Friday, May 9, 2014

  • Friday, May 9, 2014

Burgundy Wine Tasting



One Bourgogne Wine
, I attended an exclusive Bourgogne (Burgundy) wine tasting at Victor Restaurant. The tasting was led by John Szabo, Master Sommelier and Principal Critic at WineAlign. Joining him was François Labet, Chairman of the Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB) Marketing and Communication Commission.

Wine is a way of life for François. His family has been deeply entrenched in winemaking since 1492, and his grandfather was mayor of Beaune. François is the owner of a few renowned wineries and has been practicing organic viticulture since 1992, as well as omitting any additives during winemaking.

Together, we tasted 8 Burgundy Chardonnays and 7 Pinot Noirs one after another, with both John and Francois providing tidbits of information and perspective about the wines and region along the way. For example, a "Maison" wine is typically a négociant wine, whereby the Négociant (i.e. producer or merchant) will buy the grapes or juice from smaller growers to produce wine. Meanwhile, wines where small growers produce wine using only grapes they've grown are considered to be "Domaine" wines.

When one thinks of Burgundian wine, one automatically thinks of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir - perhaps not necessarily in that order. This is for good reason, as Chardonnay makes up nearly one-half of all grapes grown in Burgundy, while the second most planted grape in the region is Pinot Noir (35%).
Bourgogne Lineup

As we you will see in my Burgundy wine reviews below, almost all of the wines fall into the "premium and up" price range. Small harvests throughout the region, especially in recent vintages, have contributed to the rising cost of wines from this part of the world. Having said that, Burgundian wine is considered to be the pinnacle of Chardonnay and Pinot, and nearly all of the 15 wines we tasted on this day were either very good or excellent in quality.

Following the tasting, we had the opportunity to pair these delicious wines with a 4-course lunch prepared by Chef David Chrystian. It was great that they provided a couple of options for most of the courses!

First up, I ordered an organic green salad with beets, cucumber, pepitas and fried shallots with mustard vinaigrette. I paired this delicious salad with the Jaeger Chardonnay and the Bouchard Pinot. The flavours from both of these wines complemented the salad very well.

Organic Green Salad Crisp Heritage Buttermilk Chicken

For the main course, I opted for the crisp heritage buttermilk chicken with sides of hash, sauteed greens and mustard. The wine pairing I chose was the flavourful Girardin Montrachet Chardonnay and the light-weighted, yet slightly tannic Aurélien Verdet Pinot Noir. Once again, both wines complemented the dish well.

Cheese Course Chocolate and Chai Tea Pot de Crème

Following the cheese course was a dessert that featured an interesting chocolate and chai tea pot de crème with sweet curry twist and chili cashew praline. The infusion of chocolate and curry isn't something that generally comes top of mind when thinking about dessert, but it was interesting and worked well together in my opinion. Pairing this dessert would be difficult with sweeter wines, and as I suspected and confirmed, even more so with dry Burgundian Pinot and Chardonnay.

Reviews of all the wines I tasted are below. Many of these are available at the LCBO, albeit in small quantities. Anything not at the LCBO can be ordered via consignment (if you need more info on this, don't hesitate to ask). Enjoy reading my wine reviews and if you try any of these, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Cheers!

Burgundy lineup

Tasting Notes:
DOMAINE GAUTHERON CHABLIS 2012 - AC, Burgundy, France (#207902) (XD) - $24.95
Medium+ aromas featuring elegant tropical fruit and lemon. Medium-bodied with a creamy mouthfeel. Honeydew melon, lemon/lime, along with hints of spice and beeswax on the flavour palate. Lively acids and a long, tart finish that is lightly spiced. Elegant. Small quantities available in Vintages. Score: 89 pts

LA CHABLISIENNE MONTMAINS CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2010 - AC, Burgundy, France (#265090) (XD) - $28.95
Highly aromatic with complex notes of melon, tropical fruits, sweet kissed ripe fruit, mineral and nut. It's medium-bodied with a slightly grippy texture. Mineral, almond, tropical fruits on the palate. Balanced acids, lean and a long, clean, smooth finish. Small quantities of this lovely wine available in Vintages. Score: 91 pts

MAISON LOUIS JADOT CHARDONNAY BOURGOGNE 2013 - AC, Burgundy, France (#933077) (D) - $20.95
Medium-high aromas consisting of apple, buttered popcorn and mineral. Restrained oak notes are nicely balanced. Medium+ bodied and slightly creamy mouthfeel. Complex aroma replays joined by nutty and mineral notes. Fresh acidity that is nicely balanced. Slightly warm on the mid-palate and a lengthy finish. Vintages Essential and always available. Score: 89 pts

MAISON JOSEPH DROUHIN MÂCON-VILLAGES 2012 - AC, Burgundy, France (#356956) (XD) - $17.95
This unoaked Chardonnay has medium+ aromas with mineral, floral, green and hints of citrus. Medium-full bodied, creamy and slightly astringent. Palate consists of fresh orchard fruits (apple/pear), nutty, mineral and stone fruit. Fresh, balanced acids and long fruit/mineral driven finish. Available in Vintages. Score: 89 pts

