There are scores of relatively new wine producers scattered around the world these days and they make some very nice wines. Still, there is something to be said for the elegance of the wines produced by houses that have been making fine wines for, say, the last 250 years.
One such house is Bouchard Ainé & Fils of Beaune, which sources its many wines from vineyards that stride the length and breadth of France's superb Bourgogne (Burgundy) region. One of this long-established house's most accessible wines is its Pouilly-Fuissé, a distinctly French chardonnay that bears only the slightest resemblance to the New World chards most of us know best. The 2009 vintage goes for about $21 at big box stores.
When we think of the white wines of Bourgogne we think immediately of flint, that lovely mineral edge that characterizes so many of them. This Pouilly-Fuissé offers it from first sniff in a bouquet that is lightly floral and teasingly lemony. Flint really comes forward on the tongue and is joined by white peach, lemon and ultralight rose petal. An earthy hazelnut bass note comes in at mid-palate, and a subtle grace note of white tea ornaments the long, fresh, dry finish.
In short, this wine is a luscious stunner. Pair it confidently with fish, shellfish and white meats, especially any of those sautéed in the piccata style with lemon, butter, parsley and capers.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.