Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Henry Fessy Beaujolais

From the Macconais, heading south into Beaujolais where the Gamay grape rules. The typical wine style is simple, fruity and meant to be consumed young, very few will develop interesting characteristics with bottle age.
The inexpensive Beaujolais Nouveau with its confected red fruit flavors is always released on the third Thursday in November and is out now in time for your holiday meal.
Beaujolais Villages is the next step up in quality and is usually mid-priced. Grapes can be sourced from thirty-nine villages along a series of granitic/schist hills in the north and west of the region. The wine is usually a blend from several villages but can be from one named village.

2009 Henry Fessy Beaujolais Villages
Appearance: Clear, pale purple
Nose: Clean, medium(+) youthful aromas of fresh & candied strawberries and raspberries
Palate: Dry, Medium(-) body, medium tannins, medium(+) acidity with red fruit (mainly raspberry) flavor, medium length.
Quality: Good; Drink now, not intended for aging.

The 10 Beaujolais Crus produce the highest quality wines of the region priced mid to high. They are located in the north within the rolling granitic hills. Brouilly is the largest and most available.

2009 Brouilly  Henry Fessy Crus du Beaujolais   
Appearance: Clear, deep purple
Nose: Clean, medium youthful aromas of jammy & candied strawberries and raspberries
Palate: Dry, Medium(-) body, medium tannins, medium(+) acidity with red fruit (mainly raspberry) flavor, medium length.
Quality: Very good; Drink now, may be at its most charming. 

Related post:
Beaujolais Tasting

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Maconnais

Moving south from the Cote Chalonnaise into Burgundy's largest vineyard area, the Maconnais, the climate changes with the Mediterranean influence. This can create riper grapes resulting in fruitier flavors and aromas. About 80% of the region's production is regional level Macon AOC wine with most of the white being labeled Macon-Villages.

2006 Macon Villages
Appearance: Clear, pale lemon color with a watery rim.
Nose: heavy oxidized aromas
Quality: Poor, out of condition






Pouilly Fuisse is the principal commune of the Maconnais. The vineyard locations on the bowl shaped slopes maximize sun exposure, this, combined with the limestone based soils produce a style of Chardonnay that should typically be fuller bodied with good fruit and minerality.

2009 Pouilly Fuisse Louis Jadot    
Appearance: Clear, pale lemon color with a watery rim.
Nose: Clean, medium intense youthful aromas of lemon and peach with some butter.
Palate: Medium body and acidity with lower intensity flavors mirroring the nose. Medium- finish.
Quality: Acceptable       

related posts:
Notes from a Burgundy Wine Tasting             

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Taste of Givry - Cote Chalonnaise

Continuing south into Burgundy's Saone-et-Loire region is the Cote Chalonnaise often said to be Burgundy's best place to find value for your money. As I begin thinking about this, I am immediately sorry that I did not get a Bouzeron Aligote to try because I don't think I have ever tasted one and that would have been fun. It has been added to the list and I will come back to it.
Over 60% of the region's production is red wine typically produced in a fuller-bodied, firm style. Givry, one of the principal communes, is home to 26 Premier Cru vineyards. The red wines of this particular area are known for their intense fruit and smooth tannins but are sometimes questioned as to the length of their age ability.

2005 Givry- Les Bois Chevaux Premier Cru Domaine Thenard   $30
Appearance: Clear, pale garnet with a brickish rim.
Nose: Clean, medium intensity developing aromas of leather, sage and earth over red fruit.
Palate: Dry, medium body/alcohol and medium+ tannins, acidity and length. Cherry/berry and black tea flavors.
Quality: Good+ 
Drink now, serve with mushroom risotto.

related post:
Domaine-Faiveley Mercurey 2007

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tasting the Cote de Beaune

Continuing down through Burgundy's Cote d'Or into the southern portion, the Cote de Beaune. This area shares many similarities with its northern neighbor as far as climate, altitude and aspect but it has more soil variation promoting the production of red (57%) and more white (43%) wines. The red wines tend to be lighter than those produced in the Cote De Nuits while the white wines deliver concentrated flavor and are considered to be among the best in the world. There are 7 Grand Cru vineyards in the Cote de Beaune and only one produces Grand Cru red but there are numerous Premier Cru vineyards producing both. Although there are 17 principal communes in the Cote de Beaune, I am only focusing on 3 in this posting.

The commune of Volnay is home to 30 Premier Crus producing only red wines. Volnay reds are typically soft and aromatic.

2007 Volnay Vielles Vignes - Nicolas Potel   $45
Appearance: Clear, pale garnet with a brickish rim.
Nose: Clean, medium intense developed aromas of leather, violets and smokey meat.
Palate: Dry, firmly structured with medium body/alcohol and medium+ acidity and tannins with a medium+ length finish.
Quality: Good+ Serve with roasted duck or goose.
Drink now with some aging potential.    

