It was on a 1988 trip to Burgundy that John Kongsgaard learned that Chardonnays from the region he most admired were fermented and aged a full 22 months in barrel. At Coche-Dury and Domaine des Comtes Lafon, in Meursault, the wines took a year to finish fermentation, with malolactic fermentation sometimes taking place before the primary fermentation. The technique seemed counterintuitive to a winemaker from California, where most Chardonnays were out of barrel within 12 months and any malolactic followed primary fermentation. When a Chardonnay spends extended time in barrel it develops myriad secondary flavors. Wine Spectator's James Laube explains.
For the full article, check out the new issue of Wine Spectator, on newsstands July 1, 2014.
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