Continuing on the road after the Cote de Nuits and Beaune (Part 1), as we were passing through Meursault, we stopped by in Domaine Delagrange just to check out their interesting cave. The owners were busy drinking and talking with clients but still tried to be as hospitable as possible by asking us to see the barrel room and pouring some wines for tasting; imagine how chaotic it would be in June to August!
Because of my preference for rich and powerful red wine, the reds in Burgundy tickled my appetite but the whites were good, which compensated for the desire for reds. So I decided to drink nothing but whites till the Rhone.
While driving along Rue de Grands Crus, we saw some life happening in this rather quiet town so we checked it out. It was a medieval festival where people were dressed in medieval costumes and making and selling crafts and home-made food.
The excitement of driving through the most prestigious vineyards was too much to bear. Puligny-Montrachet, a commune in the Cote d’Or, along with Chassagne-Montrachet, which are referred to as Montrachet for Puligny and Le Montrachet for Chassagne. The vineyard of Montrachet is perched on the 10 degree mid-slope facing southeast, the best spot, sunny and protected from wind, so called a sweet spot. It is all about location and soil, which sounded unfair; the land you are inherited defines your future, in other words.
The panels of 4 Grands Crus, Bâtard-Montrachet, Montrachet, Chevalier-Montrachet, or Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet, marking the boundaries so obscure to the untrained eyes flicked by. I had a sad memory of corked and oxidised Puligny-Montrachet Leflaive 2004 valued at €160, which was drunk on my wine course, so I was excited about the prospect of drinking Montrachet again. What was funny at that time was that I rather liked the oxidised Puligny.
If you’re curious about the boundaries of Montrachet, check this map. Apparently, 36 different wine-producers make wines from grapes sourced from the two sites, so the style and taste of wine varies depending on the wine maker. If you want to dig in Montrachet, read some more on this blog to save me from explaining.
After the little fun break, we moved along and found a small cave in the village where we had the honour to taste wine straight from the barrels. Even though it wasn’t a famous domaine, I really appreciated him for having opened a few precious bottles for us.
The friendly American wine-maker at Domaine Anne Bavard-Brooks is doing the biodynamic farming and I could feel how excited and proud he was of what he does. His wines we tasted were pretty good, nice acidity, floral and buttery taste, and I hope he does well with his wines.
We did a major tasting for 1er cru Montrachet at Caveau Municipal, a total of 4 wines, and this is the photo with the bottles placed in the order of my preference. The quality was impressive but the price wasn’t that friendly, which was how I was feeling throughout the trip about Burgundian wines.
This Burgundy tour for me was more about comparing the region, culture, food and wine with that of Bordeaux rather than reviewing specific wines. So there isn’t much point in writing everything in detail and that is the reason my posts are relatively short but it is still better than nothing because it helps me organise photos at the same time. However, I took some tasting notes for the 4 wines and got a general idea about Puligny and Chassagne.
Of the 4 wines I tasted, Marc Colin et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets 2011 and Domaine Vincent Girardin Puligny-Montrachet Les Referts 2009 were my favourites because of high acidity, elegant and harmonious stony fruit and floral taste with the lingering minerality – sorry, no offense – I can correct myself and say wet stones and briny instead – but the latter was slightly heavier and oakier with more green apple and honey flavours. Generally Chassagne seemed less fruity and acidic and Morgeot Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard was the oakiest, for which I didn’t appreciate it much. The toasty, biscuity, nutty and buttery taste, the main characteristic of Montrachet wines, was present in most wines, which were very different to the heady and over-oaked Chardonnay that I used to drink back in the days in Australia and New Zealand.
I thought I’d drunk more white wines in two days than in my entire drinking years and also realised how great Chardonnay wines could be. It’s time to drink some special reds. Beaujolais and Cote du Rhone next!
- Rare Burgundy Dinner – 1919, 1923, 1928, 1929, 1937, 1947 and more! (camwheeler.com)
- What’s in a name? Chardonnay (mycustardpie.com)
- Small Producers in Burgundy (Divine Burgundy Wines)