We have held many blind tastings where almost all the bottles are outstanding, making the results difficult to rank, but this one clearly stood out as being full of delicious, vibrant, and refined wines. None were duds. There was a clear winner at the end (and a tie for third place), but all of them deserved plenty of praise, and each was distinct from the others. In fact, we decided on a specific food pairing for each bottle.
While our winner turned out to be the most expensive of the night, there was a great deal of value to go around, with many of the bottles costing in the $20 range. All were from relatively recent vintages.
Chelsea was on hand again to number the bottles and help with the reveal.
Photography was a combination of Andy, Ali, David this time.
First Place: Forces Telluriques Viré-Clessé 2020. Tasters found bright, fresh scents of lemons, crushed rock, green apple, yellow apple, white flowers, river rock, aloe, and geranium. Inviting and elegant. Ali felt that it was "like late September." More green apple notes on the palate, plus honey and ripe Asian pear. Youthful, with plenty of acidity. Feels really silky and harmonious. David loved this one, calling it both "delicious" and "gorgeous." Jamie was reminded of a "silky, flowery and beautiful 1930s gown." Would pair well with scallops. David, Kristin, Josephine, and Ali's favorite of the night. Received 30 total points. Jamie's bottle. About $43.
Second Place: Domaine Curveux Pouilly-Fuissé 1er Cru Les Vignes Blanches 2020. Ripe nose, featuring scents of yellow apple, white mushroom, fresh herbs, twigs, chalkboard, nutmeg, and toasted marshmallow. There was something a little dark and more mysterious to this one. Kristin noted that it was, "like a light whiff of Waterfire." Felt heavier in mouthfeel compared to the rest. Creamy and palate-coating, with flavors of white peaches, citrus, cloves, dulce de leche, and a salty minerality. Plenty of structure. Jamie found "a tiny bit of Bazooka gum in a very good way", while David noted "a little bit of Meyer lemon on the finish." Delicious. We decided that lobster would be a great pairing. Andy's favorite wine. 17 points. Kristin's bottle. About $22.
Third Place (tie): Domaine de la Verpaille Mâcon-Villages Vieilles Vignes 2021. Dark and brooding nose, like being deep in the woods of a pine forest. Josephine felt that "this is like me in a glass", and found oakmoss scents. Andy had an image of being in the woods and "you have a bow and arrow in your back." Tasted more like a northern Burgundy, being dark and intense, having mushroomy, bark, and toasty marshmallow qualities. We found notions of rushing water, fig leaf, and vanilla. Intriguing. Mushroom risotto was the suggested pairing. Made with organic grapes. 10 points. Andy's bottle. About $22
Third Place (tie): Domaine Daniel Pollier Saint-Véran En Messie 2021. A nose of smoldering incense, flint, iron, and orange marmalade. Ali was reminded of a "mousse-y kind of pâté." Juicier in the mouth, like an overripe peach, along with red apples, Jolly Rancher, Juicy Fruit gum, lemons, and mango. Plenty of acidity, and that saline quality on the finish. Kristin noted that it was "fruity but with a grounding element." Would pair well with spicy food. Jamie's favorite. 10 points. Ali's bottle. About $22
Domaine Thibert Saint-Véran Champ Rond 2019. Bright nose, reminiscent of limes, lemon méringue, wet wool, and white flowers. Pretty. Fresh, bright citrus flavors, plus white flowers, slightly green strawberries, and a little bit of gooseberry. Not super-complex, but the flavors have good intensity, and ends with a pleasant bitterness. Pair with oysters. 9 points. David's bottle. About $28.
Château Vitallis Pouilly-Fuissé Les Vignes du Château 2021. Tasters found the nose to be a little musty, like old paper, but also having notions of orange peel and bergamot oil. Jamie noted that it "feels serious", while Josephine found it "a little sweaty", and Andy detected "overdue library book." A gaminess on the palate and notions of citrus oil reminded Ali of duck a l'orange. Richer, with flavors of red apples. Palate-coating, it tasted like it had been rested on the lees for a while. Would pair well with a roasted chicken. 8 points. Josephine's bottle. About $32