From time to time, wines that we bring in to Ireland crop up in the pages of Decanter, the English wine magazine, and it's always interesting to see what that very well respected periodical has to say about them.
I tend to avoid sharing with you every last medal and award that our wines achieve, because these are seldom as meaningful here as in the awarding countries, but sometimes it's useful to point out that one of our choices - especially a wine that's not as popular as we'd wish - has wider approval than that found in this office.
I have in mind the Mâcon-Villages wines of Dominique Cornin. They are all Chardonnays, but on the whole more rounded and softer than the wines of Chablis further north. Now, you often can't sell people 'Chardonnay' these days, but they like the sound (though not the price) of 'white Burgundy', and of course 'Chablis' is a winner, assuming it's not someone's name.
In the Irish context, the only Mâcon-Villages that sells well, I think, is Mâcon-Lugny. I'm not sure why; it just is.
So, poor Dominique Cornin, whose land is in Mâcon-Chânes and Mâcon-Chaintré (and Beaujolais Blanc). There he is, a prince of Chardonnay, producing all this great, likeable wine, and only the trusting or open-minded buy it from us. We can sell his Pouilly-Fuissé, sometimes, because people have heard of that (or is it Pouilly-Fumé, I forget...) and it's expensive enough for tigerish appetites.
Anyway, this month's Decanter tried 168 bottles, and in support of the panel's observation that these are mostly simple, uncomplicated, wines, awarded the majority of these, 99, with the 'recommended' rating: three stars out of five. Just fourteen made the grade above, and only four wines were given five stars.
Our Mâcon-Chânes earned 16/20, and the following review, with its three stars:
Restrained nose, hints of fruit and flowers. Delicate. Composed, bright with a rewarding steely note, elegant, long. Light.
Sounds good to me. The Macon-Chaintré didn't fare so well, with 14/20 and only two stars, but the last bottle I tried was unmistakably better than that.
You can make up your own minds, anyway.