Perched where the Loire river meets the windswept Atlantic coast, Muscadet has long been a source for a classic, dry white wine. Served by the carafe in the oyster bars of Paris and London for decades, it’s refreshing, abundant, and inexpensive — a perfect glass to wash down a plate of crustaceans.
Burgundy is best known for its wines of refinement and elegance. The delicate, often ethereal Pinot Noirs from towns like Vosne-Romanée and Chambolle-Musigny are known the world around for their beauty and uniqueness. But there’s a whole other world of red Burgundy south of the Côte d’Or.
This week we discuss Jean-Noël Gagnard's "Sous Eguisons" 2014, a white Burgundy from a master winemaker in Chassagne-Montrachet. (https://goo.gl/gSv9N1) Also discussed: Mixed Case: Cold Weather Reds (https://goo.gl/PmaB22) Desvignes Givry 1er cru "Clos Charlé" 2015
When temperatures plunge and frigid winds whip around our house, we like to fill our glasses with something rich and mouthfilling. For us that means wines made from Grenache, Syrah, and others from the Rhône Valley. These are cozy wines from the sunbaked climes of France’s south -- reds with depth and intensity, though carefully balanced to avoid heaviness.
The “Hautes-Côtes” are an exciting part of Burgundy these days. Warming temperatures and the pursuit of value have driven winemakers into the “higher” (hautes) terroirs above the Côte d’Or. The wines from these hills may not have the staying power of wines from the terroir below them, but the best are early-maturing, fresh, and essentially Burgundian.
If Vosne-Romanée is the paragon of Burgundian sophistication, then neighbor Nuits-St-Georges has the humbler charm of a country gentleman. Spread across five miles of varied terroir, the wines of Nuits-St-Georges range from spiced and elegant to meaty and rich. But most consider “classic” Nuits to come from the section south of town, which contains the “les Saint Georges” vineyard.
This is a favorite cold-weather stew at the Wilcox residence. It cooks for over an hour on the stove, and the house smells amazing. Pair it with a rich white Burgundy and spread your winter dinner table with some Old World opulence.
The 2014 whites were a gift to Burgundian winemakers. Though quantities were somewhat low, the quality of the grapes was universally excellent. As Master of Wine Jasper Morris put it recently, “an all-round consistently beautiful vintage for whites… at all levels and across all the districts of Burgundy.”
Some wines we import are meant for grand occasions. These are the famous wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne — bottles to pull from the back of the cellar when the moment is significant. Over the past few weeks we opened a few such bottles, enjoying the magical effect of time on a bottle of wine.
Burgundy isn’t always the most accessible of wines. The classification system can be confusing, bottles may need cellaring, food pairing can be tricky, and there’s often a hefty entry fee. So we’re are always on the lookout for entry-level Burgundy — wine that drinks well young and that won’t break the bank.
With the turning of the calendar this weekend, sparkling wines abound. Indeed, if you’re in need of French, small-batch, grower bubbles, we can help. But with winter weather officially here, we thought we’d make the final post of 2016 something rich we can all enjoy.
Burgundy is best known for its wines of refinement and elegance. The delicate, often ethereal Pinot Noirs from towns like Vosne-Romanée and Chambolle-Musigny are unlike any other in the world, and rightly receive the majority of Burgundy’s press. But there’s a whole other world of red Burgundy to the South of the Côte d’Or.
Ask ten people what comes to mind when they think of Chardonnay, and you’ll get twelve answers. Grown in nearly every corner of the winemaking world, Chardonnay has become a blank slate upon which winemakers write. Character -- and quality -- vary widely.