Black Chalk Paragon 2020

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Made from Burgundy clone Chardonnay, this is Black Chalk’s first Blanc de Blancs, and boy does it make an impression. The wine was made without fining or Malolactic Fermentation, and 46% was fermented in a new Tonnellerie Rousseau oak cask. The wine spent 26 months on the lees and was disgorged in July 2023.

This wine is quite extraordinary, its nose complex and lifted, with struck match and nuttiness that gives off fine Burgundy vibes to me. The fruit is bright and fresh, with green apple, lemon and floral notes, underpinned by a pronounced, but not overwhelming oak spice. I also get a hint of tangerine or orange zest, which I usually only find in the very ripest still English Chardonnay.

The palate is gorgeous and precise, but gushing with ripeness and exuberance. With green and red apple flavours, this is super ripe and supported by pear and light stone fruit flavours. The mousse is supple and soft, whilst the fruit continues to weave between tingling mineral and salinity and superbly integrated nutty oaky textures.

This has all the precision you would expect from a non-Malo expression but without the occasional greenness of the resulting acidity. It’s remarkably sleek and slender but still has that signature Hampshire raciness, and the influence of impeccably fragrant and nuanced oak.

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