- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Laboure-Roi, Pouilly-Fuisse “Vallon d’Or,” 2003, $18

Laboure-Roi is a large producer in Burgundy known for good but rarely exhilarating wines. This Pouilly-Fuisse, however, tastes truly thrilling. It exhibits all the qualities that make white Burgundy the world’s

finest expression of the chardonnay grape. As an added bonus, it comes at a bargain price.

As a grape variety, chardonnay has fairly neutral flavors. Wines made from it thus need to taste of more than just fruit. They often reflect the winemaking, most notably a vintner’s use of oak barrels, but they also can reflect the vineyard or region.

When white Burgundy succeeds, that’s what it inevitably does. Good examples display a stony, mineral-tinged, sometimes nutty or honeyed component that proves extremely enticing.

Multilayered and seamless, this wine offers rich, complex flavors and beautiful balance. Although fairly rich, it has a crisp character that should allow it to age gracefully for at least five more years.

In my experience, many more-expensive Burgundies from the heat-scorched 2003 vintage taste heavy and lack harmony. This value-priced one gets everything just right. Kudos to Laboure-Roi. (Imported by Palm Bay.)

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