Posts Tagged ‘Burgundy’

Apologies for the delay in this second installment but Christmas is a very busy period. Anyway we had an appointment at Louis Latour at 2pm. We headed for rue des tonneliers to meet with Anne and head for Corton. Corton is probably a 15 minute drive from Beaune and one of the more distinctive landmarks in this area  is the Chateau de Corton.

We were visiting Chateau Corton Grancey which is owned by Louis Latour. The vintage had finished 2 weeks previously so the cellars were a hive of activity. The winery is built into the hill of Corton so uses gravity to its benefit. We climbed up the stair to see a track where all the bins full of grapes can travel between vats. One thing about a winery during fermentation is the number of fruit flies everywhere – makes sense really. The free run juice had already been pumped into some of the blending vats so we saw workmen forking the grapes into bins to go to the presses. There is a fan in each vat to circulate air to disperse the CO2. We then walked the floor and went to the presses in time to see grapes being loaded into a vertical press. Great to actually see the theory in practice. Off to the tasting room.




Started with the whites and I was pleasently surprised to note that the majority of the white wines wines do not see any oak ageing. We has a considerable line up in front of us.Louis Latour Whites 11 white wines and 5 red. Considering my hangover was making me tetchy I was initially reluctant to taste them all but then when will I get this chance again?  The list of whites were as follows. Louis Latour Chablis 2010, Chablis 1er Cru 2009, Macon-Lugny Les Genievres 2010, Pouilly-Fuisse 2010, Meursault 2009, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2009.

Reds Marsannay 2009, Cote de Beaune-Villages 2009, Aloxe-Corton 2009, Chateau Corton Grancey Grand Cru 2009.  We got a good appreciation of the Louis Latour portfolio and the wine highlight was the Corton Grancey.

We headed back into Beaune and then out for the night. For dinner we went to Le Gourmandin. I have been here before and enjoyed it previously. In future I would steer clear. The food was average and the waiter complied to the stereotype of rude, French waiter, in short he was a w**ker. I should have gone with my instinct and headed for Ma Cuisine. After dinner we headed for Bistro Bourgignon and tasted through a number of wines. One of the the staff  gave us a free glass of a  white from the Challonais which they thought we would like. It was quite heavy on the oak however but just goes to show some people’s perception of what they think tourists like to drink. We also got chatting to an American couple; the wife worked in NASA and the husband had changed career to become a scuba instructor. They had been travelling for a month through Europe. Not jealous.

Next day was Saturday and Ireland v Australia in the Rugby World Cup. It was 10 am so we had coffee while we watched. There were some Aussies watching the game beside us and as I was a bit groggy I could not understand why they were cheering for Ireland. Turns out they were kiwis, Watson. What a morning. We had to have some Cremant to celebrate. This was to be our last day in Beaune and we had an early start the following day. It was lunch time and we strolled around looking for somewhere nice to eat and we came upon a delightful restaurant which I can’t remember the name of but if I do remember I will post it because the food was inexpensive and really good.

After a relaxing lunch we headed to Marches Aux Vins. Now some people might think this is just a bit gimmicky and for tourists but I always go when I am in Beaune because it is good fun and the wines were actually good with maybe one or two exceptions.

Sorry for the delay in putting this together but hopefully I will be posting with some regularity soon.






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I am just back from a short trip to Burgundy, well specifically Beaune where I got to visit the cellars of Joseph Drouhin and the Chateau Corton Grancey owned by Louis Latour. Beaune is not easy to get to and other than hiring a car you will have a number of transfers to make. I flew to Paris, got the RER to Gare de Lyon, the TGV to Dijon and the TER to Beaune. There is a slightly less complicated journey if you fly direct to Lyon and get the train to Beaune but I was meeting my friend in Paris.

We arrived in Beaune at around 2.30 and headed straight for Drouhin’s Offices and cellars on Rue Enfer. We were greeted by Frederic Drouhin, the Great Grandson of Joseph and taken down to the cellars by Jean-Pierre Cropsal.

In theses cellars they age some of their most prestigious wines and walking past the barrels you will see the names of famous climats and appellations such as Clos des Mouches and Gevrey-Chambertin. The tour was short and we proceeded to the tasting room to taste and compare a number of different wines. The whites were first and the line up was impressive.

We started with St Veran 2010 which was fresh but with ripe fruit and decent length, then straight into the Domaine Drouhin Vaudon (Drouhin’s property in Chablis) Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2008 which is way too young but showing it’s pedigree in it’s concentration, finesse and length.  Then Puligny Montrachet 2009 was lighter in body but concentrated and expressive with some of the oak showing through and finally the Clos des Mouches Blanc 1er Cru 2009 was the pick of the bunch, the finesse of these better wines is so apparent when tasted against a village appellation.

