Tasting Recap: Wines of Burgundy
Burgundy - land of history, castles, and expensive Domaines. Also? There is just something about the region that makes casual conversation difficult…
Burgundy contains some of the world’s most highly-regarded vineyard lands due, in part, to its high-quality limestone and marl soils coupled with its continental climate. While Cistercian monks had gathered much of the land into notable estates, these were systematically fragmented through enaction of the Napoleonic Code, which specified that all inheritance must be equally divided among heirs. The result is a confusing mosaic of over 100 appellations, each of which comprise several small plots known as Climats and lieux-dits—which you can explore at this informative site.
The complexity of this arrangement also gives the Burgundy wine region its great character, diversity, and expense; each region has unique soils and specialties, with rather low overall yield.
Our host, Bob Barrett, attempted the not-so-easy task of focusing on appellations, growers and producers who make excellent wines for great value. He succeeded with 5, elegant, mineral-rich, food-loving wines. All were well-balanced with nice, long finishes. Here is what we tasted:
Domaine de la Cadette Bourgogne Blanc, Vézelay 2010
Vézelay A.O.C is in the northern Burgunday, in the commune of l’Yonne, west of Chablis. A slightly cooler climate with great sun-exposure, and shallow-limestone soils promote balanced wines with both fruit, and mineral structure. This full-bodied wine would be great with liver paté, or foie gras.
Domaine des Valanges Mâcon Davayé 2011
The commune of Davayé is in the southern part of Burgundy, in the Mâconnais - home to the better known Pouilly-Fuissé. South/south-east sun-exposure, mostly-limestone soil, and an altitude of 200-300 meters are the characteristics that make this terroir wonderful for Chardonnay, resulting in expressive, mineral, floral wines with strong fruit. This wine has decidedly more citrus than does the Domaine de la Cadette. Oysters?
Domaine Régis Bouvier Marsannay Rosé 2011
Marsannay has premier-cru quality grapes in the Côte de Nuits, near Dijon. The lesser-known appellation coupled with great quality vineyards and superb wine-making skills means good value to the customer. This austere, mineral-driven, rosé of 100% pinot noir has the slightest hint of strawberry and absolutely screams for food. Perfect for cheeses.
Domaine Gachot-Monot Cotes de Nuits Villages 2010
Wines of Côtes de Nuits Villages appellation are great bargains relative to the premier-cru wines of Côtes de Nuits-Saint Georges, and- particularly from this producer—do not sacrifice quality. This is another elegant, mineral-driven, stoney gem with a taste of strawberry. The acid in this wine really calls for a rich, buttery dish.
Domaine Jaeger-Defaix Rully, Clos du Chapitre 1er Cru 2010
This domaine is in Rully, in the Côtes Chalonnaise. The grapes are grown in the climat of Chapitre, which has premier cru status. “Clos” refers to the stone-enclosed plot of the vineyard within Chapitre. This wine has great, game-y aromatics, a beautiful color, structure, and taste. Lamb!