May 31, 2011

good wine needs no bush...*


The region of Burgundy or Bourgogne like it is called in French is one of the main wine growing regions of France. It has five sub regions: 1. Chablis - Grand Auxerrois - Chatillonnais, 2. Cote de Nuits, 3. Cotes de Beaune, 4. Cote Chalonnaise and 5. Cote de Maconnais. 

Like all the other wine regions in France Burgundy is strictly controlled by AOC, Appellation d'Origine Controlee to protect the quality and the origin of the Burgundy wine. AOC allows the growers to grow only four types of grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Aligote and Gamay in four appellation categories: Grand Cru, Premier (1er) Cru, Village and Regional. The region produces 60% white wines, 31% reds, 8% Cremant de Bourgogne which is the sparkling wine type of the region and 1% roses. 54% of the region's production is exported to over 140 countries and 46% is sold in domestic market. Quite an industry...


So I think it is enough with all the technical classifications and info. I would like to talk about some of 26 very impressive wines we tasted during our wine tasting tour in Cotes de Beaune of Bourgogne. We visited three different estates: Domaine Coche-BizouardDomaine Dujardin and Domaine Pascal Borgeot. I tried my best to keep detailed tasting notes about each wine for future references throughout the day and at the end I managed to narrow down my list to five bottles:

Domaine Coche-Bizouard Meursault "Les Chevalieres" 2007: A beautiful big Chardonnay with a grassy and faint sweet liquorice nose. Palate starts with poppy seeds, toasted sesame seeds and bread crust, finishes with lingering beautiful salted butter. It was one of the two winners with the "Les Luchets" both from Domaine Coche-Bizouard but I ended up choosing this bottle to bring back home. If you see it anywhere you shouldn't miss it.

Domaine Coche-Bizouard Meursault "Les Luchets" 2006: The runner-up of our tasting session: another Chardonnay from the same estate. Butter and bread on the nose are amazing. I could nose it for hours. The palate is incredibly nutty, damp, beautiful. Fresh unpeeled walnuts, salted almonds, macadamia nuts... You don't want to rush it, let the finish linger as long as possible.

Domaine Dujardin Auxey-Duresses 2008: A different estate and we are moving to a totally different ballpark. This wine is also a Chardonnay but has a nose of distinct smoke and charred barrel notes. The barrel steals the scene on the nose but beautiful green vegetables, quince and fresh nuts are taking over at the palate. Everything fades out to honeysuckle at the finish. Sweet and floral.

Domaine Dujardin Monthelie 1er Cru "Les Vignes Rondes" 2008: It is a pretty wintery Pinot Noir from Domaine Dujardin. It is multilayered and complex but not heavy and thick, it is actually dynamic and exciting. Very very earthy and fruity at the nose. Damp cellar notes with ripe fruits like peaches, persimmon and mango... It has a slight velvety texture covering the mouth with juicy red plums. Great finish with spicy notes: a lot of cloves and nutmeg. I would love to taste this wine again at dinner table. Duck confit, a big charcuterie plate, lamb couscous...

Santenay 1er Cru "Les Gravieres" 2008: The best red of the day. The nose is unbelievable. Cellar mold, damp earth and sour red berries... Like a good aged sherry or tawny port. I would guess it as a Gamay blend but I have been told that it is a 100% Pinot Noir. The palate is sour, very very dry and oaky. It finishes with mushrooms of all kind. A beautiful red wine I would save some of for after dinner with a spicy cigar. Definitely a winner.


* by William Shakespeare from his play As You Like It
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