Burgundy’s Overlooked ‘Other’ White Wine

Burgundy’s Overlooked ‘Other’ White Wine

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

My instructor at BIVB once described Chardonnay as the drama-free, fair-haired child that gets along with everyone. But every family has at least one problem child passed over in lieu of a more popular one.

In Burgundy, it’s Aligoté, Burgundy’s ‘other’ white varietal, a more angular version of sibling Chardonnay. A thin-skinned, rather tart white grape grown in Burgundy, styles vary from unctuous to austere.

While Chardonnay dazzles wine lovers from Chablis to the Mâconnais, Aligoté resides primarily in the Côte Chalonnaise village of Bouzeron. Notably, the village grows the superior Aligoté Doré varietal, rather than the lesser clone, Aligoté Vert.

This does not mean that other areas of Burgundy do not cultivate Aligoté. Pockets of producers include Alice + Olivier de Moor of St. Bris in Chablis, Domaine Naudin-Ferrand of Magny-les-Villers, which straddles Hautes Côtes de Beaune and Hautes Côtes de Nuits, and Domaine Ponsot, Burgundy’s only Premier Cru Aligoté from Monts Luisants in Morey-Saint-Denis. I’ve also discovered some fuller, more luxurious Aligotés produced in Meursault.

One must admire Aligoté’s perseverance. Despite relegation to blending, segregation to Burgundy’s Bouzeron, and integration into the Kir Royale, Aligoté endures, and may yet prevail. With global warming on the rise, interest in this early-ripening grape increases across the wine region. (S)he who laughs last, may indeed laugh best.

A. & P. de Villaine counts at the top of Bouzeron’s Aligoté producers, today’s featured wine. If the name sounds familiar, the ‘A’ in A. & P. de Villaine stands for Aubert de Villaine of fabled Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in Cote d’Or; his nephew Pierre de Benoist directs the domaine.

Tasting Notes

Wine: Domaine A. et P. de Villaine Bouzeron Aligoté

Vintage:  2014

Alcohol: 12.5%

Price: $32

Spec  (Note: Thanks to Soif Wine and Bar in Santa Cruz for stocking this wine.)

Robe:  Clear, pale gold hue.

Nez:    Discrete notes of mustard blossom, lemon, fleurs blanches.

Bouche:  Tart lemon zest, bright minerality; dry, light-bodied, vivacious.

I’ve chosen to pair this wine with a traditional recipe for gougères (cheese puff pastries) featured in the authentic French cookbook “Recipes from the Châteaux of Burgundy” by Gilles and Bleuzen du Pontavice, with photos by Claude Herlédan.

“Aunt Thérèse’s gourgères,” pg. 61

“50 cl. milk, 5 g. salt, 125 g. butter. Bring these ingredients to the boil. Remove from the heat and add 250 g. of flour. Stir for a minute over the heat to dry out the pastry. Remove from the heat and add eight (8) eggs, two by two, followed by 125 g of diced gruyere. Put into a greased ring-shaped baking tin or in small heaps onto a greased baking sheet. Bake in a hot oven.”

The recipe omits oven temperature ( Try 450 F.)

Good luck improvising with your own cheese variations – part of the charm of using these old recipes.

 June 17th 2017

concludes my guest hosting of 

The French #Winophiles 

A Virtual Tour of Burgundy, Part 2: Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais & Beaujolais.

 Here’s the Tour Guide for Part 2:

Jeff Burrows of FoodWineClick serves up “Salmon and Morels with the Domaine Wines of Louis Max.

Jill Barth of L’Occasion shares “Historic Vineyards of Mâcon.”

Michelle Williams of Rockin Red Blog regales us with: A Journey Through Burgundy Part 2, Exploring Mâconnais with #Winophiles.

Gwendolyn Lawrence Alley of Wine Predator takes on: “Bourgogne with Beef Bourguignon from an Instant Pot.”

Lynn Gowdy of Savor the Harvest steers us through “Navigating Southern Burgundy: Mâconnaise and Beaujolais.

Jane Niemeyer of Always Ravenous explores Discovering Rully Chardonnay + Bouzeron Aligoté in Burgundy’s Côte Chalonnaise.”

Nicole Ruiz Hudson of Somm’s Table schools us with “Cooking to the Wine: Jean-Marc Brocard Sainte Claire Chablis with Clam and Burrata Pizza.”

Wendy Klik of A Day in the Life on the Farm dips her toe in “Provence meets Burgundy.

Lauren Walsh of The Swirling Dervish swirls up Mercurey Rising: Pinot Noir from Burgundy’s Côte Chalonnaise.”

Link to the Virtual Tour of Burgundy, Part 1

I want to hear from you! Please leave your comments below. Cheers!

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

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

The Hedonistic Taster | Schug Winery 2014 Pinot Noir, Carneros

The Hedonistic Taster | Schug Winery 2014 Pinot Noir, Carneros

The Hedonistic Taster |  № 11

Schug Winery

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

Tastevin

“Wine should not be regarded simply as a beverage, but as an art of living, a pleasure.” – Henri Jayer

Welcome to The Hedonistic Taster, a binNotes | redThread™ trade sampling of artisan wines.

The title derives from the term ‘hedonistic tasting,’ coined by legendary Burgundian vigneron Henri Jayer.

The Hedonistic Taster allows me the opportunity to introduce you to some gorgeous pours through this intimate tasting format.

Santé!

Today’s Tasting:

Schug Winery | 2014 Pinot Noir, Carneros

Schug Winery PN 2014

Wine: Schug Winery Pinot Noir, Carneros

Vintage: 2014

Alcohol: 13.8%

Suggested Retail: $30

Specs:

Vineyards: 29% Schug Estate, 27% Iund, 26% Sangiacomo, 17% Ricci, 1% Brown.

 Harvest Dates: August 26th – October 1st 2014

Sugar at Harvest: 24.5 degrees Brix, average.

Fermentation: Six (6) to eight (8) days in stainless steel punch-down and rotary fermenters, with cap immersion up to three(3) times daily.

Release Date: November 1, 2015.

TASTING NOTES:

Robe: Clear, deep garnet robe.

Nose:  Cherry cola, red currant, basalt nose.

Palate: Cranberry, red cherry, leather on the palate. Well balanced with mild tannins, bright acids, and a lively minerality.

Suggested Pairings: Burgundy Lovers: This one’s for you. You want this wine. You need this wine. It has all the characteristics of a Premier Cru Bourgogne Rouge from Mercurey without the price points or import hassles. Suitable for sipping any season, served with any fare, but this one pairs especially well with salmon.

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Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | redThread™.  All Rights Reserved.