A Burgundy Moment

4 Dec

I’ve been meaning to update this blog with the results of a fantastic Burgundy tasting I hosted for the staff of the Nota Bene a few weeks ago, but I never got around to it (I think finals, which start next week, has something to do with it).  However, a post on the Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant blog “Inspiring Thirst” inspired me to post at least a short entry on a few of the wines we drank that evening.

We had a spate of seven wines for the tasting, starting with the decidedly NOT Burgundian Drappier “Carte d’Or” Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne which I included because, hell, it’s 100% chardonnay, and hell, who doesn’t like Champagne?  We went through three whites–a basic Mâcon-Villages, a Chablis, and a Chassagne-Montrachet–and three reds.

The first red, the 2005 Domaine René Leclerc Bourgogne, was a basic rouge I picked up at MacArthur Beverages for around $25.  However, it was really, really good, with nice acidity, some spice, and a hint of funk.  This is definitely something I’d pick up as a “house Burgundy” if I ever make that much money in the future.

The second was Kate and Rahul’s favorite red, the 2005 Domaine du Clos Salomon Givry Premier Cru (around $30-$35 on sale at MacArthur).  I have to say this was very impressive, just really well integrated with nice body, a bit of berry, a bit of mushroom, and a lot of pepper on the finish.  Though pinot isn’t the first varietal that comes to mind when eating steak, this particular wine would make a good match.  I could imagine lamb as well.  Watercress, escarole, or arugula would make good sides.

MY favorite of the evening, however, was the 2005 Nicolas Rossignol Pommard ($70 at the Wine Specialist).

Pommard was apparently the most popular Burgundian appellation in the US market back in the 60s and 70s.  This popularity may have led to some degree of complacency: as at least one commentator has noted, Pommard now has a reputation for being among the worst values in the Cote d’Or.

Nonetheless, there are always exceptions, and this offering from Rossignol was one of them.  I had tried his 2005 basic Bourgogne rouge a few months ago and was not impressed–it seemed thin and lacked focus–so I didn’t have any expectations for the Pommard.  I popped it open about an hour before the tasting and poured it into a decanter to open up… I took a sniff once it was in the decanter, and man… already it smelled wonderful.

So, the moment of truth.  It was the last wine of the tasting.  I poured a bit in everyone’s glass, we swirled and sniffed.  Gorgeous, gorgeous nose reminiscent of lavender, purple fruits, slight trace of earthiness.  Into the mouth.  OMG.  A stunning, shimmering mouthfeel, like velvet or silk.  Absolutely seamless integration.  Very fruit-forward, a basket of berries picked in the shade of flowering bushes.  Lingering hint of violets on the finish, like the footsteps of some forest-fairy.  Magical–one of those precious few wines that elicit a slow spreading smile upon tasting.

I would highly recommend the Rossignol Pommard to any Burgundy lover.  It would be a great wine with which to impress anyone.  I wouldn’t pair this one with food because it is so delicate, so utterly perfumed and graceful that drinking it with food would coarsen the experience.  If I HAD to pair it, however, I would do so with mousse pâtés, duck stewed with cherries, or with fruit/dark chocolate-based desserts.

Clark Z. Terry of KLWM wrote in the aforementioned post: “Burgundy fanatics often talk about their ‘Burgundy moment’: The bottle that flipped a switch in their brain and set them on a destructive path to buy all the Burgundy they can in search of more wine that will replicate that vinous epiphany.”  This wine is fully capable of inspiring any number of Burgundy moments.

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2 Responses to “A Burgundy Moment”

  1. Shea December 5, 2009 at 3:11 am #

    I’m so happy you are getting into burgundies. These will put your (undoubtedly huge) future salary to the test. I’m also glad you liked the Rossignol – I just tasted their gevrey-chembertin today, which was very tasty for $60 CDN. These guys are also totally biodynamic, and whether you believe in that shit or not, it seems to produce pretty singular wine.

    And man am I happy I don’t have exam season anymore :). But, good luck! Drink good wine when you’re done.

    • vinicultured December 5, 2009 at 2:29 pm #

      Ha! I can only hope that my future salary will be “undoubtedly huge.”

      A new wine shop opened up here in DC that apparently specializes in Burgundies (http://www.ansoniawines.com/). I’ll definitely be hitting that up next semester. However, if it keeps snowing (like it has been today) I might have to venture out to the CdPs and Croze-Hermitage instead!

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