Shana Speaks Wine

Wine Journalist, Copywriter, and Marketing Consultant

Drinking out loud. 

Filtering by Category: "Burgundy"

Health Check: My Collection

After a harrowing tasting of one of my bottles the other week, I've been very concerned about the state of the others.  Did I royally fuck them up via poor storage? Nervously, I brought two bottles over to my friend's apartment as refreshments for a photo shoot.  One white, one red.  How'd they fare?

Hermann J Wiemer, Magdalena Vineyard, Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, 2011 - Yee-haw, this Riesling was just as amazing as when I first tried it over the summer.   It was all about the peach and apricot upon first sniff, but then limes and grapefruits came through, quickly followed by slate.  On the palate, it was like bushelfuls of orchard fruits had been dumped into the glass, but again, citrus to the rescue to keep it zesty.  Although it was classified as a dry Riesling, I did sense more residual sugar than anticipated. The high acid and viscous body gave it depth and interest and I'm sad that my sole bottle of this wine is gone. 

Domaine Anne & Jean-Francois Delorme, Mercurey, Burgundy, 2009 - This pinot noir started tight; I faintly detected blackberry, raspberry, a bit of plum and while the scents of soil and earth were apparent, the alcohol was rather prominent on the nose.  The first few sips didn't do much to boost my confidence; the alcohol was giving off some major heat and the whole thing tasted a bit flat.  Fuuuuuuccccckkkk. Luckily, it just needed a bit of time and air. As it evolved it became more lush and round on the palate.  The tannins and acid found they groove, giving the flowering fruits a richness to their flavor. I breathed a massive sigh of relief. 

I think they're going to pull through, but fingers crossed….

What's In Your Suitcase?

I pride myself on my packing skills and can pretty much go anywhere with just a carry-on. Over time, I've learned how to edit so it's just myself and a bag on a plane. When I see people in the airport with an entire luggage train, I wonder, what could they possibly be carrying?

On a recent Friday night, one of my favorite wine stores, Le Du, hosted a last minute tasting of Burgundy wines from producer Benjamin Leroux of Maison Benjamin Leroux and Comte Armand.  Apparently, he was in the country for a visit and had a ton of wine with him - did the shop want to host a tasting? Forget the extra pairs of shoes, that's the kind of overpacking I want to do.

When we arrived, the tasting was well underway and a crowd bunched around a table lined with 11 wines. Seven of the wines were available in the store plus four "bonus" wines, two of which were  premier crus.  I wasn't able to note all, but below are some highlights.

Maison Benjamin Leroux Auxey Duresse Blanc 2010
Pale yellow in the color, the nose showcased some citrus fruits, slate, minerality and a twee bit of oak.  With the first sips, the wine showcased a moderate acidity and similar flavors to the nose.  The slight bit of oak persisted, which I personally found a little off-putting. However, it was restrained enough to not be confused with a California chardonnay.

Maison Benjamin Leroux Chassagne Montrachet Abbaye de Morgeot 2010
With this wine, lime is the name of the game:  lime fruits and limestone notes dominated the glass. There was more minerality in this one than the Auxey Duresse and the oak was absent. Again, the wine expressed a moderate acidity and was wonderfully balanced; here's a beautiful example of a white Burgundy.

Maison Benjamin Leroux Volnay Mitans 2010
Black cherry, strawberry, violets and bit of ash were immediately noticed when we smelled the wine and after sipping through, the fruits came through again.  It was traditionally light bodied structured with moderate tannins.  This was a very elegant wine - a real pinkie lifter.

Comte Armand Pommard 1er Cru clos des Epeneaux 2010
"Purple" was the first word that came to mind with this wine.  Black cherry, plum and violets joined green pepper, rosemary and other herbaceous notes in the nose.  On the tongue, the fruits burst with bing cherry, blueberries and super-ripe plums.  The herbs planted themselves back into earthy notes and  you could taste the all the vineyard components with each sip.  Truly a stunning wine.

Comte Armand Pommard 1er Cru clos des Epeneaux 1999
This is the oldest Burgundy I have ever consumed and was a prime example of how a wine ages.  Fruit was almost nonexistent in this wine and instead earth, tobacco, ash and a muskiness pervaded. An odd scent of sour milk also wafted through, though it was muted. On the tongue, I had to dig around for a bit to find traces of violets and overripe plums. The noticeable tannins gave this wine quite a bit of structure.  Crazy-complex and a good indicator of what its younger sibling is going to taste in a few years.

Keep tasting, friends...

Mega Magnums and Pinot Pours

"This is going to be a good time."

That was my initial thought upon first walking into Bar Boulud.

Why?  Because of these guys:

Ladies and gentlemen, we have magnums.  Ones that run the entire length of the bar.  Ones that hold some gorgeous French wines, like the Chateauneuf du Pape featured in the center. Any place that will unabashedly display such a huge collection of treasures wants you to drink wine and damn well enjoy it.

To my disappointment, the magnum du jour was a Beaujolais and while the entertainment value of watching a glass of it be poured from that enormous bottle was high, the actual glass of the stuff was going to be..... well, I'll be democratic and just say not what I was in the mood to drink.

However, the initial draw of Bar Boulud, as promised to me by my friend, was wine flights.  At this point, I think it's fairly well established that I love wine flights and I'm always happy to spend some time comparing and contrasting what's set in front of me.  A flight amidst all this wine peacocking?  Yes, please.

I went with a Pinot Noir flight, an interesting study in how differently the same grape can be vinified and the role of terroir.  Although it's one of the most widely planted grape varietals in the world, I don't drink many pinots, so this was going to be a fun experiment.

Chad Carneros Reserve 2010, California
Right up front, black cherry, earth and bell pepper came through on the nose.  Jammy, juicy fruits, such as raspberry and plum joined on the palate, as well as more pronounced tones of earthiness.  Vegetal notes rounded out the medium-bodied red, with moderate tannins.  I rather enjoyed this one.

Domaine David Renaud Vigneron a Irancy 2010, Chablis 
Chablis is an area in Burgundy that primarily produces premium chardonnays, so a red from this area is  rare. It's an interesting study in the various Bourgogne appellations and the effects the subtle differences in terroir can have on a wine.  This pinot was the lightest in color of the three.  Spices such as sage and rosemary joined ripe berry fruits and that pronounced earthiness again made an appearance.  However, this wine felt rather thin and flat in my mouth.  It was definitely my least favorite.

Domaine Petitot "Les Pimentiers",  2009, Savigny-les-Beaune
Burgundy.  World-class pinot.  Got it. My favorite of the three, this is an excellent entre into the world of Burgundies.  Juicy and round, this medium-bodied wine had pronounced but well-integrated tannins, giving it structure and depth.  The flavor profiles were similar in terms of fruit and earth to the Chablis, but far more complex.

This was definitely a great primer into the world of pinot noir; unfortunately, I think I'm going to be on a quest to drink some rather expensive Burgundies....