From: Burgundy, France
Taste: This delicious wine greets the senses with an enticing bouquet of white flowers, fresh lemon zest, and crisp green apple. Upon swirling the glass, the aromas deepen to reveal layers of white peach, nectarine, and a hint of exotic orange peel. As the wine opens up, subtle notes of almond (which will turn toward hazelnut with time), and a touch of cinnamon baking spice become more pronounced, hinting at the complexity that lies beneath the surface.
On the palate, the wine offers an elegant and well-balanced experience, displaying a harmonious interplay between its bright acidity and a refined mineral backbone. The flavors echo the nose, with vibrant citrus and stone fruit notes, and a delicate yet pronounced undercurrent of gunflint minerality. The mouthfeel is smooth and rounded, with a subtle hint of toast adding depth and richness. The finish lingers, leaving a pleasant aftertaste of white nectarine, acacia, and a whisper of baking spice.
Pairing: This versatile Chardonnay pairs exceptionally well with a variety of dishes, ranging from light appetizers to heartier mains. Fresh salads with goat cheese, grilled seafood, and poultry dishes with creamy sauces all make excellent choices to complement the wine's bright acidity and complex flavors.
To showcase the wine's Burgundian origins, consider pairing it with regional specialties such as Comté cheese, Epoisses, or Burgundian snails in garlic and parsley butter. For seafood lovers, try pairing it with a delicate trout meunière or a pike quenelle in a rich cream sauce (or check out the recipe for a Crab Croque Madame below!).
For vegetarian options, the 2021 Terres Secretes Saint-Véran Croix de Montceau pairs beautifully with dishes that highlight earthy or umami flavors. Consider serving it alongside a wild mushroom risotto, a creamy vegetable gratin, or a goat cheese and caramelized onion tart. The wine's acidity and mineral notes also make it a delightful accompaniment to grilled or roasted vegetable dishes, such as eggplant, zucchini, or bell peppers, as well as legume-based stews or casseroles.
By David Tanis
About. The Mâconnais region, located at the southern edge of Burgundy, is known for its picturesque landscapes, rolling hills, and unique terroirs. Among the winemaking cooperatives that call this region home is the Cave des Vignerons des Terres Secrètes, a group of passionate wine growers dedicated to unveiling the secrets of the region's most exceptional plots of land. The 2021 Terres Secretes Saint-Véran Croix de Montceau is a prime example of their dedication to producing superior wines that capture the essence of the Mâconnais terroir.
The Saint-Véran Croix de Montceau is a single-varietal Chardonnay (fun fact: All Saint-Véran wines are made exclusively from the Chardonnay grape variety), cultivated on the clay-limestone slopes of the commune of Prissé at the foot of the Château de Montceau. The vineyard's location near the iconic rocky outcrops of Solutré and Vergisson imbues the wine with its unique character and strength. The grapes are nurtured by the Terres Secrètes wine growers, who prioritize biodiversity and adapt their methods to suit the needs of the land.
To expand: Saint-Véran is an appellation for dry white wines produced in the southern half of the Mâconnais sub-region of Burgundy. The appellation is split into two sections by the vineyards of Pouilly-Fuissé. Both lie in the chain of hills in which the much-photographed Rock of Solutré is situated.
The northern half is home to the communes of Davayé, Prissé and Solutré-Pouilly, the last of which may produce both Pouilly-Fuissé and Saint-Véran wines (the 2021 Terres Secretes Saint-Véran Croix de Montceau is from the north of Saint-Veran).
The southern half comprises the communes of Chânes, Chasselas, Leynes, Saint-Amour and Saint-Vérand (from which the appellation gains its name). The final 'd' of Saint-Vérand was lost due to an administrative error when the appellation laws were being drawn up in 1971.
As the southernmost appellation of Burgundy, Saint-Véran overlaps slightly with the northern edge of Beaujolais. The commune of Saint-Amour, for example, produces white wines labeled as Saint-Véran alongside the fine red Beaujolais Cru wines for which it is more widely known.
The climate in the Saint-Véran catchment area is slightly warmer than in most of Burgundy, due to its southerly location. Spring frosts, which so readily threaten vines in cooler Burgundy appellations like Chablis, are less of a danger here. In a difficult, cold vintage like 2021, this slight advantage of warmth produced a wine (this one in particular) that rivals those from more prestigious appellations like Saint-Aubin or Saint-Romain.
Terroir, specific to this wine: The terroir of the 2021 Terres Secretes Saint-Véran Croix de Montceau plays a crucial role in shaping the taste and flavors of the wine. The vineyard is located on clay-limestone slopes from the Jurassic era in the commune of Prissé at the foot of the Château de Montceau. These soils originate from the slopes not far from the rocky outcrops of Solutré and Vergisson, providing the vines with an ideal environment for growth and mineral uptake.
The clay-limestone soil provides excellent drainage, ensuring the vine does not have "wet feet," while also retaining sufficient moisture for nourishment. These soils are cool with good water retention, allowing the vine's roots to penetrate deeply and access essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphate, potassium, iron, magnesium, and calcium. These nutrients are crucial for the vine's metabolism, photosynthesis, and overall health, ultimately affecting the quality and character of the grapes.
The slightly warmer climate of the Mâconnais region, combined with the unique soil composition, allows the Chardonnay grapes to develop a range of flavors and aromas. As the wine ages, it evolves from floral and stone fruit notes to honeyed, nutty aromas.
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