The red wines were equally impressive with the line up as follows. The Chorey les Beaune 2008 was fairly simple and possibly didn’t show as well coming after the whites. The Gevrey-Chambertin 2008 was still young showing good concentration of fruit, balanced acidity, medium plus body and medium finish, no thin wine here. The Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru 2008 was much more seductive with violet perfumed notes and almost sweet dark cherry flavours mixed with clove and vanilla spice. Finally we tasted the Clos des Mouches 1er Cru Rouge 2009. Mouches does not refer to flies but to bees. ‘Mouches a miel’ means honey flies.

We thanked our hosts and headed for Place Carnot and on to Rue Monge. Rue Monge has 2 of my favourite places in Beaune. First is Magnum where you can sit outside and catch some Sun while drinking a glass of Cremant and the second is Bourgogne Bistro where you can do exactly the same but have a meal also. 

Although in the dead centre of Beaune I have never felt I was being treated as a tourist in these places, this cannot be said of a number of other establishments. Part des Anges comes to mind where I have never received the genuine welcome you get in the former.







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What are the odds of tasting three faulty wines in the space of a week?  One was in a pub/restaurant where I just thought the wine was crap but it was only after I had left that I started to think about what might have been wrong with the wine. Another I bought in a good independent wine shop and the final wine was one that I regularly drink. Apart from being oxidised the other common denominators were that they were all chardonnay and all from Burgundy – albeit one from Macon and the other two were Chablis.

I tend to drink Chablis regularly so am attuned to the taste and profile, what I found most surprising was that in the space of a week a wine that I had regularly tasted up to that point was still fresh with good fruit and indications that it would last another year or 2. Now it may be that I was unlucky and that other bottles of the same wine will be ok but it has made me change my preference for a particular Chablis producer

There has been much discussion about prematurely oxidised Burgundies or premox if you like. The alledged causes vary from lowered sulphur levels, corks to battonage – especially extensive stirring of the lees after malolactic fermentation.

The main detectable fault for oxidised wine is the darker colour, the sherry nose and the flavour of bruised apple. With age this is what can happen to wine anyway; it is a problem when the wine should have potential to age.

Here is a Chablis that is not oxidised and one which is fast becoming my new favourite. Drouhin Reserve de Vaudon 2008. Typical Chablis flavours of citrus and green apple, but soft as it has been aged 12 months in oak – none of which is new. Available is most good independent off licences and wine shops

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Could Rully rouge become the red equivalent of Macon-Villages white wine? Unfortunately no. One of the problems for red burgundy is that there is no readily recognisable equivalent that is consistent, produces enough and is is covered by one appellation, Regional or Commune. White Macon, including Villages & Commune wines tend to produce around 204,600 hectolitres per year. 1 hectolitre is equivalent to 133 bottles so that is 27,211,800 bottles of white Macon. Rully produces 5431 hectolitres of red wine per year or 722,323 bottles. Even Cote Challonaise red produces a relatively small amount, namley 18,843 hl (including rose). Adding Cote de Beaune and Nuits to that mix will only bring in another 40,000 hl of red wines.

My point is that the red wines of Burgundy are often just associated with Gevrey-Chambetin or Nuits-St-George and hence there is a perception that they only produce expensive red wines. Even the regional reds of Beaune or Nuits have a less than enviable reputation with the impression that you don’t get value for money. On the other hand Macon white is extremely popular ,whether people realise it is a white burgundy or not is another story, and it comes in at a good price point that generally offers value for money.

Chateau de Rully 2007, Domaine Rodet.

I was at the launch of the Superquinn French wine sale and I saw a Rully priced on discount at €12. I was intrigued to see how it would fare representing a good value red burgundy. I have to say that it was really good. It was very soft, nice red fruit, gentle acidity that was not sour and quite juicy. A really easy going red that would be perfect introduction to what bargain red burgundy should taste like


I then tasted a different Rully from the same vintage. This was a Joseph Drouhin, Rully which would normally retail at just under €20. This was a much more serious wine. The palate had more stucture and depth of flavour with an elegant and silky texture. A wine you know will continue to age further and not dry out. Refined aromas of red fruit, including some raspberry and cherry notes. Great length on the finish and worth spending a few quid on.

