Burgundy | Wines of Intention

Today the French Winophiles take a tour of Chablis and Cote d’Or. For those of you who missed the  recap, you can find it here.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, Burgundy is “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”

As a wine writer, I’ve toiled countless hours earning designations and traveling the region to better understand it. I’ve also interviewed numerous Burgundian vignerons and negociants while on assignment for a variety of publications.

Yet, despite my efforts, the only thing I can say certainty is this: the more I learn about Burgundy, the more I realize I need to learn.

Queue the host gig here. Typically, I handle food and wine pairing in my series The Hedonistic Taster, so drilling down into one specific food and wine pairing with photos seemed like a no-brainer. Until it came time to pick the wine. Which touched off a whole new dilemma. Because Burgundy isn’t just a wine region. It’s a religion, replete with its own set of rituals, sacraments, and sins.

Moving to California has upset my altar. It’s also displaced my church, viz., my wine cellar. And so, as I rummaged through our ad-hoc wine refrigerator in search of a perfect pairing for this posting, I ended up a vertical tasting very much in keeping with “The Rubaiyat” by Omar Khayyam, except the “…jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou…” included two bottles of Domaine Taupenot-Merme Chambolle-Musigny, a french baguette, and some ruminations upon Burgundy…

Burgundy: Wines of Intention

L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

I miss our wine cellar, a casualty of our recent relocation. I miss the ritual descent into the basement, the length and curve of the silent hallway, the turn of the time-worn brass knob and pull of the discolored light cord, the click of illumination, the cool grip of air, the dim cast of shadows across neatly arranged rows of bottles of varying shapes and colors.

A room with no view, but natural temperature controls within its compact cement and stone confines, walls cobbled together by the original owners of this 1940’s beach bungalow. Walls flanked by modern, exposed IKEA-style wine racks full of wine club and Costco and wine maker samples. And against the back bulwark, a full-length cabinet with clear doors, doors with locks and hasps, locks and hasps requiring effort to open. Effort, and intention.

A room imbued with a past, a past far removed from its contents, especially those in the cabinet. For those wines demand the cellar’s temperate refuge most. Bottles arranged by village, climat, vintage. Wines flirtatious and fun while young, savory and sagacious with age. Wines of grace, elegance, and refinement.

Wines commanding care, attention and deference. Wines of breeding, and like a thoroughbred, use to crossing the finish line first – but in no hurry to do so. Wines worth the wait.

Wines brimmed with memories – of good friends, fine food, and much laughter. Wines worth sharing. Wines of Burgundy.

When choosing a Burgundy wine, I consider the following: the subregion, the village, the climat, the producer, and the vintage.

The subregion provides a frame of reference –  such as chiseled, mineral whites from Chablis, elegant reds from the Côte de Nuits, luxurious whites and structured reds from the Côte de Beaune, versatile, affordable reds, whites and crémants from the Côte Chalonnaise, approachable whites from the Mâconnais, and granitic, affable Gamays from Beaujolais.

The village supplies subtext, the climat nuance, the producer a known level of quality, and the vintage a snapshot of a specific terroir for that given year.

Most people opt to pair Burgundy as the ultimate grace note to a carefully orchestrated meal. I prefer to pair my wine according to the person(s) with whom I’ve chosen to share this holiest of sacraments; the meal proves an inspired afterthought.

Here, then, notes on my vertical tasting of 2008 and 2009 Domaine Taupenot-Merme Chambolle-Musigny wines.

 

About Domaine Taupenot-Merme

  • Romain Taupenot and sister Virginie represent the eighth generation at Domaine Taupenot-Merme of Morey-St.-Denis, located in the heart of the Côte de Nuits.
  • The domaine spans thirteen hectares of vines throughout twenty appellations within the Cote d’Or.

You can read more about Virginie Taupenot here.

About Chambolle-Musigny

  • Literally translated, Chambolle means ‘boiling fields’ (campus ebulliens).
  • Considered Cote de Nuit’s most delicate wines.
  • Account for some of the Cote d’Or’s lowest average yields.
  • Musigny, as with Corton, comprise Burgundy’s only two Grand Crus allowed to produce both red and white wines.
  • 2 Grand Crus : Bonnes Mares (red), Musigny (red & white)
  • 24 Premier Crus (red)
  • Musigny appended to Chambolle-Musigny in 1878.
  • Chambolle-Musigny ‘twinned’ with sister city Sonoma in 1960.

