This week's wine goes by many names. First, it is a white Burgundy, a species of delightfully dry French wines made from chardonnay grapes long in cultivation. So it's a chard but one with a coveted pedigree, one made from grapes grown in southern Burgundy's Maconnais region. On the label it is identified first as a Macon-Villages and secondarily as the product of Cave de Lugny. You'll have to read the fine print on the back label to discover that the wine we tasted is a 2010. This lovely wine goes for about $10 to $12 at wine-savvy markets and some wine shops, making it a bargain.
On the nose this chard offers light ripe pear. Pear dominates on the tongue, too, but in a slightly tart and very bright form with citrus highlights. The minerality we expect in a good white Burgundy is here, persisting from first sip through mid palate to a long, eminently palate-cleansing finish.
Because this is a wine of character, it makes both a perfect aperitif or sundowner and a fine companion to foods as diverse as French-style spareribs in a tangy mustard glaze or a classic Margherita pizza. It will play nicely with mild soft-ripened cheeses, too.
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.