It’s been two years since I’ve been to Burgundy and I miss it terribly. And not just because I haven’t had my fix of Delice de Pommard, the utterly addictive soft cow’s milk cheese that is encrusted with whole mustard grains. Burgundy is magical, and so are its wines. There’s nothing like winding your way through the back roads of the region to little towns like Pouilly-Fuisse (pictured at right), stopping to step down into ancient cellars and taste vibrant Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with people whose lives are suffused with wine and the soil in which it grows.
If you’re like me, you don’t get to drink as much Burgundy wine as you might like. Not for lack of desire, but mostly for lack of funds. While a humble Bourgogne Blanc or Bourgogne Rouge are relatively easy to afford, and not horribly difficult to find here in the U.S., provided you have access to a specialty wine retailer, cru-level wines are a different matter altogether. I’d drink a hell of a lot of Premier Cru Chassagne Montrachet if I could, but I’m not yet at the point in my life where my everyday drinking wines can cost me $80 a bottle. And forget ordering a nice bottle at most restaurants, unless it’s a special occasion.
All of which is a way of saying that as someone interested in constantly educating my palate on the wines of the world, I always jump at the chance to taste more Burgundy, no matter what the circumstance.
That’s why I played hookey from work for a couple of hours last Monday when the BIVB ( Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne, the main marketing association for Burgundy) rolled into town with fifty or sixty producers to show off the latest (2009 and 2010) vintages to members of the trade and media. One of the greatest perks of having been at this blogging thing for a while is getting the opportunity to have a press pass to great events such as this.
Held under the skylights of one of San Francisco City Hall’s atriums, the tasting was very well put together, and surprisingly sparsely attended by the trade. The room was quite abustle at the hight of the tasting, but far less so than, say, the average ZAP Zinfandel or Rhone Rangers tasting. Hell, I’ve seen busier Riesling tastings.
Not that I’m complaining, mind you. Nor were the other folks who were there. I was perfectly happy to stroll my way around a beautiful space, sampling wines that ranged from very good to utterly fantastic.
While I consider myself a die hard fan of California wines and wine regions, I must admit that the average quality of these wines was definitely higher than I would find at a similarly sized California tasting. I’m proud to have catholic tastes when it comes to wine — more so than many — perhaps I do lean a little towards the Old World in my preferences. But perhaps, too, it was simply nice to taste a lot of Chardonnay that wasn’t viscously ripe and treated with too much wood, and a lot of Pinot Noir with high levels of acidity.
In any case, it was a fantastic tasting, and not just because they were serving Delice de Pommard along with freshly sliced baguettes. A nice selection of producers, from larger negociants to tiny little domaines were there, and many were pouring some of their better wines.
I’m pressed for time this week and weekend, so I’m not writing up every wine I tasted. Here are some of the highlights.
WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9.5
2009 Chanson Pere & Fils Corton Grand Cru “Vergennes” $240
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of white flowers, sweet lemon and lemon zest. In the mouth the wine is gorgeously silky with electric, vibrant and juicy flavors of lemon, wet rocks, and pastry cream. Wonderfully long finish. Yum! click to buy.
2008 Pierre Andre Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru $120
Pale gold in the glass, this wine has a piney, sappy nose with hints of lemon zest. In the mouth the wine explodes with tangy lemon flesh and lemon zest flavors, as well as a bright saline and resiny flavor. Juicy, bright, and lingering long with lemonade tartness in the finish. Stunning. click to buy.
WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 9 AND 9.5
2009 Maison Louis Latour Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru $75
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of white flowers, lemon curd, and wet stone.In the mouth, flavors of lemon curd, spice and a hint of apple are delivered on a silky stream across the palate. Citrus zest in the finish. click to buy.
2010 Domaine Christian Moreau Père et Fils Chablis Grand Cru “Les Clos” $75 click to buy.
2009 Chanson Pere & Fils Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru “Les Caradeux” $??
2008 Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis Grand Cru “Les Clos” $65 click to buy.
2010 Domaine Fougeray de Beauclair “Les Aiges Pruniers” Marsannay $??
2010 Domaine Fougeray de Beauclair “Les Golardes” Savigny Les Beaune $??
2009 Château De Santenay Saint Aubin “En Vesvau” Blanc $25 click to buy.
2010 Dom Pernot-Belicard Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru “Perrieres” $75
2010 Paul Pernot Et Ses Fils Puligny Montrachet $45 click to buy.
2008 Ch. Maltroye Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru “Grande Ruchotte” $130
2009 Maison Joseph Drouhin Puligny Montrachet $55 click to buy.
2009 Maison Joseph Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru “Clos de Mouches” $100 click to buy.
WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2009 Domaine Christian Moreau Père et Fils Chablis 1er Cru “Vaillon” $42
