Tag Archives: White Burgundy

Good, White Burgundy

26 Aug

Pierre Morey Bourgogne Aligoté Meursault, 2011. Cote D’Or, France. From Crush Wine & Spirits, $17/bottle, 11%ABV.

I know. If you love white burgundy… the gentle fruit, the depth, the minerality, the focus… then you already know. Good & cheap white burgundy simply doesn’t exist. I know I constantly search for white burgundies that cost anywhere from $60-$100 for the liquid crack I enjoy with almost everything, but that makes food just sing!

Except that it does exist, really. It’s just not cheap. I just had a case of Pierre Morey 2011 Bourgogne Aligoté arrive at my home for less than two tickets to a Broadway show. Ben over at Crush Wine  knows me well enough to let me know when the great value is in. Just for kicks, as I was enjoying my second, *decadent* and final glass, I clicked over from gloating about this wine on TimeWaster (uh, I mean Facebook) to see what Sherry-Lehman had in white Burgundy under $20. Online, 17 hits from $12-20. Seriously! For 67 Wine, also 17 hits for white Burgundy under $20.

It is out there. But you have to work, just a little. I wouldn’t want to drink all of them, but there are at least three at each store that are very tasty to me. My rarely-purchased-but-lusted-after favorites (that I can afford) cost 4-5 times as much, but this is a delicious wine and I can’t wait to share it with my neighbors.

Pale straw color with a nose of salt sea air, gentle citrus with beautiful acidity makes this roll on your tongue like a summer morning. A luxuriously long finish exists (if you care enough to pay attention and not suck down more of this easy-going elixir) with notes of stone, rhubarb, and lemon/lime zest on the finish. “That’s really good,” said my much better half. Yes, it is. And one bottle costs less than seeing a movie, for crying out loud.

I should really delete this post and buy another case, but I’m out of room in my wine cellar. Sigh… first world problems. I guess it’s time to invite people over for a tasting of some of the 2004 wines, and a bottle of the 2011 Morey Aligoté.

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à votre santé!

(seriously: invite yourself over to my house soon before it’s all gone. You’ve been warned.) 
 
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Desert Island Whites

3 Jul

Is there a red wine you’d drink with breakfast? Perhaps not. But if I were on a desert island and had to choose one wine, I might choose one of these three. They’d certainly be on my list (along with a couple of impossibly expensive choices, including several Montrachets, Cheval Blanc, and one Prüm- most of which I can’t afford) and most importantly, would pair beautifully with island food- fruit, shellfish, seafood, white meat, salad. Right? Easy to enjoy, day or night!

Best of all, these are easy to share with your friends. You’ve already seen the “dark horse” wines I served at a recent neighborhood wine tasting. Now I get to share the three “heavy hitter” wines I served as the culmination to that evening’s selection of white wines. Scroll below the picture for more info:

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Paul Pillot Bourgogne Aligoté  2010. Approx $16.

http://www.domainepaulpillot.com/english.htm

 

DuMol Russian River Valley Chardonnay, 2011. Approx $50

http://dumol.com/ 

 

Far Niente Napa Valley Chardonnay, 2012. Approx $65.

http://farniente.com/wines-vineyards/napa-valley-chardonnay/

I’m not providing my personal tasting notes for these wines because in writing them, I quickly got sidetracked with my personal relationship with each wine. Away they went!  So instead, I’ll explain why they are worth celebrating:  

Each of these wines is beautifully made and expresses the winemaker’s skill, the perfection of the grape, as well as terroir with minimal outer influence. Each also demonstrates precise fruit, driven minerality, clean acidity, and expansive depth. They are amazing alone and absolutely stunning with a proper food pairing. The great beauty of serving these wines at a tasting is watching as a person tastes the wine for the first time, comes back to the well a second and third time, finding new notes as the wine opens and expands, evoking additional flavors and expressions. Tasting these wines is wonderful, watching the taster’s face and excitement during the process is also wonderfully addictive and exciting!

While not necessarily “showy” wines, they are instead, massive crowd-pleasers. It was a joy to share these with others and to see them experience such well-made wines after such a long tasting, but the effects were not lost on the group. Everyone found at least one of these three they loved and truly appreciated, and that makes a wine tasting all the sweeter.

What would YOUR desert island wine be?

à votre santé!

Triple Play

29 Sep

First Base

Heinz Eifel’s Spatlese Riesling, 2011. Mosel, Germany.  From Mayfair Wine & Liquor, @ $15/bottle.