2008 Volnay Premier Cru - Le Ronceret - Henri de Villamont     $65
Appearance: Clear, pale garnet with a watery rim.
Nose: Clean, medium intense developed aromas of leather, red fruit and earth.
Palate: Dry, medium body, alcohol and tannins with medium+ acidity and a medium+ length finish.
Quality: Very good. Serve with bacon-wrapped filet.
Drink now, has some aging potential.    
 

The commune of Meursault is considered to produce some of Burgundy's best white wines. It is home to 18 Premier Crus. 90% of its production is of white wine typically produced in a rich, creamy style.

2004 Meursault  Charmes Premier Cru - Guy Bocard
Appearance: Clear, medium gold.
Nose: Clean, medium- intense aromas of oak with a hint of lemon.
Palate: Dry, medium body, alcohol and acidity with muted flavors of lemon butter and almond with a short finish.
Quality: Past its prime. Not recommended.


Continuing on down to Chassagne-Montrachet, home to 4 Grand Crus and 17 Premier Cru vineyards. The white wines of Chassagne are also considered to be among Burgundy's best.

2009 Chassagne-Montrachet Louis Latour
Appearance: Clear, pale lemon with a watery rim.
Nose: Clean, medium intense youthful aromas of lemons and lilacs.
Palate: Dry, medium body, alcohol and acidity with flavors of apple and citrus. Medium length.
Quality: Good+
                                                                                             

2007 Chassagne-Montrachet Vide Bourse Premier Cru - Thomas Morey
Appearance: Clear, medium lemon with a watery rim.
Nose: Clean, medium intense youthful aromas of lemon, apple and butter.
Palate: Dry, medium+ body, alcohol, acidity and length with flavors of lemon butter and a slight nuttiness.
Quality: Very good
Both of these can be enjoyed now but may also have some aging potential.

related post:
Grand Cru Wines from the Cote de Nuits

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Grand Cru from the Cote De Nuits

After a hectic weekend at Reliant Center judging wines for the HLS&R wine competition, taking a little time to relax and think about the Grand Cru wines of Burgundy seemed like a must for today.
The northern part of the famous Cote d'Or is the Cote de Nuits which is home to all but one of Burgundy's red wine Grand Crus. The continental climate, the limestone rich clay soil, the average altitude of 1000 feet and the sun exposure of the east facing vineyards all come together to help create Burgundy's most long-lived red wines.

Starting in the north, the commune of Gevrey-Chambertin is home to 9 Grand Cru vineyards and 26 Premier Cru vineyards which produce cellar-worthy wines known for their structure and balance.

2006 Gevrey-Chambertin Grand Cru  Charmes-Chambertin Louis Jadot     $100
Appearance: Clear, pale ruby.
Nose: Clean, medium intensity, developing aromas of fresh strawberries and cherries, tobacco and a bit of a violet floral note.
Palate: Dry, medium body, alcohol and acidity with medium+ tannins and fruit flavors mirroring the nose with the addition of a slight savoriness. Medium+ length finish.
Quality: Very good+  
Drink now or has continued aging potential.

Continuing south (skipping some other important communes) to Vosne-Romanee, home to 8 Grand Cru and 14 Premier Cru vineyards. The wines from this area are known for their velvety texture and complex aromatics and flavors.

2007 Echezeaux Grand Cru (Mongeard-Mugneret)    $115   
Appearance: Clear, pale garnet with a brickish rim.
Nose: Clean, medium+ intensity, developed aromas of leather, meat and earth.
Palate: Dry, medium body, alcohol and tannins with medium+ acidity and flavors of red cherry and black tea.
Quality: Very good
Drink now or has some continued aging potential.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bourgogne Regional Wines

The wines at the bottom of the AOC hierarchy of Burgundy (with just a few exceptions) have the word Bourgogne in their name. There are 25 of these AOCs and they represent over 50% of Burgundy's production. Grapes may be sourced from anywhere within the region or may be labeled with a specific region that the grapes are sourced from (ex. Macon-one of the few name exceptions). Most of these wines can be produced anywhere within the Burgundy region.
Tasting Notes:

2008 Simon Bize & Fils Bourgogne Chardonnay $20
I tasted this wine twice within a relatively short time period so I am posting both notes because I thought it was interesting to see what was the same and what had changed. The bottles were purchased from different stores.

09/17/11
Appearance: Clear, medium lemon color w/ a watery rim.
Nose: Clean, medium+ intensity developed aromas of green apple, asparagus and canned mushrooms.
Palate: Dry, Medium+ body and acidity (MLF), medium alcohol with flavors of green apple, lemon and canned mushroom. Interesting.
Finish: Medium+ length
Quality: Very good. Drink now, meant to be consumed young.

