Both our spouses were at an outdoor ‘concert in the park’ last Saturday so Geoff and I got together for some food and drink. No notes taken.
Is there anything more pleasant than drinking a quality white burgundy, in the garden on a warm summer evening? This was the last of a mixed case by Sauzet, all of which have been blogged previously. Took a while to come out but when it did it was very classy.
The chianti accompanied some homemade pissaladiere and lamb pide, done in a Big Green Egg and was very good being flavoursome despite a pale appearance. Even better on day 2.
We also ate some scallops in pancetta and a cured cod dish with butter beans and chorizo. The Finca Racons was a great accompaniment having enough character to stand up to the strong flavours.
Finally, the Pink Pound, by Patrick Sullivan, a natural low sulphur, vegan wine. Mainly Pinot Noir with Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurtztraminer. Naturally cloudy and not to everyone’s taste but I enjoyed it – at base an uncomplicated rosé.
[Geoff: Many thanks, Richard. Lovely food cooked in the barbecue accompanied by some distinguished wines. The Sauzet Puligny Montrachet 1er cru ‘Les Folatieres’ (to give it its full moniker) was gorgeous. Sauzet’s vineyards have been farmed organically since 2006 and bio-dynamically since 2010 (according to Jasper Morris’ Inside Burgundy book). Sauzet own parts of the Folatieres plot and supplement with grapes from other growers in the same plot. It’s interesting how the French inheritance laws massively complicate the vineyard ownerships which are incredibly fractured.]
Very pale raspberry – could be a dark rosé in other parts of France – and transparent. Pure, delicate nose – feminine as some (male) wine critics would say, with a pretty rose petals aroma. The taste did not really say ‘pinot’ to me, despite it being obvious that it was such. Very drinkable and moreish.
We’ve both been members of TWS for some years but we rarely buy wines from their’ Exhibition’ (own label) series. Not sure why but this was a good advertisement. Unfortunately it’s no longer available and it seems that TWS no longer offer any red burgundy in the Exhibition range.
[Geoff: St Aubin is a village at the southern end of the Cote de Beaune; the area is more renowned for its white wines such as Meursault, Puligny and Chassagne. Such is the demand for Burgundy that these once less popular communes’ red wines have now become sources of reasonably priced wines. I use ‘reasonably’ with some irony. This wine was more ‘pretty’ than firm and earthy but nonetheless attractive to drink. I drank it later with chicken salad; its delicacy was an ideal accompaniment. The usual Pinot characteristics seemed to apply i.e. wonderful nose preceding a good taste.]
“With one arm and one eye you could make good wine in 2009.” – Laurent Ponsot.
Probably not a comment that is entirely PC in our world of the easily offended but I know what he means. Aloxe-Corton is an AOC just north of Beaune, 98% of the production being red wines made from Pinot Noir grapes. It is a village wine, typically described as robust and taking some time to mature.
The slightly brown rim and pale red colour indicated age and lightness whilst the nose had the sweet cherry and farmyard aromas of a typical Burgundy. (It wasn’t New Zealand – I was right!). The nose of good red Burgundy is wonderful and often flatters to deceive. This wine’s palate was soft and sweet in the middle with some delicate tannins and, as Richard opined, “pure and linear”. This most certainly wasn’t robust – but it was nearly a decade into its life. The finish was a little disappointing being slightly raw but it is only a village wine. Perhaps that rusticity of Aloxe Corton translates into the rawness when it ages?
Great to try a Burgundy again, thanks Richard.
[Richard: we’ve blogged this wine before, in late 2015. Two years on the woodiness we noticed then had gone (or perhaps there was bottle variation). On the other hand the finish was more impressive then. Either way a wine with an unmistakeable classy smell, albeit with a slightly disappointing taste.]
Geoff doesn’t recall – and it wasn’t blogged – but we’ve tasted this wine (Meursault, L’Ormeau Coche-Bizouard 2010) before, albeit in a different (2008) vintage. It was from the WS, £29. Unfortunately, although I can recall tasting it I have no memory of what it actually tasted like. So onto the 2010: green yellow, very bright and crystalline (‘star bright’ as they say in the brewing trade), typical lemony Burgundian nose but with little ‘matchstick’. Good rich mouthfeel, very high acidity, rich, long, rather sour (not meant as a criticism) green apple taste, not that complex. A delicious classy drink.
