Posted: 20 Jun 2011 10:45 AM PDT
The Best Chardonnay In The World? How on earth do you choose?
Ask 100 amateur wine lovers and you'll probably get 100 different opinions, so for once it might not be a bad idea to rely on the professionals.
You may not know this but there is in fact a competition held in France every year to decide this very question: the Chardonnay du Monde competition.
Each year they award bronze medals, silver medals and of course gold medals, just like at The Decanter awards or the IWC awards or any other. But at Chardonnay du Monde there's something else a little special. Actually that's a bit of an under-statement. In fact this prize is so exceptional that in the 18 year history of the competition it has been awarded only twice.
Champagne may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of great chardonnay wine. You might assume it would be a great white Burgundy for example, but Claude Mandois, current head of Champagne Mandois, is convinced that the further north you go, the more Chardonnay shows it's real quality: lots of depth and a wonderful minerality that only shines out in northerly vineyards such as Chablis and Champagne.
The 2004 vintage is all gone now and it's been succeeded by an equally gorgeous vintage 2005 which is certainly worth discovering. For that matter the entire Mandois range offers excellent quality and value.
Mandois is in the village of Pierry, just outside Epernay and if you pop along during your next visit to Champagne, and ask very nicely, who knows? They might just find one more bottle of the 2004 for you to try
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