2009 Domaine d’Ardhuy Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru $??
2008 Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis Grand Cru “Valmur” $65
2009 J.M. Chalande Vire-Clesse $??
2010 Maison Louis latour Chassagne-Montrachet $45
2010 Maison Louis latour Meursault-Blagny 1er Cru “Chateau de Blagny” $50
WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9
2010 Domaine Christian Moreau Père et Fils Chablis $25
2010 Domaine d’Ardhuy Bourgogne Blanc $??
2010 Maison Louis Latour Pouilly-Fuisse $20
RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9.5
2009 Domaine Bart Marsannay “Les Grand Vignes” $30
Medium garnet in color, ths wine has a nose of floral, raspberry, and earthy aromas. In the mouth the wine offers taut forest floor and red berry flavors that have a remarkable glassy quality. A silky package of earth and stone perfumed with piney raspberry and cherry. Fantastic.
2006 Domaine Taupenot-Merme Charmes Chambertin $125
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of piney forest floor mixed with cherry and strawberry aromas. In the mouth, juicy raspberry and evergreen / forest floor flavors mix with deeper wet stone flavors. Super juicy, fantastic acidity, and very faint tannins that linger with sweet fruit aromas in the finish. click to buy.
2009 Maison Joseph Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru “Clos des Mouches” $85
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberry, exotic flowers, and forest floor. In the mouth bright raspberry and forest floor flavors take an earthier turn, as silky textured tannins swirl in the mouth. Deep and earthy with ethereal fruit, this wine conveys refinement. click to buy.
RED WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 9 AND 9.5
2009 Domaine d’Ardhuy “Clos des Langres” Monopole $39 click to buy.
2009 Chanson Pere & Fils Beaune 1er Cru “Clos des Mouches”
2009 Maison Lou Dumont Morey-St-Denis $60
2009 Maison Lou Dumont Nuits-St-Georges $61
2010 Domaine Fougeray de Beauclair Fixin “Clos Marion” $??
2010 Domaine Fougeray de Beauclair Savigny Les Beaune “Les Golardes” $??
2009 Domaine Rapet Aloxe Corton $48 click to buy.
2009 Domaine Joliet Fixin 1er Cru “Clos De La Perriere” Monopole $79
2009 Ch. Maltroye Chassagne Montrachet $50 click to buy.
2008 Domaine Taupenot-Merme Mazoyères Chambertin $139 click to buy.
2009 Domaine Taupenot-Merme Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru $109 click to buy.
2009 Domaine Taupenot-Merme Morey Saint Denis 1er Cru $209 click to buy.
2010 Domaine Tortochot Gevrey-Chambertin “Lavaux-St-Jacques” $59 click to buy.
2009 Domaine Tortochot Charmes-Chambertin $89 click to buy.
2009 Domaine Tortochot Mazis-Chambertin $99 click to buy.
2010 Domaine Marchand Frères Gevrey Chambertin Vieilles Vignes $??
2009 Maison Joseph Drouhin Chorey Les Beaune $32 click to buy.
2009 Maison Louis Latour Grancey Corton Grand Cru “Chateau Corton” $78 click to buy.
RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2009 Domaine d’Ardhuy Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru $??
2009 Chanson Pere & Fils Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru “Les Vergelesses” $??
2009 Chanson Pere & Fils Beaune 1er Cru “Clos des Fèves” $??
2009 Maison Lou Dumont Fixin $40
2009 Maison Lou Dumont Chambolle-Musigny $60
2009 Maison Lou Dumont Bourgogne Rouge $29
2010 Domaine Fougeray de Beauclair Morey St. Denis Grand Cru “Bonnes Mares” $??
2009 Domaine Taupenot-Merme Gevrey Chambertin $??
2010 Domaine Tortochot Gevrey Chambertin “Les Corvées” $25
2010 Domaine Tortochot Gevrey Chambertin “Champerrieres” $29
2010 Domaine Tortochot Gevrey Chambertin “Champeaux” $59
2009 Domaine Sirugue Vosne Romanée $??
2009 Maison Joseph Drouhin Gevrey Chambertin $50
2009 Maison Louis Latour Beaune 1er Cru “Vignes Franches” $90
RED WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9
2009 Domaine d’Ardhuy Savigny 1er Cru “Les Narbantons” $??
2009 Chanson Pere & Fils Savigny les Beaune 1er Cru “Dominode” $??
2009 Maison Lou Dumont Ladoix $38
2010 Domaine Fougeray de Beauclair Marsannay “St. Jacques” Monopole $??
2009 Domaine Carre Bourgogne Haute Cotes de Beaune “La Perriere” $23
2009 Domaine Michel Noëllat Chambolle Musigny $??
2009 Maison Louis latour Marsannay $44