A Burgundy Tasting with Burghound!

Saturday morning was really special for me and other wine media here in Vancouver, BC. Allen Meadows, aka Burghound, was at the Marquis Wine Cellars to talk about Burgundy, and taste some Burgundian wines with us. Allen is an encyclopaedia of knowledge about Burgundy, as he has been travelling there, meeting with winemakers, and tasting their wines for 30+ years. He has also published a book called the “Pearl of the Cote“, which you can buy. I’d like one for Christmas or my birthday! (Allen’s the one on the left btw)

Allen, like most of us interested in French wine started tasting and purchasing Bordeaux. He was fortunate to meet a person working at a wine shop that introduced him to the wines of Burgundy. And when he tasted a 1967 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (Pinot Noir) he understood why people were so passionate about Burgundy. And the rest is history.

Today we tasted three white and three red Burgundies. The three whites are:
– Domaine Leflaive Macon-Verze 2007 ($59.90)
– Domaine Drouhin Beaune Blanc “Clos des Mouches” 2006 ($274.80, 1.5l)
– Domaine Comte-Senard Corton-Charlemagne 2006 ($119.90)

Allen noted that Domaine Leflaive‘s wines are the Gold Standard in Burgundy. This particular wine was produced in the Maconnais, south of Burgundy. This is because the land parcels within Burgundy for premium wine rarely goes on sale, and when it does, it is exceptionally expensive. So many Domaine’s are purchasing in the Maconnais. This wine was pale lemon with a green tint. Lemon, lanolin , light vanilla, and some lees on the nose. Good acidity, light body, lemony flavours. Dry with medium length. This was a solid wine, but better wines were to come.

The Domaine Drouhin Beaune Blanc “Clos des Mouches” 2006 is the flagship wine for Domaine Drouhin. It is a Premier Cru wine. It was light to medium lemon in colour. Quite oaky / sulfury nose, with vanilla and ripe apple. Quite round in the mouth, with lemon, apple, and a bit of spice. Medium acidity and medium length. Allen pointed out that the winemaker had applied sulfur as a “reduction” to the wine to prevent oxidation. Drinking straight from bottle to glass did not allow the sulfur time to dissipate. Allen recommended for this wine, and for many white Burgundies, to pour into a decanter and let them breath for at least 15 minutes.

The last white wine was my personal favorite, the Domaine Comte-Senard Corton-Charlemagne 2006. Burghound pointed out that there are only FOUR producers of Corton Blanc in Burgundy and that makes the wine we are tasting very rare. This was was medium to deep lemon in the glass. Lemon vanilla, wood, and butterscotch on the nose. Medium body, with lemon, woody, earthy, and nutmeg aromas. Quite complex. Medium acidity which nicely balanced the fruit in this wine. Wonderful.

I am a Pinot Noir lover, so was eagerly anticipating the upcoming three reds:
– Domaine Tollot-Beaut Bourgogne Rouge 2007 ($35.90)
– Dominique Laurent Chambolle-Musigny “Les Charmes” 1er Cru 2006 ($94.40)
– Domaine d’Eugenie Clos de Vougeot 2007 ($279.90)

The Domaine Tollot-Beaut Bourgogne Rouge 2007 would be viewed as being on the high end of an entry level Burgundy. This one was very light cherry coloured. Wet animal, vegetal, and red cherry on the nose. Light body with red cherry, vegetal, cassis and light oak flavours. Dry with a short length.

My person favorite for the reds was the Dominique Laurent Chambolle-Musigny “Les Charmes” 1er Cru. I was told that Dominique Laurent is a bit of a controversial producer in Burgundy in that he buys wine and “elevates” it through the use of oak aging before bottling. His wines have his stamp or “signature” on them. Some enjoy having a wine with a certain style, while others do not. I did enjoy this wine. It was deep garnet in colour. Complex nose with dark cherry, liquor, slight smoke and vanilla aromas. Drying tannins but very fine grained. Medium body. Cherry flavour with slight spice on the finish.

Our final wine for our tasting was the Domaine d’Eugenie Clos de Vougeot 2007. This I was told is a relatively new Domaine and is run by the Domaine Latour from Bordeaux. While the Dominique Laurent had a definite signature to it, this wine was more austere. It was light garnet coloured in the glass. Light spice with cherry, cassis, vanilla and a bit of smoke on the nose. On the palate there was smokiness, red cherry and light cassis flavours. Medium length. Dry finish.

One thing of interest to me was that none of the three Pinot Noir wines had any violet, raspberry or strawberry aromas or flavours. Although when I did note cassis, it could also be interpreted as raspberry.

After reviewing the wines together, Allen talked about the 2004 to 2007 Burgundy vintages. I’ll hold that discussion to my next blog. I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about Burgundy today. Cheers.

Bourgogne: Tour De Terroir tasting at the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Fest

March 30, 2009 08:04:21
Posted By Wine With Karl

Friday evening was a “tour” across Burgundy. We tasted Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Gamay. Luckily only 9 wines this evening compared to 15 wines the previous evening.