Having enjoyed Eifel’s Eiswine immensely, I picked up the Rielsing to give it a try. With a pale straw color and sweet nose of agave and apple, the palate demonstrates nice green fruit with taut, crisp acidity that provides an excellent balance with a medium finish. This wine is probably best served earlier in the day in the sun, as an aperitif, or with near the final course. Sweet but balanced, my reactions on two tastings over several days were: “among the best rieslings I’ve ever tasted” and “really well balanced but feels too sweet right now” which pointed back to being tasted at a time of day that did not suit the wine well, a fault I claim. I think this is a great wine in the under-$20 range and has become a strong contender for my go-to riesling.

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Second Base

Macon-Lugny “Les Charmes” Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2011, Burgundy, France. From Sherry-Lehman, $16/bottle.

A delicious, entry-level burgundy with a light, greenish- gold color and nose of green fruit with a hint of citrus. In the mouth, a simple yet savory peach, lemon & fresh fruit base with notes of chalk, nuts, and vegetation. A savory quality without either an oakiness or buttery quality, this wine allows the drinker to appreciate the grape, not the barrel.  Best served over 55 degrees, as colder temperatures inhibit secondary notes and some creaminess, I appreciated the wine much more after sitting in the open for an hour.

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Third Base

Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Vielle Vignes Santenay, Ceps Centaires, 2011. Cote de Beaune, France. From Oak & Steel, $49/bottle.

A delicate burgundy with vibrant, pale translucent red color and nose of raspberry.  Very clean and tart mouthfeel of pure old-vine pinot noir: gentle red fruit, nice acidity, even tannins. Ideally this would best left in the cellar for another 3-5 years, but it paired wonderfully with grilled salmon and greek feta cheese bourekas. On night two with the Santenay: served with fusilli pasta with broccolini, garlic and olive oil. A wonderful pairing, the gentle flavors of the pinot really come alive on the palate. Delicious.  I noticed that after more air, the nose has great floral notes (iris, violet) and the acidity and tannins played perfectly with the garlic and oil. I’ll try to cellar a couple of these and see how the wine fares in 5 years.
I found this bottle in midtown Manhattan, hence the sticker shock, but the same wine is available online as low as $37. This cote de beaune is a rare, wonderfully crafted example of delicacy and efficiency.

 

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à votre santé!

Saint-Romain, Alain Gras 2011

26 Sep

Saint-Romain by Alain Gras, 2011.

13%ABV, $38 at Oak and Steel, NYC.

This wine is from Alain Gras, whose vineyard is in Saint-Romain-Le Haut, just southwest of Meursault. This wine is everything you would want in a classic white burgundy that features depth and structure of fruit, earth and acidity at a reasonable price.

Medium straw in color, the fruity nose has a touch of citrus. The palate is crisp young green fruit featuring lemon on the back palate with notes of toasted almond, dried wood, chalk and limestone rounding out this delicious wine. After the initial response in the mouth and after mixing with air, I experienced a floral mix with the citrus and toasted oak across the top palate with a rich, long finish. If I had to guess I would bet these are old vines- twenty-five to thirty years old.

This can be found online for as little at $28/bottle, and I know I’ll be looking for more. This is a perfect wine to pair with delicate foods or share with other with lovers with discerning taste, also a great gift bottle. This delicate wine has power and depth I’ve not found in the under $60/bottle range before. If you love white burgundy, you owe yourself to try an Alain Gras so that you know what is growing just west of Puligny-Montrachet for 1/10th of the price.

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à votre santé!

A White Burgundy: Devastatingly Good, Right Now.

19 Aug

René Lequin-Colin Bourgogne Chardonnay 2008

…purchased from Sherry-Lehmann (but for more than the current sale price) of $11.99.

The color is golden straw. The nose is crisp green apple with wildflowers and new oak. The mouthfeel is a crisp, citrus-laden quaff with gentle green fruit sliding behind a long finish that features marzipan, gravel, limestone, and fresh wood. The overall response at this age is medium to fuller body, some tang in the initial mouthfeel and on the finish. A lovely, refined, mature chardonnay, this is capable of being adored by itself but the true power is with a good pairing.

It took many years developing a love for white bordeaux before I could fall in love with white burgundy. I blame Chef Eric Ripert and Sommelier Aldo Sohm, whose pairings are unequivocally perfect. Pairings at Le Bernadin taught me that the secondary notes of white wines- that the delicate minerality, or the buttery oakiness  in the finish, would affect the entire sensory experience as a diner and guest. I hope all wine lovers have these revelations with wine. But I digress.

