Category Archives: Burgundy

2011 Louis Jadot Macon-Villages

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For our main course we had alfredo with salmon and peas which came out excellent. We served the 2011 Louis Jadot Macon-Villages. This is an un-oaked Chardonnay from the Maconnais in Burgundy. It’s well documented that we aren’t huge Chardonnay fans here on Grapestorm but there are so many different regions producing different types Chardonnay that it’s our duty to try them all. Maconnais is known for its un-oaked Chardonnay just like Chablis but with a different flavor profile due to geography.

Just like in other French regions there are levels of wine:

Macon: Basic appellation that can be used for any Maconnais wine.

Macon-Villages

Macon + Village Name

Pouilly-Fuisee

Pouilly-Fuisse is the highest end wine made in Maconnais and will fetch a hefty price. I’ve been told that a simple Macon-Villages is often a much better value at anywhere from $8-$15 with a reputable Pouly Fuisse costing upwards of $50.

MobyGrape: 70.  In the immortal words of someone very dear to me, “Is this supposed to be good?”.  Another chardonnay I didn’t really enjoy, this one was just very, very mild and light, if I were trying to sell it to you I would call it “crisp and refreshing”.  If I were being honest I’d call it well-hydrated rat piss.  Still drank it though, since we were eating a delicious dinner with it and it was so barely-there it didn’t really matter one way or the other.

colonelgrape: 70. I completely agree with Moby on this one. A very light, mild, fruity, and young un-oaked Chardonnay. It came as advertised I just don’t really like it…it’s too boring. I definitely prefer this to oaked Chardonnay, that’s for sure, but I’m just not a fan. If I want a white with a bigger meal I’m having a Gewurztraminer or even a simple Picpoul/Sauv Blanc/Riesling over a Chardonnay.

2011 Olivier Morin Chitry Bourgogne

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This is a regional Burgundy white wine that I was recommended at the Vin Bin a few weeks ago. A regional wine is one that uses grapes from a variety of different villages and vineyards across a region. Therefore you can have a variety of different tastes in a regional Burgundy because the grapes may be primarily from Chablis, Maconnais, Cote de Beaune or any of the other regions. However what we do know about this wine is that it is 100% Chardonnay…as are most Burgundy Whites. Regional wines are often cheaper than than a standard villages or cru wine but sometimes can offer similar quality…if you find a good one it can be a diamond in the rough. This bottle was only $18 wheres the majority of white Burgundy is $25-30+. We enjoyed this wine with pan seared salmon, green beans, and rice.

colonelgrape: 75. Completely average unoaked French Chardonnay. It wasn’t awful it wasn’t great…nothing too special about it. Had fruit nose of apple and pear and some acidity but it really just didn’t do it for me. Still trying to figure out these Chardonnays…I like the idea behind them, a firm dry white to stand up to heavier meals, but I haven’t found the one for me yet.

MobyGrape: 70. Would have named this one Chitty with a soft C.  Tasted
like crappy chardonnay to me, not quite rat piss but I didn’t really
enjoy it.  If it wasn’t for the food I would have had a hard time with
this one.

2005 Pere & Fils Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chenes

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Let’s start with a little fact check/geography on this wine because as we’ve seen in the past the French assume you know you’re wine geography when they label their wines and that makes it very difficult for the average consumer:

Vintage: 2005

Wine Type: Pinot Noir

Geography: Burgundy –> Cote d’Or –> Cote de Beaune –> Volnay –> Clos des Chenes

Producer: Pere & Fils

Now that we’ve got that down let’s talk about the wine. We enjoyed this wine on Christmas eve with a beer can chicken, stuffed mushrooms, and twice baked potatoes with gruyere cheese.

colonelgrape: 91. I really enjoyed this wine. It had a very nice ruby red and not too dark color with tastes of ripe cherry and minerals balanced by excellent acidity. There was a bit more tannin than expected but it was still smooth and had a long tasty finish. Definitely not as in your face as the Mercurey we tasted last month. I’d recommend this with any light-medium non-red meat meal.

MobyGrape: 73 – I’m not sure how well I remember this one, it was pretty
dry as I recall and I didn’t get much fruit from it.  Worked well with
dinner but I don’t think I would enjoy it on its own very much.

Dinner Grape Style

When we get together with AuntGrape and UncleGrape we tend to have a fantastic feast and this weekend was no different. We spent the majority of Saturday preparing the food and visiting the Wine Library. CousinGrapette and BoyfriendGrape made guest appearances as well. Here was our menu:

Appetizers: Goat and blue cheese with crackers, Gougere

Main Course: 14 rib pork crown roast with bread and pear stuffing

Sides: Twice baked potato casserole, broccoli with garlic and cheese, fresh gravy

Desert: Individual baked apple pastry

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If you’ve never had gougere you are simply missing out. A light, fluffy pastry made with gruyere cheese, they are heaven right out of the oven. I got the chance to make it myself and it’s not that complicated, Moby and I are most certainly going to be making it again when we host our next dinner.

UncleGrape was generous enough to share some of his wine with us and we were delighted to drink whites, reds, and port throughout the meal. Let’s talk wine!

