Arnoux Père et Fils, Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune “Les Perrières”
Arnoux Père et Fils, Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune “Les Perrières”

Arnoux Père et Fils, Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune “Les Perrières”

Burgundy, France 2017 (750mL)
Regular price$37.00

Arnoux Père et Fils, Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune “Les Perrières”

Those with an insatiable thirst for the taste of limestone minerality in their Chardonnay (and I’m one of them) know the virtual secret handshake that is “Les Perrières.” This term dates to very old dialects of French and it means, simply, “stones.” In Burgundy, the name is usually reserved for the rockiest, stoniest, most limestone-laden plots—where incredibly valuable vines send their roots deep through the cracks in the rock to find water.

Attach perrières to Puligny-Montrachet or Meursault and we’re talking about wines that are the tiniest notch below the most famous Grand Crus, and they can command similar prices. But there is a hidden perrières from less rarefied earth, and we found it. Domaine Arnoux’s Bourgogne “Les Perrières” 2017 is a near mirror image of its triple-digit-priced cousins in Puligny. It’s a truly unbeatable value in today’s pricey white Burgundy market: Do not let it pass you by!

Vineyards along the famous Côte d’Or are a combination of clay and limestone soils; the specific percentages of each help determine the unique terroir of any given parcel. In a nutshell, more clay equals more richness, more limestone equals more minerality and freshness. That’s why vineyards given the name perrières have such acclaim. Pascal Arnoux’s iteration of this terroir happens to lie a few miles up the canyon from the famous addresses, on a plateau with an altitude of about 350 meters. The entire area is covered by the “humble” appellation of Hauts-Côte de Beaune, which historically was known for rustic wines that would struggle to fully ripen in this cooler climate. But times are changing! Warmer summers, along with renewed focus and increased quality of farming and winemaking, have all combined to make this region a prime source for hidden Burgundy gems.

Domaine Arnoux Père et Fils has been quietly producing traditional wines in the village of Chorey-les-Beaune since the 19th century. Pascal took the helm in 1990 and, though his basic philosophy is little changed from his predecessors, he has made a few important changes, including farming sustainably with organic practices and cleaning up the cellar. For his “Les Perrières,” he ages the wine for 10 months on its fine lees in steel tanks before bottling. The lack of oak allows the pronounced salinity and wet rock minerality to shine in pure, unadulterated fashion. It is also the only tiny clue that this finely balanced beauty is not sourced from vineyards much closer to Montrachet.

2017 is a sneakily good vintage throughout Burgundy, and it was especially successful for Chardonnay. The wines were generally ready to go on release, but at five years old they’re now really starting to shine. Does a Bourgogne Blanc need that much time to blossom? Generally no, but it is testament to the exceptional quality of Arnoux’s “Les Perrières” that this wine is just now entering its peak drinking window. That said, it still benefits from a brief 20-30 minute decant, after which classic aromas of citrus blossom, crisp apple, honeysuckle, and hazelnut all begin to unfold. Enjoy it at about 45 degrees in a nice Burgundy bowl and the pedigree becomes crystal clear, with a near-perfect balance of orchard fruit, lemon zest, oyster shell, and a very long, mineral laden finish. I love it with all kinds of summer seafood, but it really shines with grilled scallop kabobs over creamy polenta. Oh, and lest we forget, it’s a downright steal at $30, so you should grab as much as you can. This is “house” white Burgundy, elevated!

Arnoux Père et Fils, Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune “Les Perrières”

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