A Different perspective on Red Burgundy

Burgundy is a specific, geographically delimited area of France.  It starts in the north with & around Chablis….heads south….to the Cote d’Or (further broken down to the Cote de Nuits & Cote de Beaune in the south)…..down to Cote Chalonnaise….the Maconnais….& finally Beaujolais….with some other, smaller ones in between.

For the most part, Chardonnay & Pinot Noir are the star grape varieties, which can produce something VERY special in the very finest pockets of the region’s Kimmeridgian limestone soils.

The resulting wines are really like no other.  Here is recent staff training we did to show our staff how different red Burgundies can be.

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 2011 Domaine Savary Bourgogne “Epineuil”

Here is a Burgundian Pinot Noir, grown in Kimmeridgian limestone soils up north, in the VERY cool growing confines near Chablis.  It wasn’t that long ago, good, interesting RED wines from this area were hard to come by.  Now, this by NO means, is Grand Cru in character or profile (nor is it intended to be), but is instead an absolutely delicious, remarkably light, pretty, VERY ethereal Pinot, ideal for Hawaii’s warm weather & local Island foods.

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 2010 Regis Bouvier Bourgogne “En Montre Cul”

Regis Bouvier is a small, essentially one man run Domaine.  One of his most popular wines is his “En Montre Cul”  bottling which comes from steep, more sandy hillsides near the city of Dijon.  Because of how fast this city has grown & expanded, once well respected vineyards have sadly been swallowed up in the name of progress & building.   Bouvier’s cuvee has a real satin quality to it (as opposed to the precise-ness of limestone driven wines)….sheer, highly refined & amazingly light & pretty.  Yes, this is one of our “go to wines” every year for pure enjoyment, gulpability AND great value.

2006 Lucien Boillot Gevrey Chambertin Premier Cr “Les Cherbaudes”

abbbbbb 003Gevrey Chambertin is one of the more northerly villages, as one heads south traveling the Cote d’Or & historically is said to produce very masculine Pinot Noir, which can be readily seen in the really impressive line-up of Grand Crus found within its boundaries.  Les Cherbaudes is a Premier Cru (which in my opinion is typically one of Boillot’s finest Premier Cru holdings).  It lies next to Chapelle Chambertin & across the road from Mazis Chambertin & Chambertin Clos de Beze…..all Grand Cru.  As old timers will say, this village is sitting on some pretty special soil.  Boillot is reputed to produce more traditional styled red Burgundy, which takes years of bottle age to open up & show its glory.  This 2006 has lots of stuffing & character, but is still young & closed.  My recommendation–be patient & wait before opening your cellared bottles of 2006.

 Pinot Tasting 003 2006 Robert Chevillon Nuits St Georges

From Gevrey Chambertin heading south, Nuits St Georges is one of the last villages of the Cote de Nuits before entering into the Cote de Beaune.  This is the home of Robert Chevillon, who happens to be one of our favorite Pinot Noir producers in the world!  Chevillon wines are always so impeccably balanced, refined & classy, eventhough they have a distinct rustic edge & underlying, sublime masculinity to their wines.  While 2006 did not receive rave reviews by the Press, I adore this wine’s purity & precision…AND I think with some bottle age, this will turn into a gloriously perfumed/ethereal, delicately nuanced Pinot which will remind some of us old timers, of the way it was…PRE-Parker!

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2008 Domaine Roulot Auxey Duresses Premier Cru

Auxey Duresses is a village located in the Cote de Beaune surrounded on three sides by the villages of St Romaine to the northwest, Monthelie to the northeast & Meursault to the east-south.  In the old days, their red wines were often sold off as Pommard or Volnay, which gives you an idea of its perceived quality & lukewarm reputation in the early days.  Still, because of its higher elevation & very chalky, limestone soils, eventhough the resulting red wines can be quite lean, hard & much lighter than those from the Cote de Nuits, they do offer real value for the dollar….AND actually GREAT VALUE in the hands of very skilled winemakers like Jean Marc Roulot.

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2006 A & P DeVillaine Mercurey “Les Montots”

 One of the world’s most famous figures of wine over the years is Aubert DeVillaine.  As Managing Director of Domaine de la Romanee Conti, he has led this iconic, world class winery into the various, new eras  & changing global markets without skipping  a beat.  While most would say he was lucky to inherit 50% of this illustrious Domaine, I say HE defined DRC….not the other way around….AND in the most challenging of times & on a HIGHLY scrutinized stage.  From all of this grandeur, it is so wonderful that he & his wife chose to make their home in the Cote Chalonnaise to the south.   In this region, the vein of Kimmeridgian limestone seemingly starts to peter out & one sees a myriad of different soils found in various pockets throughout the appellation.  He planted this parcel (within the Mercurey appellation) on limestone-clay soils  in 1974 using Nuits St Georges vine cuttings.  Light in color, here is yet another absolutely pretty, pure, honest, refined, nuanced, delicious Pinot of sheer elegance.

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  2009 Marcel Lapierre Morgon

We ended the tasting with a CRU Beaujolais, which is in the southern region of Burgundy.  Here the soil has changed from limestone to granite….& from Pinot Noir to Gamay Noir (which they have now genetically proven is a mutation of Pinot Noir).  We chose the Morgon from the iconic Marcel Lapierre, who has defined what true Beaujolais can be, through his wines. Using the practices of ole’ both viticulturally & in vinification, Lapierre produces wines which are provocative & delicious in their youth yet quite amazingly ageworthy.  I have had some old Lapierre Morgon & can vouch first hand how sensational they can be after significant bottle age.  For the tasters however,  the goal really was to show how VERY different a wine can be when grown in granitic soils (versus limestone)–much more intriguing, masculine & sultry in nature without compromising Burgundy’s innate lightness on the palate & pedigree.  I just wish I had an older Lapierre wine I could have shown as well.

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