Lucien Le Moine, Bourgogne Blanc, 2003

Continuing my foray into simple Bourgogones, I look into a wine made by a Lebanese and an Israeli in Burgundy. This supposedly generic Chardonnay, imported to Israel by Private Wine Collection, actually comes from 1er Cru vineyards across the Cote de Beaune and declassified to generic Bourgogne, which sounds amazing unless you pay attention to the finer points of Burgundy AOC rules. Grapes from different vineyards are classified by their highest common AOC. Grapes from different villages have only the Bourgogne AOC in common, even if they come from 1er Cru vineyards. If the grapes from different 1er Cru vineyards within the same village, the wine can be sold as 1er Cru of their village with no vineyard name, i.e., Volnay 1er Cru.

On a side note, if anyone had cared to blend grapes from different Grand Crus of the same village, it could only be sold as 1er Cru because in the the Cote d'Or, there is no 'blanket' Grand Cru AOC (as there is in Chablis), each Grand Cru is a named AOC in its own right. So, the common denominator for different Grand Crus of the same village would be 1er Cru. Worse, if you blended a La Tache with a Le Corton, you'd have to sell it as a Bourgogne because these two Grand Crus are from different villages. The French Beaurocrats are second only to their soldiers, I'm sure.

But back to the wine.

I wouldn't call this the oakiest wine in the world, at least not in the New World style, but oak plays an important role. Starts out oaky on the nose, then within minutes the oak is replaced by minerals and barbecue spices and the wine is at its most captivating. But this is where the story ends, as the nose grows sweeter and picks up a toffee character I find disagreeable. The oak is even more evident on the palate, which is relatively low on acidity, hence on the flabby side as you'd expect from 2003 but at least the fruit isn't too tropical and the full body hides the baby fat. I agree this isn't your garden variety generic Bourgogne but I'm not sure if it can really soak up the oak. To revisit in a couple of years.

Now that the votes are in, I think the Jobard Bourgogne 2004 (again, look here) is going to be my "go to guy" this year.

Another side note. I have to wonder at the price of this wine (25-30 USD). Lucien le Moine is a neogicant and if this is indeed sourced from 1er Cru vineyards, then he must have paid 1er Cru prices for the grape must. Since the winemaking process cost is roughly the same as for all his wines, you have to wonder why it costs one half to a third of the price of the wines he actually sells as 1er Cru. Brings home the hard truth how much people charge - and pay - for the label.