We had the pleasure of sharing these two old bottles with our neighbours yesterday over a very long lazy lunch. Chateau Chalon is a beautiful village in the Jura which is famous for it's fabulous 'vins jaunes' made from the Savagnin grape variety. We had the Chateau Chalon 1979 as an aperitif with a few nibbles - sherry-like in aroma and taste it was hazlenutty, yeasty and toasty with a caramelised note and with hints of cinnamon. These wines have amazing staying power with a capacity to age gracefully for decades.
With some home prepared gravadlax we enjoyed a bottle of La Coulée de Serrant 1979. This Chenin Blanc wine from the famous estate of Nicolas Joly was produced before his biodynamic days and was a real surprise. Straw coloured (not amber or golden), it had the appearance of a much younger wine. Honeyed on the nose and with striking aromas of waxy white flowers, fresh as a daisy with a touch of wet wool and a slightly Riesling style note at the end. The palate was soft and creamy with a seam of floral limeyness running through it. Acidity was low - a slight criticism but for a wine of this age it was incredible. We were at the Coulée de Serrant only last week with clients and it was interesting to see how the winemaking style today is clearly quite different. No hints of stewed apple on the 79 that are already evident on the 2010's and no searingly high alcohol either (15.5 on the 2010). That the wine showed no real sign of fading away after more than 30 years is an incredible testament to the staying power of Chenin Blanc. I imagine that levels of sulphur at bottling were relatively high compared with those used today.
Our thanks have to go to our neighbours who kindly shared these bottles with us. Not only do they have troglodyte caves that are more beautiful than ours, they seem to have a more interesting cellar too!!