We did some small encouraging experiments years ago, then more or less forgot about them until relatively recently, at which point we began the carboy ageing project with red Cigare. It wasn't until '09 that it dooned on me that perhaps there were even more interesting things to discover with the white. To refresh everyone's memory, this wine is more or less the same blend as our standard issue Cigare Blanc, apart from the fact that we've allowed it to undergo malolactic fermentation, and at that point, we gave it a light SO2 addition, racked it to glass demijohn (bonbonne), where it reposed for a year and a half, getting anaerobically stirred more or less fortnightly. The wine derives entirely from the Beeswax Vineyard, located at the mouth of the Arroyo Seco.
This is the fourth iteration of Le Cigare Blanc Reserve, and we continue to learn more about the mysteries of elevage in glass demijohn. The Burgundians have long understood the power of a reductive elevage, albeit en barrique typically, that is to say, the presence of a significant percentage of lees in the wine as the wine ages contributes both to a textural richness via yeast autolysis, and the slight reductive funkiness (presumably trace levels of mercaptan) contributing both to the distinctive toasty, hazelnut nose, as well as to a sort of energized zinginess, a kind of recharging of the wine's battery, as it were. Thus, the inspiration of this work with bonbonnes, and the effort to push the distinctiveness of this type of elevage to a new boundary.
With this in mind, one finds in the Cigare Blanc Reserve many of the qualities that one has come to love in white Burgundy"”a lush, creamy texture, a haunting suggestion of the skin of pear (or is it quince?), as well as absolutely formidable length on the palate. The Beeswax Vineyard is well-named as this wine reliably suggests the fragrance of beeswax as a dominant scent; a subtle fragrance of sage or fennel is also quite reliably found in this wine from vintage to vintage.