Wine of the week: an enchanting chardonnay from Belgium
Delicate, haunting and packed with vitality and verve, this Belgian chardonnay is a rare beauty.
2019 Château de Bousval, Gouttes d’O Chardonnay, Bousval, Jardins de Wallonie, Belgium
£34, reduced to £30.25 each by the case, Haynes Hanson & Clark, 020-7584 7927, hhandc.co.uk
Early one evening, just before Christmas, the doorbell rang and a voice shouted out “wine delivery”. This is nothing new – it happens ten times a day – but I thought I recognised the voice. The cycle courier turned out to be none other than Jim Eustace, MD and fine-wine guru at Haynes Hanson & Clark. Soaking wet, but grinning from ear to ear, he was clutching two bottles of white each with a dribble of wine left inside. He handed them over and then sped off, shouting, “Happy Tasting, they are from Belgium!”.
Until that evening, I had never tasted Belgian wine. After a quick search on the internet, I found that Château de Bousval is situated only a few miles south of Waterloo, where I spent a few years at school when I was a child. This wine is a biodynamically farmed, pin-sharp, pristine chardonnay, and it is absolutely enchanting! Delicate, haunting, packed with vitality and verve, and only tipping the scales at 12% alcohol, this is a rare beauty and it even manages to hide a whisper of oak in its core, too. This is effortlessly classy winemaking from an unexpected postcode and so when the stock arrived in the UK last week I had to sing about it.
While you are at it, pick up its sibling, 2019 Le Petit Gris Pinot Gris (£40.95 a bottle/£36.40 each by the case), which takes this oft-dreary grape to a fascinating destination. What a pair, what a find!
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com)