Red Burgundy

Tasted: February 21st, 2010

Red Burgundy (Côte d'Or)

This tasting event was an opportunity to explore and learn about the ever-complex but amazingly delicious red wines of the Côte d'Or.  No other wine region in the world offers such an array of variation from a single variety of grape, than Burgundy, and that grape is Pinot Noir.  The session began by tasting examples of the different classifications of Burgundy beginning with a Village wine from Gevery-Chambertin followed by a Premier Cru from Beaune-Marconnets and finally a Grand Cru from Corton - an interesting comparison to say the least, with each wine both displaying characteristic traits of its status within the Burgundy ranking and increasing in complexity as we tasted our way to the top of the ladder.    

In total, we tasted five wines plus an additional surprise bottle donated by Bruce and Terry (we'll get to that one in a moment...)  Following the Corton-Grèves Grand cru, an incredible wine by all accounts, the group then sampled two Premier cru selections, both of the 1995 vintage.   

The wines are listed below in the order they were tasted:

1999 Domaine Trapet, Gevery-Chambertin
2002 Domaine Remoissenet, Beaune-Marconnets 1er Cru
2002 Domaine Louis Jadot, Corton-Grèves Grand Cru
1995 Domaine Remoissenet Pere & Fils, 1er Cru Pommard-Épenots
1995 Domaine Grivot, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux-Monts

Each bottle was decanted prior to serving and Tyler provided an explanation and demonstration of how to traditionally decant by candlelight and then gave some advice on the more common and practical methods of removing sediment from a bottle.  As usual, vintage and antique corkscrews were available to provide anyone daring enough to try, an opportunity to open a bottle as wine enthusiasts might have over a hundred years ago (the arm-strong method!).   Then, to add to the entertainment, a surprise bottle appeared wrapped in paper to disguise its identity.  A Blind-Tasting the membership feared!  No, not at all - there is no pressure at a North of 9 tasting event.   Instead, we poured and tasted the 'secret bottle' donated by Bruce and indirectly Terry though she says that she was not in on the plan.  Everyone sampled the mystery bottle and then, the question:  Based upon the colour and structure of the wine, where in the classification of Burgundy do you think this wine fits:  ie. Village, Premier Cru, or Grand Cru?...

After asking the group for their thoughts and opinions of the anonymous wine, Tyler and Bruce then revealed their little conspiracy - a bottle of 2007 Pelee Island Reserve Pinot Noir - Ontario wine!  The Pelee Island wine is a good example of Pinot Noir from outside of the Côte d'Or and can easily hold its own against many of the new-world producers but unfortunately, when compared directly against the mighty Pinot of Burgundy, it lacks complexity and finesse. Still, it is Canadian and we are proud of it. 

The older bottles were fascinating.  At 15 years of age, both 1er Crus, the Pommard donated by Gary and Joy and the Vosne-Romanée by Tyler and Jacquie,  were still very much alive, fresh, delicate, and still with plenty of fruit structure on the palate though on the nose, the earthy notes were pushing to the forefront; an absolute pleasure in both cases!   

As always, our group tasted and ranked the wines in order of personal preference.  The top 3 labels were as follows:

1 - 2002 Corton-Grèves Grand Cru (Côte de Beaune)
2 - 1995 1er Cru Pommard-Épenots (Côte de Beaune) 
3 - 1995 Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux-Monts (Côte de Nuits)

    The results of this tasting are not as clear-cut as our previous session.  In this case, the second and third place wines were ranked very closely together; almost too close to differentiate in fact, though the Pommard did place slightly higher.  To some degree, all things being ideal, we expect the Corton-Grèves Grand Cru to  place first but for the older wines to follow immediately behind, is a indication the group's preference for mature wine.
    To those who donated wine to this event - Thank-you very much!  We look forwartd to seeing everyone in March for an afternoon tasting Italy's great red - Barolo.