The Great Whites of Burgundy

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

As everyone’s favorite day of the week, what could be the best possible cure for a case of the “Mondays”?  If you asked a few doctors, they may very well prescribe you a dose of some fantastic white Burgundy!  Okay, probably not, but we’d dare them to find a better treatment than that!

Lead Wine Instructor at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley and former Wine Director of award-winning restaurants Quince and Gary Danko, Christie Dufault stepped up to the plate and led the class on an amazing exploration of what’s easily argued as the world’s best white wines; aka the majestic Chardonnays of Burgundy.

If there is one word to describe the wines of Burgundy, ‘complex’ doesn’t even cut it.  Christie enlightened the class on a broad range of insights into the complicated puzzle that is Burgundy.  One concept that the class felt was quite interesting is how the wines are classified and how that ties into their quality.  For example, unlike Bordeaux where the classifications are ranked by producer, in Burgundy they are ranked by vineyard site.  So within Burgundy, the highest classification is Grand Cru which is wine produced from the very best vineyard sites.  Just below that is Premier Cru which is produced from particular vineyard sites that are still considerably high quality, but just not regarded as high as Grand Cru.  That being said, not all Grand Cru wines are created equal.  This is where the importance of the producer comes in.  Now although Grand Cru Burgundy wine is called that for highly valid reasons, it is not completely uncommon for the wines of an extraordinary producer using fruit from Premier Cru vineyards to be of noticeably better quality than the wines of a good producer using Grand Cru fruit. This is a prime example of how classification systems in Burgundy typically are, but won’t always be the final say as far as quality.

Digest all that?  A lot to take in, we know.  And although Burgundy is no stranger to intricate systems, one fact still holds true.  There is a legitimate reason why the world has, does, and will continue to truly love Burgundy.  Why?  The answers, complicated as may be, are all right there in the bottle.

My Favorite Wine of the Evening?

Domaine Lucien Le Moine Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru ” Folatières” 2004

A voluptuous body with a kick of acid that is so pleasantly characterisitic of Puligny, this gracefully maturing wine displays aromas of cooked celery, artichoke, yellow apple, cinnamon, white pepper, and nice long almond finish.

Thanks to Christie and Brian for the best ending to a Monday, ever!

-Julie Albin

Wine List

  1. Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru 2009
  2. Domaines  Leflaive Macon Verze 2010
  3. Domaine Coche-Dury Bourgogne Blanc 2009
  4. Domaine Michel Gros Hauts Cotes de Nuits Blanc 2008
  5. Domaine de la Vougeraie Vougeot Clos du Prieuré 2002
  6. Domaine Bernard Morey Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru ” Les Caillerets” 2000
  7. Domaine Latour-Giraud Meursault Genevrières 1er Cru 2001
  8. Domaine Lucien Le Moine Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru ” Folatières” 2004
  9. Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 1996
  10. Domaine Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru ” Les Combettes” 1997

Leave a Reply