Maison Chanterêves' Electric 2019s

5/17/21 -

I have been looking forward to the arrival of the 2019 Burgundy vintage. The best wines in 2018 were produced by growers who kept careful watch on rising sugars and falling acids and picked early enough to maintain balance without making wines that toppled over. In 2019, it seems there were no such concerns. Over the course of many Zoom calls with growers this past year that replaced visiting them in their cellars, there were always discussions of the merits of recent vintages. 2019 often provoked excitement, in particular the combination of intense fruit concentration and high levels of acidity. While the intense dry heat led to small berries and concentrated fruit, the pHs are bafflingly low. Growers have said that they cannot remember the last time they have seen such a juxtaposition.

In this context, I'm doubly excited to offer up some wines from the estimable Maison Chanterêves. Launched in 2010 by the husband-and-wife team of Guillaume Bott and Tomoko Kuriyama, Chanterêves has always produced wines that emphasize energy and drinkability over power. Bott had made his bones as the chef de cave of the legendary Domaine Simon Bize, while Kuriyama cut her teeth at Friedrich Altenberg in the Rheingau.

Their cumulative experience is keenly felt in the wines. The reds are intensely aromatic (usually fermented 100% whole bunch) and juicy, gently foot-trod and only occasionally pumped over. The mechanics are reflective of a winemaking sensibility that is referred to as infusion, differentiating from the more worked wines common a generation ago. The whites are focused and racy, even bracing in their crispness. Guillaume and Tomoko are using little (if any) new oak for aging at this point and the sulfur levels are extremely minimal. The overall feeling is wines that can be drunk young or tucked away in the cellar and be equally satisfying in both cases.

The wines that I have tasted so far this year have all reflected these opposing extremes to great effect. While I have not yet had the chance to taste the full lineup on offer here today, those I have tried really got my engine going. The quantities available today are limited (the dry conditions in '19 resulted in low yields), so act quickly. We hope you enjoy these exceptional wines!

Sam Ehrlich

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