Thursday, April 10, 2014

Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt (Mar. 13, 2014)

One day I'll drop by and thank them personally for their Clos St. Jean Rouge
I was trying to find an apt title for a red Bourgogne tasting that Daniel Lifshitz presented and it struck me that the title of this D.J. Shadow track somehow nails Burgundy: creating an ephemeral presence with the bare essentials. That, and a supple core of minerals.

Most of the wines tasted are from Daniel's Bourgogne Crown catalog (the site is not up to date at this time, but here's the link for posterity's sake), with a few 'guests' contributed by the participants.

The idea was to taste village level reds, but Daniel had a couple of leftover bottles from a trade tasting he had held earlier in the day, so we started out with a couple of bonuses.

Benoit Ente, Bourgogne Aligote, 2011

Hey! Aligote works (but I've known that for years)! This is focused and long, tasty, stony with palate cleansing acidity, the fruit coming across as somewhere between a lean Chardonnay and a Melon de Bourgogne.

100 NIS.

Olivier Gouyot, Bourgogne, 2010

Earthy red fruit. Good aromatic complexity and character. The palate is short and and direct, but very tasty. The grapes are actually sourced from Marsannay village crus, making this a good value.

100 NIS.

On to the tasting proper and the first 'guest star', whose purposes seemed, in hindsight, to prove to the audience what happens when you try to age a low level wine, indifferently made, from a vintage not renowned for its staying power:

Faiveley, Cote de Beaune Villages, 2007

Tired nose. Dead palate, short, flat.

HaKerem, about 90 NIS.

Back to the world of the living:

Joseph Drouhin, Savigny-Les-Beaune, 2008

Nice nose, not great but with a taste of the spicy red fruit I love. Terrific acidity with fruit that needs to fill out and complement the acidity, which I expect to come with airing, not aging.

Scottish Company/Tiv Ta'am, 160 NIS, I suppose.

Domaine Pavelot, Savigny-Les-Beaune, 2011

Terrifically vibrant and enticing. Earthy, full and balanced. Pure, elegant with focused and friendly power. Just lays out on your palate with effortless ease.

165 NIS.

Two more guest stars.

Domaine Jacques Prieur, Beaune Premier Cru, Clos De La Feguine, 2005

Dark, extracted - too extracted! - earthy, black fruit, encumbered with oak. A Bourgogne for lovers of Ribera. Prieur (like Jadot, both of which are carried by Wine Route) used to be a good place to start exploring Burgundy, but the style is really a blend of lackluster and vulgar wine making and today we in Israel simply have too many better options.

About 200 NIS, I'd guess.

Domaine Denis Carre, Pommard, Les Noizons,1999

This wine has a handsome mix of black fruit, black pepper and minerals, and shows respectable maturity without having gained profound depth from its age. Foursquare, a wine as exciting as an accountants convention.

Source and price unknown.

Marquis d'Angerville, Volnay, 2011

As d'Angerville, along with Montille, is one of the stars of Volnay, even his village wine should be interesting, but this bottle just didn't deliver. Oak forward, soft fruit with a lean, acidity driven core adding a lithe punch. A hint of flowers. And that's just about it for now.

265 NIS.

The star of the night.

Domaine Blain-Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru, Clos Saint Jean, 2011

A classic Bourgogne nose, reminiscent of perhaps Chambolle due to a flowery overlay. The most elegant wine of the night. Lovely and lively, delicately expressive in an off the cuff manner. Good, caressing fruit and acidity.

235 NIS.

I won't judge the hosts' decision to add guest stars to the lineup, but my notes for their showing speaks for itself (although the Drouhin is fine drop). I enjoyed the company and hospitality and the evening was educational and fun.

On the drive back with Daniel, I drank a couple of more leftovers from his earlier tasting. The d'Angerville, Bourgogne, 2011 (160 NIS) was drinking better than the village, with a fuller presence. As I was drinking from a Bordeaux glass, the Volnay character was subdued, but it sure was tasty. The Alain Burguet, "Les Pinces Vin", 2011 (a Gevrey village sold as a Bourgogne), was flowery and elegant, less animalistic than I would expect, whether because of the glass or whether because it comes from a cool parcel in the village.

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