Luc Cholot Pays d'Oc Chardonnay 20

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In 2013, Luc Pirlet and Christopher Cholot formed an unusual and unlikely partnership. The older Luc is a successful and well-regarded producer in the Languedoc. His everyday wines are considered benchmarks of the region. Christopher, younger by close to thirty years, is a marketing guy with an insatiable passion for wine. The idea was to bring Luc's wines into the American market, targeting bottle shops and fine restaurants. Happily for us, this joint venture has enjoyed tremendous success.

Luc Chalot wines are produced with grapes grown in select vineyards located between Limoux and Narbonne. Here the rolling foothills of the Pyrénées Mountains provide a vast diversity of soil and microclimate that leads to a remarkable amount of nuance for such inexpensive wines. Vineyards in lower elevation areas enjoy the mild Mediterranean climate, yielding wonderfully approachable, generous wines. Higher elevation vineyards feature a coastal influence, and the Atlantic winds steer the harvest towards depth and intensity.

During harvest, grapes are picked early in the cool mornings to avoid oxidation and minimize the use of sulfites. Grapes are immediately and gently pressed before low-temperature fermentation in refrigerated containers. From bud-break to bottling, the same commitment to quality continues through the entire process.

The Luc Cholot Chardonnay is also a textbook example of the bang for the buck when it comes to the Languedoc. Drop this wine into a more heralded region, and you could easily add five or ten bucks to the price tag. Like their Sauvignon Blanc, there's a lovely richness and roundness to this Chardonnay. After fermentation, the wine is briefly aged in well-used and neutral barrels, providing a gorgeous texture and mouth-feel. This gentle kiss of oak is a lovely enhancement that perfectly marries the wine's yellow apple, hazelnut, and citrus notes. Pair this with grilled poultry, grilled fish, and white pasta dishes.

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