2015 Domaine des Accoles Vin de Pays des Coteaux de l’Ardèche Chardonnay ‘Les 4 Faisses’
Region: Coteaux de l’ Ardèche < France
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming, using some biodynamic practices; terraced vineyards, clay and limestone soils surrounded by forest; 50-100% whole cluster fermented, aged in neutral oak barrels; 12.5% ABV; 167 cases (and only 15 imported to the US!)
Winemaker: Olivier Leriche
Chardonnay is often called ‘the winemaker’s grape’ because it can handle all kinds of manipulation – new French oak, crazy industrial yeast, added sugar (yes this happens – all the time!) But what are the true markings of Chardonnay? Many would point you to its ancestral home, Burgundy, France, as a reference point. We don’t disagree, but with the changing weather patterns and rise in prestige of the region, you’re getting hotter wines and higher prices here. Which is why we were thrilled to discover Domaine de Accoles, which is sort of like getting OG Burgundy in the Ardeche (near the Rhone). Because it’s the passion project of famed Burgundy winemaker Oliver Leriche, who made wine for one of the most esteemed properties, Domaine l’Arlot, for 12 years, honing his Chard skills and converting the estate to organic farming. Chardonnay in his expert hands truly tastes as it should – fresh, clean, somewhat vinous but also with major hits of green apple and pear, and that tangy acidity that Chardonnay flaunts when grown on limestone.