Friday, October 28, 2011

Burgundy

This week's wine class focused on Burgundy, that capricious and moody wine region.  In good years, the wine from Burgundy can be the best and most expensive around.  In bad years, the wine can be terrible and the most expensive around.  It's hard to know whether you'll get a great wine or a bad one, because everything depends on the vintage here, not the reputation of the house or, especially, the price.  Thus, there's a lot of demand for really knowing your vintage quality when it comes to tasting or buying Burgundy.  No pressure!

The best of the evening, in my view, was a 2008 premier cru chardonnay from Meursault, in the Cote de Beaune.  Cote de Beaune is famous for its whites, despite the fact that it makes a lot of red, and this one didn't disappoint. This wine was young-ish, pale gold with green cheeks, but lovely nutty aromas and flavours.  Maybe I'm just really taken by nutty white wines (see the Jubilee Hugel Riesling), but the toasted coconut, pecan, honey, and banana in the nose, and the caramel, peaches, and faint note of orange-glo (yes, I do mean the furniture polish) were just lovely.  It was a juicy and elegant wine.  I liked it very much, but suspect I won't have it again anytime soon, as this one's a pricey wine to be sure.

The 2008 Joseph Faiveley Meursault premier cru.  Delish!
My least favourite of the night, and here we hit upon another theme, was a backwards 2008 Beaune-Bressan premier cru pinot noir.  Perhaps it was its backwardness that made me dislike it - I disliked the cab franc of a similar nature, and think that this is just something I find gross in a wine.  The instructor and many others in the class enjoyed it, but I'm fine with being in the minority here.  The wine smelled strongly of barnyard, tar, cedar, tea, and petroleum.  It's taste was similar: wood, salt, roasted herbs, and cold coffee.  Blegh.  I havent' been able to find an image of the label, so you'll have to take your chances on this one.  As a general recommendation though, going for the pinot noirs from the Cote des Nuits is a good idea.

However, if something light, happy, and fruity is more to your taste, Beaujolais is (in my view) a great choice.  We tasted a lovely 2009 Moulin-a-Vent Beaujolais, which had the typical candy smell (bananas, jolly ranchers, cinnamon, dried fruits) and a tasty woody, candy apple palate.  As the instructor said, it's a less somber wine in its aspect, and a great one for bridging the tastes between old world and new world wines.  Beaujolais will always have a special place in my heart after visiting the region for Beaujolais Nouveau in 2009 (which was a particularly excellent vintage, it turns out).  That wonderful festive weekend, and gamay's easy drinkability with lunch, makes it a star in my books!

3 comments:

  1. Interesting! It's fun keeping up with your wine classes with you!

    The Beaune Bressan--was that the house name? I was wondering if perhaps it was a Beaune (village) named after Bressandes, rather than being only "Bressan"? I don't actually know, of course, I just know there is a burgundy named for a man (no longer alive, I'm pretty sure) named Bressandes that used to make wine in Beaune. The one I'm thinking of is a premier cru, and I think has a white, pretty basic label?

    Anyway, if it is that one then I know too that the reviews of it I've read say it's not yet ready to drink and should be left to sit for a while.

    Curiosity--do you tend to like pinot noirs, or no? Of course there are many ways it's made, but we can still loosely talk about if we tend to like particular varietals or not, so I thought I'd ask. Like, I know you tend to like beaujolis, and CDP (not that those are varietals), so I thought I'd ask if you tend to like pinot or no too. (or if you know--there are so many grapes out there to try! yay!)

    Love you!

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  2. I just happened to be reading about burgundies recently, so interesting timing!

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  3. I don't remember the house name, I think because it was the last bottle we tried so I didn't get a chance to see the label. There is a Jadot Beaune-Bressan, and then some others with the Beaune-Bressandes or Beaune Les Bressandes names, so it could be one of these. It seems though that this one wasn't too young, in fact. It was allegedly excellent drinking (though I disagree, laugh).

    I do like pinot! I definitely like gamay and grenache, but also pinot when it's not too sewery. Do you?

    Also, so much to read about Burgundy - it's crazy. Love you too! (and Cheers!)

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