Monday, January 17, 2011

The great wines of Burgundy

The red grape of Burgundy, Pino Noir, is probably the most finicky grape on the planet. The number of locations it can be grown successfully, can be counted on one hand. If the weather fails to cooperate during any part of the growing season, the wine will lack the magic these grapes can yield.

To describe, in words, the flavors and textures sealed in a bottle of red Burgundy is like trying to appreciate a great painting by reading about it. It just doesn't work. If I had to give you tasting notes on a 10 or 20 year of bottle from a good vintage, I would say "flowers, baking spices, and ambrosia". The great MW Michael Broadbent describes the flavor of red Burgundy as "beet root" and describes the way the flavors fan out on your palate as a "peacock's tail".

The ability to age gracefully, is one of this wines greatest strengths. Bob Betz shared a story of a small cash of wines discovered when a friend renovated his home. Among the many gems, was a bottle of Clos de Vougeot from the 1890's. He described the wine as fresh and expressive given its age. Another friend described drinking great burgundy by proclaiming that "Bordeaux is from earth, Burgundy is from Mars". I have been lucky enough to drink several 20 to 25 year old bottles that simply shined. There is simply nothing I have tasted that can compare to these bottles.

I had a discussion about red Burgundy with Chris Upchurch of Delille. He offered this quote "If you asked what the best bottle of wine in the world was, I would tell you I don't know, but it probably says Burgundy somewhere on the bottle".

I am on a mission to track down the best bottles of Burgundy to offer our customers. This includes traveling to Burgundy during the end of March. During 2011, each month I will bring in something new (to our store that is) from Burgundy. If you are interested in trying one, stop by or give us a call.


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