How did Burghound Rate Burgundy’s 2004- 2007 Vintages?

In my last post on Allen Meadows, aka Burghound, discussion about the wines from Burgundy we tasted with him on Saturday, I promised to post his views on the 2004 to 2007 vintages. So here it is!

2004: This was a hard vintage. It was cooler and many of the grapes were affected by powdery mildew. The cooler weather caused many of the red wines to have a “green” quality. A green quality to me is either a steaminess or a capsicum aroma/flavour in the wine. Allen brought up the discussion in the Burgundy community of a ladybug infestation that year. Ladybugs if they are disturbed, they release a bad tasting pheromone. Some people had suggested that when the pinot noir grapes were picked and hand sorted, the ladybugs were disturbed as they were on the grapes, and they released their bad tasting pheromone. That being said, the same greenness is not evident on the white (chardonnay) grapes. Maybe ladybugs are pinot fans only (my comment)?

2005: This was an excellent vintage. It is the best vintage for pinot noir in many years. It had warm days and cool nights, allowing the grapes to reach full ripeness (phenolic ripeness) and keep a good level of acidity. The reds are ripe and dense. Many are still too young to drink. Allen thinks that there is an 18-25 aging potential for the 1er and Grand Cru pinot noirs. The white wines have lots of body due to the elevated level of ripeness, but this is at the expense of a bit of elegance. Many of the whites though are good for drinking now (My comment).

2006: Another cool, foggy season. If the grower picked their chardonnay grapes early they would have classic cool climate white Burgundy. But if they waited a bit longer for the official grape picking start date, the grapes could have been attacked by the botrytis cinera fungus (aka noble rot). Botrytis gives white wine an added level of complexity. I typically get a marmalade flavour (my comment). So for the whites, you could get a classic cool climate Chardonnay or not. Best to check the tasting notes for individual white wines for 2006. For the reds, the cooler climate also made it harder to produce a great vintage. It doesn’t mean there are no good 2006, Pinot Noir. You just need to do your research before buying a bottle.

2007: This was a good vintage for white wines. This vintage produced a classical, austere white Burgundy. The Village level wines are starting to be more fully developed and interesting for tasting now. The reds are a mixed bag. Some are great and some are not. You need to do some research. The 2007 reds are lighter in body compared to the very ripe and muscular 2005 vintage.

That’s all from my notes. I hope it has given you a bit of insight into these vintages and will help guide your Burgundy wine purchases. Cheers!

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.

Burgundy tasting tickets with Allen Meadows

If you are a lover of Burgundy, you may be interested in attending one of these events that is coming up soon. There are just a few tickets left. The speaker, Allen Meadows, is the owner of the burghound.com website. He has been going to Burgundy for more than 30 years and has indepth knowledge of the wineries in Burgundy. He is a wealth of information so shouldn’t be missed. The ticket/event details are below:

Burgundy 101 Seminar
A sit down tasting with Allen featuring classic examples of all the major appellations of Burgundy, with a few hidden gems thrown in for good measure. Allen will guide us through each wine as he speaks about the appellation, producer and recent trends and developments affecting Burgundy.

Date: Saturday, September 18th, 2010
Time: 2:00-4:00pm
Location: Terminal City Club – 837 W. Hastings, Vancouver – Business casual attire
Cost: $99 per person

Bistro Pastis Lunch
Start your Sunday in a leisurely fashion by join us for lunch at John Blakely’s Fourth Avenue fixture, Bistro Pastis. This meal will feature the wines from some of the lesser known Burgundy appellations with a sprinkling of more recognizable names included for good measure. As you happily eat and drink away, Allen will discuss each wine and grower, while providing an overview of Burgundy.

Date: Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Time: 11:30am-2:00pm

Location: Bistro Pastis – 2153 W. 4th Avenue, Vancouver

Cost: $99 per person (all inclusive)

For tickets, phone:
604-684-0445