The wine journalist and award winning writer Matthew Jukes dropped in for some lunch at Decorum HQ. Four Chardonnays were poured, discover his tasting notes!
Scores for fruit, minerality, acidity and palate weight with 1 being the lowest end of the spectrum and 10 being the highest.
Langhe, Chardonnay, Tenuta Rocca, 2019
Fruit 4; Minerality 5; Acidity 5; Palate Weight 3
There is pristine freshness and purity here with skinny, water-white, ravishingly nervy fruit underpinned by mountain stream freshness and stony minerality. The fruit has faint pineapple chunk freshness and this glorious package of attributes make this edgy wine and incredible and, perhaps, unexpected given its origins, aperitif white.
17/20 (Drink now – 2021)
Petit Chablis, Thierry Laffay, 2018
Fruit 5; Minerality 8; Acidity 7; Palate Weight 4
Goodness me this is as authentic and mineral-drenched as any Chablis I have tasted in a long while. I have long been a Laffay fan but I haven’t seen a wine as dramatic as this before. Super-dry, lean and raspy, this is the definition of a classic Chablis and it is a rare example which manages to kick so successfully against the irrepressible specter of climate change. Warmer growing seasons appear to be transforming the famous wines from this region into more luscious Chardonnays than they have ever been and ‘luscious’ is not a descriptor I like using when describing the wines from this hallowed region. The finish on this thrilling PC is sensational, packed with high tensile fruit and I cannot recommend it enough, not least because the value afforded here is astounding.
17.5+/20 (Drink now – 2023)
2017 Meursault, En l’Ormeau, 20 Mois, Boyer-Martenot
Fruit 7; Minerality 6; Acidity 6; Palate Weight 6
Vincent Boyer-Martenot changed his white wine élévage regime from 100% oak to 50% oak and 50% concrete egg in 2017 and, following this trial, he has moved to 100% concrete eggs in 2018. This brave move has focused our attention on the calibre of his fruit like never before. There is nowhere to hide when you mature your wines in an inert vessel and you will not be surprised to hear that these are the finest Chardonnays that I have tasted from this famous estate. Super-fine, mineral-soaked and ever so pretty on the nose, the wildflower and pear skin notes are hypnotic and the accompanying texture is genuinely ethereal and haunting. This is a juicy wine, but it is also controlled and refreshing and the finesse and beauty on the finish is unmistakable. Already drinking, this wine is a triumph of balance, pitting the crisp 2017 acidity against shimmeringly attractive, glassy Chardonnay fruit.
18+/20 (Drink now – 2025)
Puligny-Montrachet, Les Reucheaux, Boyer-Martenot, 2017
Fruit 8; Minerality 6; Acidity 6; Palate Weight 7
With more tension and drive than the seamless Meursault above, this rare lieu dit is on exemplary form in 2017 and Boyer-Martenot’s move to concrete eggs has given it unimaginable dynamism and élan. Like the Meursault above, the value here is extraordinary, because this a Puligny Premier Cru flavour with an exceedingly keen price (I cannot think of any Puligny close to this rapport qualité / prix). Sour, stern, linear and grand, this is one of the most memorable wines of 2020 and to think it costs a few quid less than a bottle of vintage Clicquot! This truly underlines the point that Decorum is one of the finest outfits in the land at finding wines that defy modern-day fiscal logic. My overriding theme was, of course, the absence of carpentry and when one tempers this flavour in well-situated Chardonnay the fruit is allowed to sing of its cleansing acidity, firm minerality and pure fruit. I hope that you decide to buy all four of these arresting wines from the newly minted Decorum website because when you can appreciate the near-naked form of this awesome grape you never want to taste a fully upholstered version again!
18.5+/20 (Drink 2021 – 2025)