Sitting with friends at San Francisco's Zuni Cafe with a platter of oysters is one of life's great pleasures. It occurs far less frequently than I'd like, but after returning from a vineyard tour in Mendocino yesterday I found myself here before a late flight back home. Zuni's wine list is one of the best in the city, and it's always a challenge to be decisive before the oysters arrive. A friend wasted no time in choosing the perfect pairing of stainless steel Chablis. There may be several trustworthy options in this group, but none would argue that Louis Michel is tops.And no bottling offers greater value than his famous Premier Cru, Montée de Tonnerre - or as it translates, Thunder Mountain.

Montée de Tonnerre, much like Gevrey's Clos Saint Jacques or Chambolle's Les Amoureuses, is really Premier Cru in name only. The south-west facing slope sits next to the 7 Grand Cru vineyards of Chablis along the right bank of the Serein river. In the northernmost region for still Chardonnay this SW exposure is vital to bring ripeness, one that seriously separates the great from the modest in Chablis.

Louis Michel was an innovator in the 1960's, moving away from barrel aging of Chardonnay. The Kimmeridgian limestone soil here was viewed as so unique that stainless steel was the more ideal vessel to fully unmask the terroir. Steely Chablis and oysters can be a great combo, but the old vines of Montée de Tonnerre bring a sense of grandeur that marches to a different beat.

Michel's Thunder Mountain is always a favorite selection for the cellar, as the wine picks up flesh and deeper color with time. The crushed oyster shell component that is exhibited on day one is met with sweet cream and hazelnut notes that slowly develop.

In the context of great white Burgundy vineyards, Montée de Tonnerre is always part of the elite group. The price tag in banner years like 2014 can start at $230+ from some Chablis domaines. Louis Michel's Chablis lineup has always been synonymous with value, but at $49 per bottle his Thunder Mountain is unquestionably the gem of the estate.

I've gone deep on 2014 white Burgundy, and will continue to as the last of these wines slowly disappear from the market. There's no Premier or Grand Cru bottling in all of Burgundy I've dedicated more space to than Louis Michel's Montée de Tonnerre. Offering immediacy, as well as serious cellar potential, it's the single best choice to go deep on in 2014.

2014 Louis Michel Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre
$49 per bottle.

Also available:

2012 Louis Michel Chablis 1er Cru Forêts
$39 per bottle.

2014 Louis Michel Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos
$89 per bottle.