Les Matheny Arbois Chardonnay ‘Les Matheny’ 2016
Quite a few parcels comprise Les Matheny’s Chardonnay, and Emeric vinifies each one separately, deciding on the final blend only after each individual wine develops its personality with time in barrel—in this case, well-worn 600-liter tonneaux. Produced from vines averaging 45 years of age, the 2013 soars from the glass, a storm of ripe green apples, freshly blasted quarry, and musky honey. The palate is both firm and expansive, with a generous pinch of telltale Jurassic salt lengthening the complex, penetrating flavors of greengage and candied lemon. Emeric’s “partial sous-voile” approach shows in the wine’s gently oxidative edge—one that bows to the veil without making a virtue of it—and for such a bold and assertive wine to remain so straightforwardly delicious is a difficult balancing act to pull off. This was the wine with which Emeric and Elise opened our tasting, and it made for a formidable first impression.