Florence Wine and Food 2023 Wine Sip and Savor Reserve (Part 2)

Sip and Savor Reserve – Wine Teaser #2

As I stated in the introduction for the first teaser wine, the Florence Wine and food fest is only a few weeks away. In this short series of content pieces, we are unveiling a few of the Wine Stroll Reserve area wines. If you regrettably missed the first wine, you can find it here. The type “A” personality in me implores you to read the pieces in order. If the anarchist in you is still reading despite my plea, then so be it. Enjoy the unveiling in the order you wish.

The second mystery wine hails from the popular French appellation of Burgundy. Although many associate this region with Pinot Noir, the other main grape of this area is Chardonnay. Before the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) club members display their angst, this is not that heavy, high alcohol, over-oaked butter-bomb that so many domestic producers filled our shelves with in the late 20th Century. White Burgundy is sexy and displays so many different personality types, depending on where in the region those grapes are grown. You may hear people describe a wine as expressing “terroir” (or sense of place). These wines are some of the best examples of this phenomenon.

Our wine, the 2020 Chevalier de la Crée Knights Templar Cuvée Premier Cru, hails from within the Côte Chalonnaise area of Burgundy. Located between Côte de Beaune in the north and Mâconnais to the south, the Chalonnaise is a picturesque landscape of rolling hills with scattered vineyards amongst pasture and woods. Montagny is one of five communes located within the Chalonnaise and their Chardonnay-dominant production enjoys a multitude of premier cru classified vineyards. One such vineyard, Les Vignes Longues, is located in the limestone rich soils to the north and where a predominant source of fruit for our wine grows.

The Château de la Crée estate in Santenay, Burgundy dates back to 1431, when it was established by Nicolas Rolin, a leading figure in the history of Burgundy. He held the powerful position of chancellor to Philippe the Good (The Duke of Burgundy) and, along with his wife, founded the Hospices de Beaune (1443). Rolin was also one of the participants in drafting the 1435 Treaty of Arras, giving Burgundy independence from the English in the Hundred Years’ War.

Ken and Grace Evenstad, Founders of Domaine Serene Winery purchased Château de la Crée, in 2015.  Now with production in both Burgundy and in Oregon, the Evanstads may have captured a piece of the best old and new world Pinot Noir and Chardonnay regions in the world. As an added nugget of interest, Domane Serene is a featured producer during the festival and will have their wines paired with each course during the “Final Pour and Feast”.  You may want to go buy that ticket now.

The Knights Templar Cuveé name pays homage to these knights that, after returning from the crusades in the 12th Century, established vineyards in areas of Burgundy. This 100% Chardonnay has a complex nose of orchard fruit (apple, pear, white peach), citrus (lime / lemon) and some floral (honeysuckle) with a slight toast note reminiscent of baked Meyer lemon tart. The palate is dry with a nervy linear acid that balances the full, lush, creamy body. The flavors mirror the nose but lean more towards tangerine, apricot and peach. With the 10 -12 months of French oak aging one can taste and imagine freshly toasted bread with a citrus and apricot marmalade on it. The finish lingers with the fruit and toasted nut nuance wrapping itself around the structured acid core. Pair this wine with lobster mac and cheese, pan seared salmon or quiche.