by VineSleuth Contributing Writer, Steve Gross
This is the fourth post in A Tasting Tour of French Wine, a bi-weekly series on VineSleuth Uncorked.
Last week Steve shared a bit of background on White Burgundy wines, this week he shares a few bottles he has tasted…
I’ve told you some of the basics about white Burgundies. Now it’s time to taste some.
The first “serious” white Burgundy I ever bought was the Leonce Bocquet Puligny-Montrachet ($45). It was an eye-opening experience. The wine was layered with fruit and custard, luscious, and it kept getting better with each sip. Believe it or not, it prompted me to stop what I was doing and really THINK about what I was experiencing.
That may sound bizarre, but it is what happened. I wanted to run out onto the balcony of my condo and tell complete strangers about what I had just tasted. When I bought other bottles and had the occasion to share this wine with friends, they always commented immediately on how delightful the wine was. These friends of mine are not “wine snobs.” They were simply (and seriously) taken back by the wine. We weren’t talking about “minerality,” “complexity,” or how this vintage compared to others we’d tasted. We were simply enjoying the moment and how it was made so much more wonderful by a really nice wine. One friend’s instant reaction: “Oh, I’ll drink THAT!”
If there’s anything I’d like to encourage you to do when tasting/drinking wine, it’s this: look around long enough in the wine world until you find three, four, or twelve wines that really make you stop in your tracks. Trust me, they’re out there, and you’ll know them when you taste them.
Okay, back to the white Burgundies…
This month, I tasted wines from $10-90, from Macon Villages that are pretty much simple table wines, to really fancy wines from expensive communes (wine-making areas) such as Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, and Chassagne-Montrachet. They were all clean, moderately crisp wines (this generally means that they had a decent amount of acidity to add “life” to the wine), and they paired well with food, from cheese/crackers, nuts, and fruit, to pork and chicken entrees.
Perhaps I was spoiled by that first Puligny-Montrachet, but none of the wines I tasted specifically for this month’s blog posts were especially ground-breakers. This was somewhat disappointing, as I had high hopes for the more expensive wines. I was hoping that they would transport me to new places, give me profound and pithy things to say, and have me stopping strangers in the street. Oh, well.
I do really appreciate each of these wines for having some great character, though.
By this, I mean that they aren’t just the run-of-the-mill, flabby white wines that keep many people from exploring what white wines can offer. They do have a certain amount of complexity, which I would describe as the quality of having something different for you with each sip or glass. They won’t overpower food, and they don’t have that bitter aftertaste (finish) that many lesser white wines can have.
If I were served one of these wines at the next fundraiser or community get-together I attended, I wouldn’t complain a bit, even if it came in a plastic “glass.” Instead, I would rather enjoy myself some more. Pick a few and try them yourself. As you’ll see, there are some good buys on the list which show the character of the region.
- Georges Duboeuf Macon-Villages `09
$11 at Houston Wine Merchant, Houston
- Domaine Perraud Macon-Villages Vieilles Vignes `09
$18 at Houston Wine Merchant, Houston
- Michel Bouzereau et Fils Meursault “Les Grands Charrons” `09
$60 at Houston Wine Merchant, Houston
- Henri Darnat Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru “Les Champs Gains” `09
$90 at Houston Wine Merchant, Houston
- Louis Latour Chassagne-Montrachet `07
$40 at Spec’s Liquors, Houston
- Cave de Lugny, Macon-Lugny “Les Charmes” ’10
Freshly mown grass and violets, clean, fresh taste, medium finish
Media sample, retails for $11
- Cave de Lugny, Macon-Villages La Cote Blanche ’10
pear and golden delicious apple notes, off dry, medium body with moderate flavor intensity
Media sample, retails for $10- 12
We’ll head north to Beaujolais next, so get ready for the Gamay grape!