Beside Chablis, the best secret in a white Burgundy lover’s cellar is his stash of St. Aubin. The village is easy to miss, wedged in a valley between Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet. And though it rightly plays second fiddle to these two giants, it’s still a source for what Rajat Parr calls “some of the best-value Chardonnays in the world.”
We think often about the week spent harvesting in Burgundy last fall. It was a wonderfully immersive experience, full of cozy meals, sticky grapes, and more than a little back soreness. (You can browse through our travel blog here). We’ll be going back for another harvest the next chance we get.
For centuries, two French regions have been the giants of the red wine world: Burgundy and Bordeaux. Aside from their alliterative names, they’re quite different – in size, style, grapes, tradition, vineyard structure, even bottle shape. Regular readers of these posts will know we’re usually partial to Burgundy, home to elegant, delicate Pinot Noirs. But every once in a while we love a glass of classic Bordeaux, something with a bit of meatiness, and perhaps a bit sauvage.
There something about crisp autumn air that gives us a new energy for life. Between the oppressive heat of summer and the chilling cold of winter, fall is both a season of change and of balance. It makes us want to run outside and hike a mountain with sweaters on.
The 45th Parallel north marks the halfway point between the equator and the North Pole. In the US the line traverses Yellowstone National Park and marks the Vermont-Canada border; in France, it bisects the Northern Rhône appellation of St. Joseph. It’s an appropriate marker for the region, whose wines borrow elegance from Burgundy to the north, and richness from the Southern Rhône below.
In this week’s warm temperatures we’re looking for two things in a wine: freshness and simplicity. Last week’s Condrieu is magnificent and complex, but we suggest saving it for the milder temperatures we hope to enjoy soon. These days we want white, cool, and uncomplicated.
In recent years at the Domaine les Goubert, daughter Florence has begun to handle more of the winemaking responsibilities. She introduced an extremely popular rosé (sold out) and tweaked a few of their other cuvees. Florence’s addition to the team bodes well for the domaine.
Condrieu is a strong endorsement for the idea of terroir. Grown anywhere else – even 90 minutes south – viognier can be heavy and insipid. But grown in the tiny sliver of an appellation just below Lyon, the grape takes on other-worldly qualities. From a land known for ink-black syrah, Condrieu is the nectar-like exception.
It’s amazing how many subconscious visual cues we pick up from a wine’s appearance. Even without smelling it, you would expect a Burgundy and a Côte Rôtie to taste different based on their opacity in a glass. And though it’s certainly not as important as smell, taste, or texture, a wine’s appearance can unquestionably add to its enjoyment. With that in mind we’ll submit the clear winner for our most attractive wine of the summer: the sparkling rosé from Maison Picamelot in Burgundy.