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To start the evening we opened a delicious picpoul with the cheese and crackers and in my excitement I forgot to take a picture of the bottle. It was light, delicious, and inexpensive. Picpoul is a white grape grown in the Chateauneuf du Pape region of Rhone. When the gougere arrived we opened a 2006 Weinbach Gewurztraminer Cuvee Laurence from Alsace. This wine stole the show for Moby and myself. It was sweet, spicy, and coated the glass with it’s deliciousness. We wrapped up appetizers with a 2010 Dauvissat Chablis which is a chardonnay from Burgundy. It was light and fruity and a nice way to transition to the main course.

White wine rankings:

1: 2006 Weinbach Gewurztraminer Cuvee Laurence. This wine was so delicious that I’ve ordered more to have in the house. 2006 was no longer available but I was able to find 2009 and 2010. Stay tuned for a full review in the future.

2: Picpoul: I wish I had more info on this bottle but we’ll be trying another soon.

3: 2010 Dauvissat Chablis.

Onto the the reds. UncleGrape approached me and said “How about Chateauneuf’s tonight?” I smiled and nodded my head excitedly. Here’s what we had with dinner:

1998 and 2000 CdPs from Paul 1998 Font de Michelle CdP

UncleGrape didn’t let us down and served us 4 excellent CdP’s. We agreed on the first two rankings but we flip flopped on the last two…here’s how I ranked them:

1. 2000 Domaine Charvin

2. 1998 Domaine Font de Michelle Cuvee Etienne Gonnet

3. 1998 Vieux Telegraph

4. 2000 Domaine de la Janasse

All 4 wines were delicious but the Charvin was head and shoulders above the other three wines. A perfect balance of fruit, spice, and body it was the best CdP I’ve had to date…ahead of the 2007 Bosquet des Pape we rated earlier this year. I’m looking forward to trying more CdP from Domaine Charvin in the future.

While I was hard at work on the gougere Moby was slaving over the baked apples we had for desert. Each serving is half an apple stuffed with a mixture of butter, sugar, and spices and wrapped in a pastry crust. We used golden delicious apples and will 100% be making these again. They look like little bowling balls but were one of the lightest deserts I’ve ever had. They melted in your mouth and left you wanting more…serving them with vanilla ice cream made it even better.

With the apples we had a fantastic 1977 Taylors Vintage Port:

1977 Taylor's Vintage Port

UncleGrape started this decanting about 7 hours before we drank it and there was probably a solid 1-2 cups of sediment in the sink after pouring it into the decanter. However, it opened up beautifully…we were all shocked at how much life it still had left. It was ready to drink now but it could easily age longer. It had the delicious raisin taste I associate with port and was even better than the 1994 Graham’s we had earlier this year. Moby and I kept the bottle to add to our collection…maybe we’ll use it as a vase or a decoration in the future.

What a night. Family, friends, and 8 bottles of fantastic wine. We’re looking forward to our next trip already!

Beaujolais

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Beaujolais is a red wine made from the gamay grape. It is produced in the Beaujolais region of Burgundy in France and is known for it’s light body, low tannin content, and a very fruit forward flavors. It is meant to be drunk young, especially Beaujolais Nouveau. When talking about beaujolais there are two types:

Beaujolais: Typically meant to be drunk up to 1-2 years after bottling, this is the standard form in the region accounting for 2/3 of production.

Beaujolais Nouveau: Beaujolais that is harvested and only aged for 6-8 weeks before being bottled. It is meant to be drunk immediately and has almost no tannin content while being dominated by fruit flavor. They are released worldwide on the third Thursday of every November. It’s commonly referred to as a “quaffing” or table wine. It is also meant to be served slightly cooler than most reds, around 55 degrees. Some critics say it’s too immature and is hardly a wine but I think you need to be the judge for yourself!

There are also 3 appellations in the region:

Beaujolais: This is the most generic AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) and covers all basic Beaujolais wines. Many wines produced in this AOC are sold as Beaujolais Nouveau.

Beaujolais- Villages: This is the intermediate classification. Wines with this label typically will be of higher quality than Beaujolais AOC. If the grapes used are from a single village you may see the village name on the label as well.

Cru Beaujolais: The highest classification of Beaujolais, there are only 10 villages allowed to produce under this AOC. We will talk about the word “Cru” further when talking about Burgundy wine classifications however in this case it simply refers to a specific area in the Beaujolais region. Villages in this AOC are not allowed to produce Beaujolais Nouveau. When looking at Cru labels you often won’t see the the word “Beaujolais” but instead the name of the village…they do this so they don’t blend in with the millions of bottles of standard or Nouveau wines. Unlike other Beaujolais, Cru wine is meant to be aged 1-10 years depending on the village.

Lastly there is one more interesting fact about Beaujolais: 90% of the wine is produced by negociants. A negociant is wine merchant who buys grapes from different villages, assembles the wines, and sells them under their own name. The most common producer I’ve seen in MA is Louis Jadot as seen in the photo in this post. Moby and I will be reviewing a Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages we drank over the holiday in an upcoming post.

So now that you have all this knowledge about Beaujolais, is it actually good? It depends on who you talk to. Some people despise it for it’s immaturity and many love it. My Aunt and Uncle (who I would consider wine experts) describe it as a “pizza wine” and I tend to agree after experiencing a few bottles. It’s a wine you would drink if you’re having a simple meal but feel like wine…or maybe something that calls for white but you feel like red. It may also be a good gateway wine for inexperienced palates not ready for big tannins and complex structure. The good news is that it is very inexpensive. A bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau, Beaujolais, or Beaujolais-Villages should not cost you more than $15 and at that price there’s no excuse for not grabbing a bottle on your next trip to the store and giving it a try!