A Different Slant on What Burgundy Can be

Many tasters are familiar with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir based wines from Burgundy, France, it is what excels in that dirt and that climate. The very best are certainly on the top echelon of the wine hierarchy.   There are other grapes grown and produced in that “golden coast” and here are four anomalies which break the mold. Something different, bordering abstract, but certainly fun and interesting to say the least. Shouldn’t wine also be fun? 

2017 Nicole Chanrion “Pearl de Gamay”–We love the true vigneron Nicole Chanrion and her wines. She is skilled, BUT she is also quite daring. Her Côte de Brouilly vineyard, down in Beaujolais, is on a bed of black-gray granite, some would say schist. Her RED wine therefore is quite masculine in its core and capable of getting better with some age. She also produces ONE white wine from .27 HA of Gamay Noir vinified white, grown in clay soils, then fermented and aged in stainless steel with full malolactic. The wine is all about purity and deliciousness. It really is one of a kind. 

2014 Lucien Boillot Pinot Beurot “Les Grands Poisots”–Boillot has but .139 hectares (I believe equivalent to rows) of a Pinot Noir mutation—Pinot Beurot (Pinot Gris) of vines planted in 1958. The wine in fermented and aged in stainless steel with full malolactic. I remember having this bottling at the domaine in 2007. It smelled totally all about cherries—cherry lifesaver, cherry cough drops, you get the idea. We ordered some, it was so mesmerizing. By the time we got in Hawaii some months later, it had completely changed and was now all about mineral. Burgundian limestone based minerality. It is truly something very unique. 

2014 A et P De Villaine Bouzeron Aligoté–One of Burgundy’s “lesser” know white wine grape varieties is Aligoté. Many producers have at least some in their vineyards, but interestingly very few make it to the Hawaiian shores. For me, the finest example of Aligoté is produced from A & P De Villaine in its home turf of Bouzeron down in the Côte Chalonnaise. This is that wine! Heirloom Aligoté Doré fermented and aged in large barrels for 10 to 12 months. Classic, stellar and quite a unique experience.

Didier Meuzard “Ratafia de Bourgogne”–Another new “discovery” for us.  After all, who locally drinks ratafia?  Who can even get good ratafia?  Here is one–“2/3’s grape juice (Pinot Noir & Gamay Noir) and 1/3 Fine de Bourgogne (the softest distilled grape alcohol distilled from the lees) Lees sourced from biodynamic and organic growers in the Côte de Nuits.  Where most ratafia are produced using white wine grapes, Didier wanted his ratafia to be red, and muted with the softer, smoother fine de Bourgogne. The goal was to change the perception of ratafia from rustic to elegant, harsh to gentle. Working with some top growers in the Côte de Nuits, Didier takes freshly harvested Pinot Noir and Gamay grapes and puts them in tank, exactly as if he were going to make a red wine. The trick is to prevent the juice from beginning to ferment (otherwise the taste of the juice will be negatively altered, with less fresh grape flavor) and to do this without adding any sulfur (which can effectively kill yeast, but will also harm the purity of flavors in the juice)”.

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