wine wednesday: burgundy

Before a certain anchor man tried to claim his spot as the top “Burgundy”, wine from this landlocked part of France claimed the highest of ratings. And while Mr. Burgundy can almost do no wrong, the whites and reds produced from this region are top-notch, world class, silky-smooth, and would n e v e r say “f you” to its hometown. In short, wine from Burgundy is kind of a big deal. And if you have never seen Anchorman, do yourself the favor. My joke attempts will make a lot more sense.

Anyyyyyway, back to the vino. Burgundy, also known as Bourgogne, is a narrow wine region known for some of the top wines in world. It is the birth place of the Pinot Noir grapes and home to some kick-ass Chardonnays.

the region

Like I said in the video, location is everything! The terroir (pronounced “tear-wah”) aka how a region’s terrain, soils, climate and winemaking practices affect the wine’s taste, plays a huge role for Burgundy wines.

map c/o the BVIB
map c/o the BVIB

There are five regions to note:

  1. CHABLIS
  2. CÔTES DE NUITS
  3. CÔTES DE BEAUNE
  4. CÔTE CHALONNAISE
  5. MÂCONNAIS

Believe it or not, the soil and temperatures vary enough that each of these regions produces wine that is uniquely theirs. More on buying tips per region below!

the grapes

burgundy-wine-grapes-chardonnay-pinot-noir
image c/o wine folly

WHITE BURGUNDY: 100% Chardonnay and mostly produced “unoaked” therefore giving a more crisp and clean taste for the drinker as opposed to the butter-bomb Chardonnays produced state-side.

RED BURGUNDY: 100% Pinot Noir and a difficult little grape to grow. Loves the climate and soil this region provides. As a result, Pinot’s are more earthy and floral.

CRÉMENT DE BOURGOGNE: A sparkling wine from the region that can be produced with both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.

buying tips

When looking at a bottle of Burgundy, look for the specific region it’s from. My notes below will help you pick the bottle that suits your tastebuds.

From North to South:

  1. Chablis: amazing, high acid, bright Chardonnays. Mostly unoaked, but at the top Grand Cru level ($$$$$), some see aging in oak barrels.
  2. Côtes du Nuits: rustic, mushroom-y, earthy, tart berry, and spicy Pinot Noirs.
  3. Côtes de Beaune: richer, pear/apple, white flower Chardonnays. Some do see oak!
  4. Côtes Chalonnaise: plum, clove, dark berry, earthy Pinot Noirs that are usually less expensive, more of a “value” bottle. Also lots of lovely Créments come from this region!
  5. Mâconnais: stone fruit, citrus, zesty Chardonnay from this region, look for Pouilly-Fuisseé for the most value.

burgundy Wine picks

2014 Benjamin Leroux Chablis: well balanced, great mix of citrus and saline, nice and zesty. Not your mama’s Chardonnay! Around $15-$20.

2012 David Duband Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Louis Auguste: yes it’s a mouthful to say, but this is a rich and silky pinot. Dark cherry, touch of acid and around $30 which is a good value given the producer and vineyard location!

I’m Natalie Pelletier signing off from Burgundy! Let me know if you have any favorites from this region.

 

wine wednesday: sweetbitter picks

Having just finished the book Sweetbitter, I thought it fitting to tie this week’s episode in with the novel.  Based on the narrator’s first time working in fine-dining, I related all to much to her story. From the “family” aspect a restaurant provides, to having one too many after your allotted shift drink, Danler struck a chord with my life. Not to mention her beautiful language describing all of the tastes, smells and words exchanged in a restaurant.

Here are my two recommendations:

DRY SHERRY: various approx $20 per bottle

Look for either fino or manzanilla sherry. Both styles are dry, crisp and have a nice saline quality. Perfect for before or after dinner. Serve chilled.

ROSE CREMENT: La Perle approx $26

A sparkling rose made from Pinot Noir grapes, this crement will always be one of my favorites, especially for its nostalgia…thank god I’ve moved on from being nostalgic about Busch Light (hi high school…well I’d still drink one for old times sake!) Serve chilled.

Has a book ever made you want a certain kind of drink or food? Let me know!!

wine wednesday: so you like pinot noir

So you like Pinot Noir?! It is one of my faves because it’s super approachable. I love that it can have a fragrant berry-cherry nose, then surprise you with a more earthy taste. Fun fact, it’s a bitch to grow. PN is one of the hardest grapes to cultivate and transform into wine because it loves maritime climates, and the grape’s skin can be temperamental during fermentation. Originally from Burgundy, this varietal also shines from Sonoma (Russian River Valley) and the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

That being said…there are MANY other light to medium bodied varietals that are just as good to “give a go”. Below I have a handful of wines to try that are perfect on their own or with food. Be bold and try something new. I mean, WINE NOT!?

DOLCETTO: @11.99 Banfi L’Ardi 2014 from Piedmont, IT (at Trader Joe’s)

GAMAY: light French varietal from Beaujolais that tends to be a little earthier than Pinots, but has a fragrant nose!

**GRENACHE(A): @6.99 La Paca 2014 from Spain** pick of the week from Trader Joe’s

MENCIA: Petalos from Spain 2011 Medium bodied and beautiful

NEBBIOLO: Palmina from Santa Barbara, CA 2009 definitely medium bodied, but still approachable AF

NERELLO MASCALESE: Italian varietal, it’s very fruity: strawberry, cherry but also leathery with hints of cinnamon. Medium Tannins.

PRIMITIVO: fruit forward and aged in oak tends to have notes of vanilla and spice and tastes like raspberry with earthy hints.

What’s your favorite Pinot or Pinot Noir-esque bottle?