle his own wine meant investing in winery equipment, buying bottles and corks, and finding his own customers. But being the first estate-bottler in the Maconnais had a long-term advantage: he was able to get a good, first-hand look at individual wines from unique vineyard sites, and by experiment to learn which vineyards produced the best grapes. By selling his wine in bottle rather than in bulk he was able to earn enough to quietly assemble a patchwork of the best vineyards in the region. Aurélien Palthey, André Bonhomme’s grandson, is the current director of the domaine, and he holds the reins of a cultural monument – one of the greatest estates in Burgundy.