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Chateau Maltroye Chassagne Montrachet La Dent de Chien 1999

Tasting Note (TN) May 25 2010 - 90 Points out of 100

Basics: This is a white Burgundy, meaning white wine from Burgundy, France. White Burgundies are 100% chardonnay, but have close to zero in common with California and other chardonnays.

It's not the grape that most important - it's where it's grown, or "Terroir" as the French say. White burgundies also age gracefully, some actually needing to age to drink well. This is 12 years old; most 12 year old California chardonnays are dead and not worth drinking!

The Wine: A 1er cru from Chassagne with a reputation for being minerally. La Dent de Chien literally means “Tooth of the Dog” and supposedly the vineyard has sharp jagged rocks that resemble dogs teeth, while neighboring vineyards have gravely soil instead.

Color: Somewhere between light apple cider and a honey yellow

Nose: Minerally and thick, with ripe apple underneath. Almost tinges of honey. Nose became more precise with air, still mainly minerals, graphite, slate. A hair of spearmint emerges after an hour.

Palate: Similar to the nose. Very mineral laden and almost spicy, like spearmint or peppermint. Quite a mouthful. Very big and flavorful. A little apple poking out around the mineral.

After an hour some Burgundian earthy tones emerge, but still more Chablis or Mersault (perhaps Mersault-Genvrieres?) like than Chassagne due to the minerals. No complaints here, just an observation! Nice lemon tone on the backend of the palate after about 90 minutes.

This wine started nice yet a bit clunky and just kept getting better. It’s big; it could use some food and if fact handle substantial food.

A couple of bottles left. This might really shine with cornmeal encrusted fried oysters, or maybe a seafood fettuccine Alfredo with mushrooms. Then again, it’s pretty good itself.