Someone once made an unflattering comparison between Chardonnay and a part of one’s anatomy best left unmentioned, saying, “everyone’s got one, no one wants to hear about yours.” Sadly Chardonnay is a victim of its own success and frequently a punch line despite being one of the most highly esteemed wines in its guise of Grand Cru Chablis or Montrachet. We are not claiming that Novellum is like these auspicious wines but we will argue that for its price you can hardly find better. For many years we worked with a cooperative in the Languedoc to make Novellum from a special site that in most years had some botrytis, giving the wine weight without resorting to oak. Since that time we’ve moved the project to the Roussillon where Jean-Marc and Eliane Lafage have some Chardonnay planted near the Mediterranean that makes a remarkably complex and mineral version of the variety. There is no botrytis here so we resort to aging a small percentage in barrel – usually less than 30%. The remainder of the wine is aged in tank on the lees of Viognier. It remains one of the best values in Chardonnay that you can find.
Chardonnay shows up in some remarkable places but few as breathtaking as the Roussillon where the Pyrenees meet the Mediterranean. From vineyards just a stone’s throw from the beach and within view of the historic Mont Canigou, Eric Solomon and Jean-Marc Lafage have created Novellum, a refined, aromatic and elegant Chardonnay that is aged in tank and neutral French barrels.