First wine was Louis Bouillot Perle d’Aurora Rose Brut, a cremant de Bourgogne. Cremant is a sparkling wine made in France outside of Champagne. 100% pinot noir. Light salmon colour, strawberry aroma and flavour. Cremant is usually less expensive than Champagne but uses the same methods so try some cremant.

Next was Domaine Christian Moreau Pere & Fils Chablis Grand Cru Les Los 2005. This is chardonnay from the northern Chablis region. Chablis is known for being steely and mineral, but with age comes complexity. This one had lemon, spice and mineral aroma. Light oak, apple, citrus flavour, and had a soft mouthfeel.

Chateau de Cordon Andre Pouilly Fuisse Les Vielle Pierres 2004. Pouilly Fuisse is the region just on the northern border of Beaujolais. The grapes for this wine are also chardonnay. Being further south, the grapes get more sun and heat and have more flavour and creaminess. Unfortunately the wine I had came from a tainted bottle so I can’t tell you about it. Approximately 1 in 12 bottles suffer cork taint world-wide.

Our fourth wine was the Bouchard Pere & Fils Mersault 2006. More chardonnay, this time from the Cote d’Or, the main part of Burgundy. I marked this wine as a star. Fermented in barrel, this wine was full bodied, rich, with apple, spice, citrus and hazelnut flavours with a toasty finish. Pair with lobster.

The fifth wine was the George Dubeouf Beaujolais Villages 2007. A “village” wine is a step up from a simple Beaujolais. It typically has riper fruit and at least 0.5% more alcohol. Gamay is the red grape in Beaujolais. This wine had cherry and banana aromas. Cherry and juicy fruit gum, flavours. The banana aroma and juicy fruit gum flavours come from the carbonic maceration fermentation (i’ll blog on that separately).

Next, the sixth wine was the Domaine Piron Chenas Quartz 2007. Chenas is the smallest Cru within Beaujolais, and has produced an excellent quality wine. This was medium reddish purple. Cherry aroma. Big cherry fruit flavour, a good level of acidity and medium tannins. A star for this one.

Our seventh wine was the Bouchard Pere & Fils Beaune Greves Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus 2006. Pinot noir here. The vineyard was once owned by nuns, thus the origin of the “Baby Jesus” name. The vineyard is in Beaune, which is the main city in Burgundy. This wine had beautiful cherry blossom aroma. Soft mouthfeel, cherries and strawberry flavours. Very well balanced. My OVERALL favorite of the tasting.

The eighth wine was the Olivier Leflaive Wines Pommard 1er Cru Rugiens 2005. Remember, Pommard produces masculine wines. This vineyard grows on iron rich soil, giving the wine more body and firm tannins. Garnet colour and big legs (high alcohol). Cherry and strawberry flavour. Full bodied, firm tannins, cherry flavour.

Our final wine was the Domaine de la Vougeraie Gevrey-Chambertin Bel Air 2006. I do love the wines from the Gevrey-Chambertin appelation. This wine had beautiful cherry and vanilla/oak aroma. Good acid, cherry flavour, medium body.Tour de terroir

Enjoy!

A Beaune to pick

On Thursday and Friday this week, I spent driving the Route des Grand Vins in search of a bottle of Burgundian pinot noir to bring back to Canada. On Thursday, we did the Cote de Nuits and Friday, the Cote de Beaune. In Cote de Nuits, our primary stop was in Gevrey-Chambertin. The pinot noir wines of this area are viewed as being feminine in style, while those from Pommard as being very masculine in style. In Gevrey-Chambertin, I visited several small producers, in particular Gerard Quivy and Philippe Leclerc. I particularly enjoyed the wines from Philippe Leclerc. I was able to enjoy the 2003 and 2005 vintage of the Premier Cru les Cazetiers, and the 2003 vintage of the Premier Cru la Combe aux Moines. The 2003 les Cazetiers came from a very hot year making a wine with exceptionally ripe fruit flavours. The 2005 les Cazetiers was not yet ready for drinking, but amazingly had the same flavour characteristics, which Leclerc attributes to the soil / terroir of the vineyard plot used for this wine. The la Combe aux Moines had a leather and cherry nose. It had good black fruit flavour and medium tannins. The finish was very long. I’d say this wine needs 2-3 years more aging before drinking to smooth out the tannins a bit.

Friday was the drive through the Cote de Beaune. Most visits were to some wine shops that offered several wines from the region for tasting. To walk into these shops and see the famous names, such as Montrachet, Pommard, Mersault, surrounding you is truly inspiring and humbling. Thinking how long these wines have been produced and how they have refined the production to small plots of land with it’s particular terroir, and how far we have yet to go in Canada. To avoid boring you with all the wines I tried i thought I would just tell you about my favorite wine for this day. The wine of the day was the 2006 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru “les Champs Gains” from Michel Bouzereau. This wine was straw coloured with a light oak and stone fruit aromas. The oak continued on the palette along with apple flavour. It had light acidity and was light bodied. If you want to purchase it, one bottle costs 47 Euros, plus shipping and taxes of course. Salut!