You can read more about sister cities Chambolle-Musigny and Sonoma here.

Wine: Domaine Taupenot-Merme Chambolle-Musigny Bourgogne Rouge

Varietal: Pinot Noir

Vintage: 2008

Alcohol:  13%

Suggested Retail: $88

TASTING NOTES:

Robe: Dusky garnet robe tinting towards tawny; decanting reveals sediment.

Nose:  Initial barnyard bouquet give way to secondary slip-thin red raspberry notes and leathered finish.

Palate: Dry, light body, fading acids, tannins. Waited too long to drink this one. A pity.

Wine: Domaine Taupenot-Merme Chambolle-Musigny Bourgogne Rouge 

Varietal: Pinot Noir

Vintage: 2009

Alcohol:  13%

Suggested Retail: $88

TASTING NOTES:

Robe: Deep garnet robe with discrete amber rimming.

Nose:  Spicey initial attack; opens to secondary notes of red raspberry, sous bois, violets, fading to tertiary hints of truffle.

Palate: Dry, still lively acids, noble tannins, finessed finish. A gorgeous pour.

More posts on The French Winophiles’ Tour of Burgundy, Part 1:

Jeff Burrows of foodwineclick lures us to “Northern Burgundy Served Up With Rabbit.

Jill Barth of L’Occasion schools us on “Thomas Jefferson in Burgundy.

Michelle Williams of Rockin Red Blog tipples towards “A Journey Through Burgundy, Part 1 Chablis and Côte d’Or.

Lynn Gowdy of Savor the Harvest hosts “St. Aubin in Burgundy Invites you to Dine.”

Martin Redmond of Enofylz Wine Blog  throws down “Back To Back White Burgundy; Chablis vs Côte de Beaune.”

Gwendolyn Lawrence Alley of Wine Predator serves up  Chablis and the Sea.

Jane Niemeyer of Always Ravenous ladles up White Burgundy paired with Corn and Lobster Chowder.

And don’t forget…

Chardonnay Day | 25 May 2017.

Join the conversation on Twitter: #Bourgogne #Burgundy #Chardonnay Day

A Tour Thru Burgundy – Part 2 | 17 June 2017 | 8-9 a CST

Leave a comment below before June 15th to participate, then follow the conversation on Twitter June17th: #Winophiles

Copyrighted 2017 L.M. Archer | binNotes | redThread™. All Rights Reserved

17 thoughts on “Burgundy | Wines of Intention

  1. Your article indicates to me that my Burgundy education is a journey not a destination, and that you are way too hard on yourself. The great thing about studying Burgundy is that the homework is delicious. Would you please recommend a good book to take a deeper dive into the region? Thank you!

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    1. Hey Michelle: The study of Burgundy requires precision, not unlike its wines, so I will never stop being hard on myself. It’s like a rigorous, exacting exam that never ends. Ever. Sigh. But like any passion, worth the effort.
      That said, I’d recommend “The Wines of Burgundy” by Sylvain Pitiot and Jean-Charles Servant to start. It’s the textbook used by WSG for the Bourgogne program (Sylvain Pitiot is the retired winemaker for Domaine des Hospices de Beaune),and a comprehensive primer of the region.
      Please keep in mind it is a textbook, so a bit on the dry side. Hope this helps.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I sure hope you find some sort of replacement for your old cellar, especially in spirit! Our favorite meal in the Cotes de Nuits last fall was in a charming restaurant in Chambolle-Musigny. I loved having a wine list full of wines from the village, that’s local!

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    1. Things are very much lost in translation here in CA…BTW, next time you’re back in Beaune, you two need to try La Buissonniere…unpretentious bistro on 34 rue Maufoux – husband at front of the house, wife in the back, affordable selection of local wines, including St. Aubin. Kudos on your amazing lapin recipe today – don’t know how you do it sometimes!

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  3. A beautiful post that captures the unique allure of Burgundy. My favorite part, though, was your pairing methodology – matching the wines to the people around the table. Good friends and good wine – what more do you need?

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  4. I love this – “Most people opt to pair Burgundy as the ultimate grace note to a carefully orchestrated meal. I prefer to pair my wine according to the person(s) with whom I’ve chosen to share this holiest of sacraments; the meal proves an inspired afterthought.”
    Wine makes one reflect, especially when that wine is from Burgundy. Cheers!

    Like

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