Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

Bret Brothers happen

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Besides making wine from their organically farmed La Soufrandière vineyards, the brothers Bret run a négociant business that sees them buying grapes, which they harvest themselves, and making wines sold under the Bret Brothers label.

Mâcon-Chardonnay 2011, Bret Brothers ($27.20, 11900098)
The Chardonnay in the name refers not to the grape but to the village after which the variety was named (AOC regulationas also allow red and rosé Mâcon-Chardonnay to be made from Gamay and Pinot Noir). This, however, is 100% Chardonnay from 30-year-old vines rooted in limey clay soil. Manually harvested, whole-bunch pressed, fermented with indigenous yeasts. Fermentation and maturation last 11 months and take place in stainless steel tanks (90%) and 228-litre oak barrels (10%). 12.5% ABV.
Exactly what you expect from a Mâcon. Soft nose of yellow fruit with hints of flowers, dried hay, spice and chalk. Round and mouthfilling, not bone dry. The clean fruit is pooled on a chalky substrate. Decent finish. A little more acidity would brighten the picture and cut the fat. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Pouilly-Fuissé 2011, Terres de Fuissé, Bret Brothers ($39.25, 10788882)
100% Chardonnay. A blend of grapes from two plots, one 70 years old (limey soil) and the other 40 (shallow, pebbly soil). Manually havested, whole-bunch pressed, fermented with indigenous yeasts. Fermentation and maturation last 11 months and take place in 228-litre oak barrels. 12.5% ABV.
Less outgoing nose. The fruit, which is whiter, is on equal footing with ashy oak and minerals and if there’s a hint of anything it’s acacia blossom. In the mouth, the wine is more intense in every way: tighter, tauter, tenser and all the better for it. While far from integrated, the oak doesn’t mask. The fruit is as present as the Mâcon’s but leaner, drier, more faceted. The minerals are more crystalline while the acidity borders on racy. Your interest is sustained through the long finish.  Ideally this should be cellared for a year or two. (Buy again? Yes, despite a price that seems about $5 too high.)

When my samples were poured, the bottles had been open the better part of a day. The pourer, who’d tasted them on opening but not after, said the Mâcon-Chardonnay had struck him as a good buy while he wasn’t convinced the Pouilly-Fuissé was worth the extra outlay – the exact opposite of my conclusion. Make of that what you will.

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Written by carswell

June 6, 2013 at 18:24

Posted in Tasting notes

Tagged with ,

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