DOMAINE JAEGER DEFAIX MONT-PALAIS RULLY 1ER CRU 2011 - AC, Burgundy, France (#) (XD) - $41.99
Very aromatic Chardonnay. Oak fermentation and ageing influence is evident with elegantly balanced aromas of apple, buttered popcorn, and pineapple. Medium-full bodied and a very creamy mouthfeel. Mineral driven palate, along with ripe fruit and pear flavours. Balanced acids and a long, smooth finish. Nice! Consignment availability. Score: 91 pts

CHÂTEAU VITALLIS VIEILLES VIGNES POUILLY FUISSÉ 2010 - AC, Burgundy, France (#360495) (XD) - $27.95
From vines 45-70 years old, this oaked Chardonnay has medium+ aromas of ripe tropical fruit, citrus and minerals. Medium-bodied with tropical fruit, spice and lime flavours. Nicely balanced overall with balanced acids and a long, smooth finish. Small quantities available in Vintages. Score: 90 pts

MAISON JOSEPH BURRIER CHÂTEAU DE BEAUREGARD POUILLY-FUISSÉ VERS CRAS 2010 - AC, Burgundy, France (#) (XD) - $49.95
This Chardonnay is 50% oak fermented. Medium-high aromas that feature nutty, mineral, pineapple and tropical fruit notes. Medium+ bodied with balanced acids, slightly creamy mouthfeel, and nice aroma replays. Long, smooth finish that has an oily texture and some light spice notes. Consignment availability. Score: 91 pts

MAISON VINCENT GIRARDIN VIEILLES VIGNES CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET 2011 - AC, Burgundy, France (#364141) (XD) - $55.95
From the February 15th Vintages release and still available, this oaked Chardonnay comes from 50-year old vines. Highly aromatic with light smoky buttered popcorn, apple, nutty and mineral aromas. Palate is medium-bodied with tropical fruit, spice and nice interplay between oak and fruit. Balanced with very good acidity. Oak-influenced and nutty finish that's smooth and very lengthy. Gorgeous! Score: 92 pts

MAISON ANDRÉ DELORME BOURGOGNE PINOT NOIR 2010 - AC, Burgundy, France (#366427) (XD) - $20.95
Medium+ aromas that are very red fruit forward, think strawberry and cherry, along with some cooking spice aromas. Medium-full bodied with red fruits on the palate. Bright acidity and dusty/chalky tannins. Long, slightly warm finish. Small quantities available in Vintages. Score: 87 pts

DOMAINE THÉNARD GIVRY 1ER CRU CELLIER AUX MOINES 2008 - AC, Burgundy, France (#) (XD) - $32.50
Medium+ aromas with floral, dried fruit, and lifted sweet fruits, also some greenness. Low-to-medium weighted with dried fruits, wilted floral, cherry and nut flavours on the palate. Firm tannins with good acids, medium-long dried fruit/oak finish. Consignment availability. Score: 88+ pts

DOMAINES BOUCHARD PÈRE & FILS BEAUNE DU CHATEAU PREMIER CRU 2009 - AC, Burgundy, France (#325142) (XD) - $36.90
Medium+ aromas with beetroot, earthy, bitter forest floor and mushroom nose. Low-to-medium bodied with earthy and cherry flavours on the palate. Has refined tannins, balanced acids, and elegant spice on a long, clean finish. LCBO General List. Score: 90 pts

MAISON ROCHE DE BELLENE LES GRÈVES BEAUNE 1ER CRU 2010 - AC, Burgundy, France (#) (XD) - $46.95
Medium+ aromas showing nicely balanced and elegant nose consisting of barnyard, cherry, and beetroot. Low-to-medium bodied with nice aroma replays along with some floral notes. Mouth-watering acids and a long, smooth finish. Good tannic structure has enough stuffing to age another 2 years. Consignment availability. Score: 90+ pts

MAISON DOMAINE DU PAVILLON CLOS DES URSULINES POMMARD 2011 - AC, Burgundy, France (#023820) (XD) - $49.95
Medium-high intensity bouquet featuring pomegranate, red & black fruits, elegant spice, and new oak. Medium-bodied with earthy, cherry-cran, and orange citrusy flavours on the palate. Slightly astringent tannins, balanced acids, savoury earthy & fruity finish. Will reward 2-3 years in cellar. Available in Vintages. Score: 90 pts

DOMAINE AURÉLIEN VERDET MOREY-SAINT-DENIS 2010 - AC, Burgundy, France (#354316) (XD) - $36.25
Aromas are of medium-high intensity and show lovely cherry, strawberry notes, with slight earthy and elegant floral tones. It's light-bodied with very nice aroma replays surrounded by an earthy core on the palate. Taut tannins could use another year or two. Has mouth-watering acids and a long, smooth finish. Very balanced overall. Nearly sold out in Vintages. Score: 91 pts

DOMAINE DANIEL RION & FILS VIEILLES VIGNES NUITS-SAINT-GEORGES 2011 - AC, Burgundy, France (#356600) (XD) - $53.95
Medium-high intensity bouquet that has earthy/barnyard, sour cherry and hints of strawberry on the nose. Light-bodied with nice aroma replays, along with mushroom and mineral flavours on the palate. Slightly chalky tannins, should reward 2-3 years ageing. Acids are nicely balanced. Lengthy finish. Plenty available in Vintages. Score: 91+ pts

François Labet



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