[Geoff: I was in two minds about opening this, thinking it may be too young, but I had four so it was a bit of a tester. And, as I thought, it was still a teenager, although not an awkward one. Edgy, yes, but the acidity was focussed; it was just lacking that broader quality I love in Meursaults. Still very intense, it will be worth waiting another two years. I am delighted that Richard – that Bourgogneophobe – enjoyed it.]
Geoff and I live on the same road and we take turns to host wine tastings. Usually the wines are tasted blind so we have no idea what to expect. This most recent tasting – with the wine below, by remarkable coincidence, featured wines from the same region, made within a few kilometres of each other, not that I picked up on this.
‘Not pinot’ I confidently exclaimed. Certainly the colour – a pale clear red – was typical but the nose with lots of strawberry and raspberry led me to think it was a differently vilified southern French variety. In the mouth, rather firm and tannic, lacking complexity and without the flavour the vivacious smell led you to expect. But certainly moreish. Needless to say the wine was pinot. Perhaps I’ve tried too many New World pinots recently…
As you can see, quite a classy bottle. I leave Geoff to explain the geography.
[Geoff: Aloxe is the first Cote de Beaune village you come to driving south; it sits underneath the hill of Corton. Traditionally the wine has been thought of as having a fine bouquet but rather robust on the palate and I would say that is what we found. This wine was one of several different Burgundies I bought from M & S after they had been considerably reduced – to clear stocks – from the normal retail of £35. At full price it would definitely not have been VFM, as Richard’s description implies. It was good with some rich flavoured boeuf bourgignon, however.]
Vin Cognito is an on-line wine supplier who can both supply good quality wines and, nearly as important, write about them in an engaging way. But you have got to be in the mood to sit and read the cleverly crafted screed. The essay that accompanied Decelle Villa’s Bourgogne 2014 re-worked Jason and Golden Fleece fable, i.e. initial disappointment followed by a wonderful, last minute find of white Burgundy at a (just about) affordable price. And it was good, as we found on Sunday night.
A weighty-looking green with hints of lemon, the wine proclaimed youth – and body – but it was an initially shy youth. It started to come out 15 minutes after being poured (needed decanting, I thought) and started to reveal some very classy notes of lemon zest with a slightly creamy (oak?) aroma. This, to me, smelt of a quality white Burgundy – lovely. The flavour was intense, long and dry. All fresh lemons backed up with green hazelnuts, this wine was “not a sipper”, it needed food, the flavours were so intense. I thought it still had plenty of development to come and Richard later decanted it – but he can write about that. It was a very good for an entry level Burgundy
One small statement in Vincognito’s thesis about the wine was worth noting. They said of the producers Decelle Villa, “Well, here’s a producer whose wines defy that logic, at least for the time being, while they are making a name for themselves.” A touch of realism in the myth-making, perhaps?
[Richard: we’ve blogged on wines from Vin Cognito before and they are a reliable supplier, especially if you want something different. I purchased a couple of bottles of the above after getting an email saying how good the wines were, limited quantity, hurry, hurry, hurry, etc. Experience with The WS has taught me that such emails can often be a little over-enthusiastic – but not in this case. A classy wine which improved with decanting becoming rounded and creamier, as you would expect. Worth keeping the other bottle for a couple of years, I think.]
Some wines, like Chateau Musar or Vina Tondonia are generally easy to spot from the aroma. Another is (most) white burgundy. And so it was that I confidently pronounced this wine (Saint-Aubin Champs Tirant, 2014) as such, despite it being opened twenty-four hours and double decanted. As it turned out I’ve got a bottle, as yet undrunk, Geoff having picked up a few marked down in Waitrose. A classic supple, spicy nose, with a hint of struck match, rich smooth mouth-feel followed by a complex lemony taste. A bargain at the reduced price of £16.99.
[Geoff: I’m delighted to hear that Richard has another bottle – this wine was excellent and certainly a bargain. I’m becoming an advocate for decanting all wines, regardless of colour, as it certainly paid off with this wine. Pre-aeration it was closed, slightly reductive on the nose and dominated by lemony acidity. When tried 40 mins after decanting it became broader, livelier and had lost those dominating aromas and flavours. After enjoying it on Saturday night I returned it to the bottle where I vacuum sealed it with the result Richard has described. Decanting is a must]