Fresh, saline, with developed faint nutty tones and hints of golden orchard fruit. 

The value hunt in Chablis is still very strong, but turning to smaller appellations just outside the region has lead to a treasure trove of gems. And, the value continues to be the greatest attribute of these small family-run domaines that tirelessly work to harvest the most pristine fruit yielded from fastidious vineyard work. A 2012 visit with the Montanet family put these crisp and complex Chardonnays on my radar.

Of the eleven wines produced at Cadette, La Châtelaine has always been tops for me, standing out for its racy, crushed oyster shell notes with a forward fruit profile. While nearby Chablis is primarily based on Kimmeridgian limestone, in Vezelay there's a shift to a range of blue, gray, and red clay here, with some parcels on just pure limestone. It's this amalgamation of soil that lends a complexity to Châtelaine, giving so much texture underneath the citrus and green apple primary fruit.

Starting in 1990, Jean and Catherine Montanet vinified their first vintage under the tutelage of Bernard Raveneau, who later introduced the couple to importer Kermit Lynch. It wasn't until 1997 until the Vezelay appellation was officially recognized by the INAO, and two years later the couple began to farm in organics. Among the deep list of esteemed domaines imported by Kermit Lynch, Cadette has always been a secret source for terrific white Burgundy value.

A few must haves

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