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Press Release on behalf of BIVB

From 9am to 11am

At Fallon & Byrne 11- 17 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2 on Tuesday the 7th of September

The Burgundy Wine Board will offer a beginner level workshop to the Trade and Press. Presented by Desmond King (Burgundy wines accredited trainer) and a BIVB representative this, will provide you with the fundamentals of Burgundy wines, bringing together theoretical knowledge and tasting to better understand the specifics which make Burgundy wines so unique.

 For those of you who wish to discover or rediscover Burgundy wines,you will be able to participate in a commented wine tasting of 8 different wines and learn more about all levels of appellations, from regional appellations to Grand Crus.

From 2pm – 4pm

There is an advanced level workshop which will offer participants a chance to taste a fine selection of some of the 44 Villages appellations of Burgundy. Bringing together theoretical knowledge and tastings, this workshop will provide you with an opportunity to better understand the specifics which make Burgundy wines so unique.

RSVP by August 31st 2010 To Marion Duguen Tel: 01 664 1090 / Email: Marion.duguen@ubifrance.fr

The number of seats is limited. Only participants who have registered will be able to participate.

To learn more about Burgundy Wines visit: http://www.burgundy-wines.fr

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Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru

My love affair with Jadot continues. I find their red wines to be consistently good albeit at premier cru level and beyond.  2003 was not the best vintage in Burgundy. It was scorchingly hot and the winemakers had the dilemma of picking early to contain the falling acidity or to wait and risk the massive alcohol levels. In general I would see this as a vintage to avoid though would be worth taking a punt on a bargain from a really good producer.

This wine was good but I think the level of new oak made the wine quite silky and detracted from some of the more obvious failings.  The wine had a harder edge than I would have expected from Beaune. There was a certain astringency probably due to the tannins and pips being green if the grapes were not physiologically ripe.

Description of Beaune wines from www.burgundy-wines.fr/

Beaune Climats © Burgundy Website

This appellation includes 42 Premiers Crus « climats ».

The appellations BEAUNE and BEAUNE PREMIER CRU may be followed by the

name of the « climat » of origin.

 Small differences appear, depending on the exact location. Wines from the northern end of the commune are more often intense and powerful, and those from the southern end are smoother and fuller. 

Red : This wine has a striking and vivid colour – a luminous scarlet, introducing aromas of black fruits (blackcurrant, blackberry) and red (cherry, gooseberry), as well as humus and underbrush. When older, it is redolent of truffle, leather, and spices. In youth, it charms the palate with the taste of crunchy fresh grape. Firm, upright and full of juice, it evolves with time, revealing a solid and absolutely convincing structure. 

White : This wine boasts a silky gold colour, flecked with green. It has a bouquet of almond, dried fruits, bracken, and white flowers. It may be enjoyed either young « on the fruit » or later for its mouth-filling mellowness.

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The vineyards of the Petit-Chablis appellation lie on either side of the River Serein. These carefully selected terroirs occupy the higher portions of the winegrowing slopes at altitudes of between 230-280 metres and are planted on mixed limestone soils.

This AOC was instituted in 1944 and is considered to be bottom of the rung of the Chablis Appellations. So is this Chablis for less? From a good producer I would agree but there is a lot of disappointing Petit Chablis being made. I would certainly be suspicious of seeing bottles of Petit Chablis for €8 or €9 and this is even more pertinant for bottles of Chablis under €10.

This Christmas we will see a swathe of Chablis and Chateauneuf du Pape etc at fantastic prices. Most of these will be Buyers own Brand or specifically created labels for a multiples or discounters. These will look great but tasted in context they will fall short. So when is Chablis not Chablis so to speak?

The laws of a particular appellation are in place to safe guard the traditons and quality of that region but there are some flaws.

The maxium yiled for Chablis is 58hl/ha (60hl/ha for Petit Chablis both yields incresed from 50ha/hl!!) so why is some better than others. There are 2 ways of achieving your maximum yiled. One is to prune and green harvest so that you do not overproduce bunches of grapes and maintain the concentration of flavour. The other way is not to debud or control the number of bunches per vine.  This will save labour costs etc and you then pick the maximum bunches of grapes and leave the remainder on the vine. Under the appellation laws your yield is 58hl/ha but one is going to be far more dilute and less concentrated than the other. Hence you can make a Chablis than costs less which can be sold for less. Stupid and flawed.

This Petit Chablis from Domaine Chatelain has great length, good concentration of flavour and all the attributes you would expect from a good Chablis. At €16.99 I would much prefer to taste a good wine than buy a cheap imitiation at half the price.

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