Domaine de Roally Viré-Clessé 2017 Mâconnais
Profile: Tasting Henri Goyard's Mâcon-Viré for the first time, in 1987, was a true revelation. We were stunned: the local coops' wines were correct at best, the handful of estate-made Mâcons we had tasted, a notch superior, and the barrel-fermented Chardonnays from the Côte d'Or had not prepared us for this experience. This wine was rich, lush, intensely fruity and fat, with marvelous weight and length. It was powerful, yet fresh and lively, and its aromas of buttery, roasted nuts lingered on.
100% Chardonnay and while delicious in its youth, it also ages gracefully, acquiring more intense roasted notes, and sometimes, the deeply mineral character often associated with Riesling, rather than Chardonnay.
Domaine de Roally is a newer but no less important part of the Thévenet estate, separate though it is from the original home estate of Bongran; both bottle Viré-Clessé AOC wines. The proprietor of Domaine de Roally was Henri Goyard, an old schoolmate of Jean Thévenet's and a similarly minded vigneron. When Henri decided to retire after the 2000 vintage, Jean's son Gautier took over his 4 hectares of Chardonnay vines on classic clay-limestone soils. They always were and are still farmed organically and harvested by hand.
As with the Bongran wine, the fermentation of the Roally takes place in old epoxy tanks with indigenous yeasts and is extremely slow, going well into the spring/summer following the harvest and finishing with a few grams of residual sugar; malolactic fermentation generally occurs during the alcoholic fermentation. Roally is aged further in tank and in bottle and is released two years after the vintage, in other words much sooner than the Bongran. There is no oak used for either wine.