You may have already noticed the undercurrent of change in Chardonnay winemaking style here in California. And, unless you were in hiding for the past year, you’ve also experienced the surge of consumer frenzy for Pinot Noir.
Burgundian White: Chardonnay
“White wine from Bourgogne is the antidote to the ABC (anything but Chardonnay) syndrome,” states Bernard Hervet, Directeur Général for Bouchard Père & Fils and Domaine William Fevre, two highly regarded producers in Burgundy.
Hervet acted as my tour guide throughout the afternoon’s tasting at Shutters in Santa Monica, presented by SOPEXA and sponsored by the Burgundy Wine Council.
Hervet refers to the higher acidity, lovely fruit and floral components in the Burgundian whites, whether they be lively and delicate – yet flinty, Chablis, supple, fleshy and well-fruited Mâconnais and Côte Chalonnaise (including Pouilly-Fuissé) or rich, elegant and aristocratic whites from the heart of the Côte de Beaune (such as Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Corto-Charlemagne or Montrachet).
The message to the trade is simple, and that’s a word that one may not associate with Burgundy: “Discover the original..of both varieties.”
From the center of Beaune, with a 250-year history, Domaine Chanson, Côte d’Or, Pernand-Verglesses (Premier Cru) is 100% vinified by Chanson. Ahhhhroma! Stony minerality meets fresh Autumn pear, slightly oaked, lingering clean mouthfeel. (SRP $34, American Wines)
Maison Louis Jadot 2004 Pouilly Fuissé. With soils of chalk, slate and limestone, structure and complexity exist with streamlined fruit. (SRP $19, The Estate Group)
Domaine de Chateau de Marsannay 2002. First time available in California. Round and lush white, a cross between a Mersault and Chablis. Touch of mineral and creamy, lively fruit, with a hint of oak. (SRP $15, Cannon Wines)
Olivier Lefalive Saint-Aubin “En Remilly” 2003, Premier Cru. Peaches and pears alternate, flavors cascading like flinty stones through a river bed. (SRP $31, American Wine)
Burgundian Red: Pinot Noir
Now that Pinot Noir is unarguably the fashion, Burgundy is the go-to terroir for opulent, elegant and yes- affordable greatness.
“Professionals reflect today’s wine trends,” offered Hervet, who joined dozens of producers, importers and merchants at the wine event. “Timing is everything and the style of Pinot Noir is distinct in Burgundy. Here, powerful doesn’t not equal greatness. We possess complexity, not complication.”
The wines ranged from the fruity, easy-to-drink-young Bourgogne to the Grand Crus of the Côte de Nuits (Chambertin) or Côte de Beaune (Corton). And in the middle are the Premier Crus and village appellations including names like Vosne-Romanée, Aloxe-Corton, Pommard and Mercurey.
These magnificent, site-specific reds represent a mere 0.5% of the total wine world, yet they motivate our exploration of each profile, each vintage as an interpretation of terroir.
“Complexity is exciting,” added Hervet, and should inspire the purchases of wines from Bourgogne.”
Bernard Hervet of Bouchard Père & Fils.
Bouchard Père & Fils “Vigne de L’Enfant Jésus” 2003 Premier Cru from Beaune Grèves. One of many Domaines from the greatest collection of famous terroirs in Bordeaux. Velvet textured, mocha and dried fruit luxury. (SRP $110, Henry Wine Group)
Domaine Roux represents five generations of family producers. This Pommard 2003 has intense aromas of black fruit with a satin coat. LOOKING FOR DISTRIBUTION IN CALIFORNIA.
Facts de Bourgogne (ITALICS)
There are 100 AOCs within Burgundy’s five distinct wine regions (Chablis, Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise and Mâconnais). Four appellation categories further separate the wines as:
Grand Cru: 33 appellations, 2% of total production
Premier Cru: 570 appellations, 10% of total production
Village (Communal): 44 appellations, 35% of total production
Regional: 23 appellations, 53% of total production
Bourgogne (Burgundy) consists of 2,828 wine growing estates, 113 merchants (négociants) and17 cooperative wineries
175 million bottles sold annually (52% exported to countries outside of France)
White wine (Chardonnay) comprises 63% of production.
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