As summer starts to wind down and transition to autumn I've noticed myself drinking fewer lean Loire whites and more ripe white Burgundy. The Henri Delagrange is a fantastic example.
The Domaine Henri Delagrange is an old sixth generation family domaine in Burgundys Cote d'Or. The current wine maker, Didier, took over from his father back in 2003 at the same time I was embarking on my career in the wine business. At this point I've been drinking and enjoying Didier's wines for 10 years and I'm consistently impressed. The refinement, elegance, and friendliness of the wines is always a joy. When Didier first joined his father at Domaine Delagrange they only had about 14 acres of vines. Since then Didier and his father planted vines in the Haute Cotes de Beaunes appellation and also acquired some small parcels in Mersault and additional land in Volnay where they winery is located.
Didier's Haute Cotes de Beaunes Blanc is so reminiscent of his Mersault. It has the same focus and balance, just with a bit less depth and and a little less demanding. In some situations that more easy going nature of the wine would lead me to choose it over it's more powerful sibling.
Aroma: One of my most common utterances: It's complicated. The Henri Delagrange Hautes Cotes de Beaune Chardonnay has aromas of both fresh fruit and also savory cooked food. At the same time I smell browned butter, fresh lemon, a hint of cinnamon, freshly picked parsley, the burnt sugar of creme brulee. With my eyes closed I can't tell if I'm in a bakery or an orchard! It's just the combination that I want for this transitional season.
Palate: Right up front I get fresh lively fruit first that's a combo of apple and citrus zest with tasty minerality and acidity. Then the mid palate evolves into a richer tropical pineappley fruit before the finish turns more round, creamy, and toasty. Didier Delagrange's Haute Cotes de Beaune blanc is a gorgeous Chardonnay that will remind you why Chardonnay is the most widely planted grape in the world, but also weep for how little is this good and compelling.
Delagrange Haute Cotes de Beaune Blanc is available for just over $20 at the Rosemont in Yarmouth and Vic and Whit's in Saco.