11/07/11
Appearance: Clear, pale lemon color w/ a watery rim.
Nose: Clean, medium intensity aromas of GREEN/vegetal-brussel sprouts, asparagus, bell pepper mixed with a very small bit of lemon.
Palate: Dry, Medium- body, acidity and alcohol with light vegetal and lemon flavors.                                                                                       
Finish: Short
Quality: Poor, too old.

2009 Louis Jadot Bourgogne Pinot Noir $16         
This labeling indicates a minimum of 85% Pinot Noir and no more than 15% Gamay by law (while Bougogne Rouge would indicate up to 30% Gamay in the blend).

Appearance: Clear, pale ruby color.
Nose: Clean, medium intensity aromas of fresh red fruit-strawberries and cherries.
Palate: Dry, Medium- body, medium tannins, medium acidity and alcohol with a diluted cherry flavor.
Finish: medium length and somewhat astringent
Quality: acceptable to good

Related Prior Posts: Notes from a Burgundy Wine Tasting
Francois Labet Cremant de Bourgogne

Friday, November 11, 2011

2009 Saint-Bris Sauvignon Jean Marc Brocard-Domaine Sainte Claire

Saint-Bris is a lesser known communal AOC in the Grand Auxerrois region of Burgundy located southwest from Chablis. What makes it of particular interest is that it makes its white wines from Sauvignon Blanc rather than from the Chardonnay grape for which Burgundy is famous.

2009 Saint-Bris Sauvignon- Domaine Sainte Claire 
Jean Marc Brocard    $18
Appearance: Clear, pale straw color with a watery rim.
Nose: Clean, medium- intensity level of youthful aromas of primarily grapefruit with a bit of grass.
Palate: Dry, medium body/alcohol and medium+ acidity with tart grapefruit flavors.
Finish: Medium- length
Quality: Acceptable

I was expecting a more aromatic wine with more herbaceousness based on what I have read about this region's typicity. Further research may be in order.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thinking about Chablis

The advent of Fall has sent me back into my wine studies and what better place to begin than Burgundy, or more specifically, Chablis, Burgundy's most northerly region. The name Chablis has been widely abused and many do not seem to know that it is a quality Chardonnay wine from a premier French wine region. I recently sat down at the bar of a high-end seafood restaurant in town and when the bartender asked for my order, I asked him if he had any Chablis. His response was to lean in and whisper to me that I must mean Chardonnay as Chablis was cheap California white wine that they did not serve. I could tell that he was actually embarrassed for me and my faux pas. (Deep sigh.)
Chablis has a cool continental climate with Atlantic maritime influences which bring a cloud cover that lowers temperatures and slows the ripening process. This is one of the factors that leads to the high acidity for which the wines of Chablis are known. Another important factor is the soil.
The Chablis AOC vineyards are located on Portlandian chalk, a sedimentary soil that formed approximately 150 million years ago. This is considered the lesser soil in Chablis. It creates more austere, high acid white wines with a green fruit flavor profile and maybe a hint of minerality. The Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards are planted on the sunnier slopes on Kimmeridgian marl over limestone which also imparts high acidity but with ripe citrus fruit flavors and a stony or flinty minerality. The wines of Chablis are typically fermented in stainless steel with some oak used at the Premier and Grand Cru levels but not to the point that the oak becomes a major aroma/flavor influence.

Tasting Notes:

2009 Chablis Millesime Simonnet-Febvre $20
Appearance: Clear, pale lemon with a watery rim
Nose: Clean, medium intense youthful aromas of fresh lemon
Palate: Dry, Light body, medium- alcohol, medium+ acidity with flavors of lemon and green apple
Length: medium
Quality: Good; Drink now, meant to be enjoyed young (2-3 years old).
Serve with oysters on the half shell or with tart dishes prepared with mustard or white wine.


2010 Chablis Premier Cru Montmains  $16                
Appearance: Clear, pale lemon with a watery rim
Nose: Medium-intense youthful aromas of lemon, saline and noticeable sulfur
Palate: Dry, medium- body, acidity and alcohol with a light lemon flavor.
Length: short
Quality: Poor (Bargain price=Bargain flavor in this particular instance.)







2009 Chablis Premier Cru Montmains- Domaine Vocoret & Fils $35
Appearance: Clear, pale lemon with a watery rim
Nose: Clean, medium intense youthful aromas of citrus fruit, green apple and a stony minerality.
Palate: Dry, high acid, medium body and alcohol with flavors of fresh lemon, lemon pith, green apple and a chalky minerality.
Length: Medium+
Quality: Very good; Drink now but has some aging potential.
Serve with oysters on the half shell, escargots or cooked oysters or fish with a white cream sauce.


Related prior posts:
Tasting Chablis
Notes from a Burgundy Wine Tasting