Friday, January 04, 2008

Three tiers of Burgundy

Today I had a cellar tour with two lovely young Americans, over experiencing our city. Friends of Becca's they had come over for a short holiday, and knowing Billy's interest in wine, and the fact that he is about to open up a wine bar in Delaware(?), Becca offered them a cellar tour with me. Having met them the previous evening in Bar Lounge and spent some time chatting to Billy about wine I decided to prepare a small tasting for them. Billy is really knowledgeable about American wines, so I decided to go for something that he probably wont come across too much of over in Delaware - Red Burgundy. I set up a three tier tasting of Burgundy to illustrate a little bit the diversity of the region and the three tiers of "quality" - Village wine, Premier Cru and Grand Cru.

Tier One - Village wine - Pierre Bouree Gevrey Chambertin 2005.
I first tasted this when I went to Vallet freres for the harvest in 2006. Bernard took us round the cellars and this was one of the wines tasted from barrels. Yields were quite low that year and the quality was good. The wine was young, quite richly flavoured with dark red fruit some greenness around the edge and the tannins were quite agressive still. Vallet tend to ferment with whole stalks and favour manual pigeage upto twice a day for the first ten days. They have some good holdings in Gevrey, including a monopole vineyard - the Clos de la Justice. Good wine, bit young, will develop quite nicely.

Tier Two - Premier Cru - Domaine de l'Arlot, Nuits St Georges, Cuvee Jeaune Vignes du Clos des Forets St Georges 1er Cru 1993.
Becca's favourite - this is much more mature - the rim has started to develop the brick red colours while the core of the wine still maintains its purple quality. On the nose it is softer, more soft red fruit flavours with quite a defined earthyness and a touch of animal like character. There are more defined layers to this wine, each sniff brings something else, each mouthful brings more flavour. I have to say I really really like this wine. Considering that it comes from the younger vines, Id love to taste the straight Clos des Forets next to it, to get an idea of the difference that a more mature vine can make.

Top Tier - Domaine Drouhin-Laroze, Musigny Grand Cru 1997.
Mine and Billy's Favourite. Not quite as mature as the Nuits, but definately much more going on in the wine. This takes more getting into, and it didnt really help that it was served at cellar temp. This was the wine we served at NYE with the main course and the feedback then was amazing. It showed a huge amount of bottle variation on NYE, each of the dozen bottles opened showing differently. This one had a much more feral character than either of the two other wines, the fruit seemingly hidden under several layers. There is a slightly smokey touch to this wine, and a much earthier nose - black compost type of aroma. But once the smokyness dies down, then the fruit is more prominent. There is definately a flavour of dark cherries there, but also a good dose of tobacco, aged tobacco particularly. Im totally loving this wine, although I think it would definately benefit from a) a few more years cellarage b) something to eat with it!!.

So that pretty much covered the tasting.

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