Begin Les Beguines (May 22, 2011)

In attendance: a winemaker, two coopers from Bourgogne, an ice-cream maker and a football goalkeeper. And a few others of less picturesque distinctions.

This was a Burgundy Villages tasting (with a few exceptions) and drove home an obvious point. There's a reason why so many people skip the Villages level and head straight for the Premier Crus (those who can afford them, that is): to get a good Villages, you have to buy from a very good producer, who often charges as much as others do their Premiers. What the Villages crus can offer, in theory, is a glimpse of the specific village's terroir, whatever that means. Having said that, due to the age of the wines that follow, this was not very obvious at this tasting.

Many thanks to Ido Lewinsohn for hosting, Zacki Rosenblum for organizing, and for everyone who participated, shared, and made the evening better than the wines and even better the amazing, generous platter of stinking, French cheeses.

Lewinsohn, Garage de Papa, Blanc, 2009

A very Bourgogne nose, more than I recall from my previous encounter. Very minerally. Austere palate, light bitterness, not very complex. Once again, I don't like it as much as I'd like, but the nose is highly sniffable.

About 140 NIS.

Jerome Prevost, La Closerie, Les Beguines, Extra Brut

100% Pinot Meunier. You can really smell the bread here, along with flowers and citrus fruit. Lovely fruit. Intense palate, if not very complex. I like very much - in fact, it was the wine I enjoyed the most overall, and it gets the honor of lending its name to the infantile wordplay of the post title.

Price unknown.

Lewinsohn, Garage de Papa, Rouge, 2008

Black spicy fruit, nice acidity on the finish but very dormant in the middle. Mediterranean spices, and very Israeli, I think, without the annoying aspects - y'know: jammy fruit, high ABV. Thumbs up.

About 150 NIS.

Joseph Roty, Gevrey-Chambertin, 2004

A complex nose of mature Bourgogne - too much maturity, at that, as some caramel creeps in - but the palate can't hide its wrinkles quite as deftly. The winemaker and the coopers thought it prematurely aged and reckoned it was due to faulty winemaking, rather than a bad bottle/storage. The cheese helps make it palatable, but that's hardly a newsflash, is it?

Ghislaine Barthod, Chambolle-Musigny, 2006

A spicy nose, the spicy, blacker side of Pinot. Earthy, dusty, minerally. Reveals red fruit in time. Good grip, tannic, very long. Rougher than I expected, and to my taste still young, although the pros thought it wasn't made well enough to age. The amateurs liked it rather more, and I admit I was glad to hear that, as one of Madame Barthod's Premier Crus was my first initiation to mature Bourgognes, years ago.

About 50 Euro or so.

Domaine Fourrier, Gevrey-Chambertin, Vieille Vigne, 2006

The nose drips Pinot sex, despite some green-ness and menthol. Then it ages in the glass, only to later come back to life, losing the green-ness. An odd, quirky creature, a little rustic on the palate but I like its grip. Promising.

WineRoute, about 200 NIS.

Jean Grivot, Vosne-Romanee, 2007

The nose is somewhat tongue-tied at first, but the Pinot fruit deep down is enticing and challenging in a fascinating way. The palate is most balanced so far despite its youth and drying tannins. My favorite Bourgogne of the night.

Tomer Gal, 250 NIS.

Domaine Leroy, Nuit-St-Georges, 2004

Very nice nose, complex and appealing. The palate is kaput, DOA, pushing up daisies, sleeping with the fish - which is a shock considering its age and the fact that the juice inside is declassified Premier Crus and costs a fortune. The coopers spotted that the rim of the neck was slightly oval in shape, which might have caused a bad fit for the cork and thus oxidation.

Tomer Gal, bout 1110 NIS.

Jacques Prieur, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru, 2005

A meaty nose at first, then flowery and finally spicy as well. Fresh, rich and balanced. Sweet red fruit. Shows the quality of the vintage. Better made than most of the Villages but not much more exciting.

WineRoute, I'm not sure about the price but I'd guess about 200 NIS.