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2002 Manciat-Poncet Chardonnay, Macon-Charnay (Burgundy), France

Claude Manciat and his wife Simone Poncet are regular features of the landscape in the section of Burgundy known as the Maconnais. This region has been producing Europe's classic Chardonnays for decades, and so have Claude and his wife. Growers since the 1950's they began bottling their own wines in 1979, and have changed little since then. They maintain strict quality standards which include all hand harvesting and whole cluster pressing, among other things. Both of which are increasingly rare in the Maconnais.

Domaine Manciat-Poncet (which also has a presence in Pouilly-Fuissé)is located near the small village of Charnay. Wines from this area can be sold either as Macon-Villages or Macon-Charnay, as is the case with this wine. Claude makes two wines with the Macon-Charnay designation, so be careful when buying -- one is this un-oaked wine, and the other is a wine with the nickname "Les Chenes" that sees some oak and will have a totally different character.

Both of these wines are imported by one of my favorites, Robert Kacher Selections, out of Washington, D.C.

Tasting Notes:
Lightly straw colored in the glass this wine has a crisp nose of chalky minerals and wet slate, with hints of lychee and unripe pears. On the tongue is is perky and bright with great acidity and flavors of lemon zest, grapefruit, and a clean finish that brings back some of the wet stone elements of the nose as well as, I kid you not, skim milk. Uncomplicated (i.e. could be more complex) but delicious.

Food Pairing:
This was the perfect accompaniment to the meal I ordered it with: sandwiches of soft shell crab on sourdough with a spicy aioli sauce. This is a great fish wine.

Overall Score: 8

How Much?: $13

This wine is fairly easy to come by with a little searching online. Try A HREF="http://www.froogle.com">Froogle.

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