This wine is a great example of an incredible value right now. This 2008 is still drinking beautifully, but it’s approaching the end of that window. It’s on closeout at Sherry-Lehmann, and I’m trying to decide if I buy a few extra bottles or a case. Either way, I’m telling you about it first. Other wines from the same producer retail from $30-$140/bottle, and if you have the ability to buy a case of the Lequin-Colin Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2009, by all means, BUY IT! For the rest of us, at $12/bottle, this is a great value right now in delicious white burgundy. The wine won’t continue to drink as well, and the prices won’t stay as it sells out from inventory. I’d not hesitate to enjoy this nightly until the end of summer.

Lequin-Colin '08

à votre santé!

Friday Night Whites

11 May

From the “What I’m Tasting Right Now” files:

Moillard Bourgogne Tradition Chardonnay Bourgogne 2009

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A basic white burgundy I found while trolling wine shops near Columbus Circle. Color is deep straw. Nose has citrus and a touch of oak. In the mouth, a basic chardonnay, some fruit, a little cream as it warmed plus the classic wood finish as expected, but sadly there is little else of note here. I know that Maison Moillard was purchased in 2008 and is a huge producer but I had high expectations from this vintage. Perhaps as the second or third wine from this producer, my expectations were too high. $14/ half bottle (.375 litre).

Cupcake Vineyards Marlborough, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2011

After a dozen mentions from my wine friends & followers, I took the plunge and tasted several Cupcake wines. I found most of them good, solid values. I recently picked up a bottle locally to try over several days with different food pairings, here are the results:

Color: light straw. Nose: lemon, grapefruit, sweat. (Really. Don’t stick your nose in and drink the bouquet without being ready for a little underarm funk on the end. Sniff gently and enjoy.) In the mouth, tons of grapefruit, with a little key lime sweet & tartness, more tight, tart lemon on the finish. Nice acidity, this is a lovely apertif on a hot day, pairs beautifully with light appetizers- fresh fish or sashimi, salads, veggies- and just strong enough to work with asian or eastern entrée flavors. It cut through and cleaned the palate beautifully when tasted after castello blue cheese. But keep the wine cold or it loses some of its delight. For $11 this screwcap wine is a good value, and one you can trust will please your friends but won’t break the bank. Here’s a link to Cupcake Vineyards if you want to find out more.

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I leave you with my usual toast, and a picture from my friends Charles and Lynnette, who shared the picture below.

à votre santé!

Sante Wine

Seeking the ‘right’ White Wine

9 Mar
  • An entertainment industry associate reached out to me with a straightforward, basic wine question. She wrote:

    “I love your Jvb Uncorked! I’m learning more about wines. Can you tell me what’s the best white wine that is semi- sweet, but not too dry either? Something in the middle.” -WB

  • I responded:

    “Thanks for enjoying my blog! For white wine, there’s a huge amount out there.
    For future reference, some questions for you to help narrow the field might be:
    -Any specific grapes you prefer?
    -Any region or country of origin you prefer?
    -Have you found some grapes or wines that you know you don’t like?
    -Any price point/range to stay within?

    What fun we could have walking through a wine store and discussing pros and cons of various grapes and wines. Since that wasn’t possible, we’ll have to try it with simple response and a few web links.

    Obviously, I can be much more accurate if you have any specific answers to the above questions. I’ll happily take a stab without that information, but if you have any thoughts in response to that I’ll try again. Here you go:

    1) The white that first comes to mind in terms of your descriptors is one I keep on hand all the time for my wife Annette: a dry riesling, which is inexpensive, easy to drink on its own and pairs with just about anything. Her favorite brands are Clean Slate and Relax, both are German wines from Mosel and are easy, semi-sweet wines that are $9-11/bottle where I buy them.

    2) Next, a Loire Valley wine from France I’d suggest considering that matches your description is Vouvray (the grape is chenin blanc) and has the same flexibility as the dry riesling (having a touch of sweet and nice acidity to balance in the mouth). My favorite,  called Domaine de Vaufuget, is usually around $10/bottle and also easy to find.

    3) Now, this is too dry, but I think you might enjoy knowing about it. My personal favorite white wine to cellar and serve for special meals is sauvignon blanc over $30/bottle, so I don’t drink it often though I keep several bottle on hand and buy it direct from the California manufacturer: Modus Operandi’s Sauvignon Blanc. (Have I ever mentioned the delicious Napa cabernet sauvignon that had the essence of chocolate-covered strawberries on the finish?) This is from that same, amazing winemaker!) This sauv blanc reminds me of a great white bordeaux blend with the finest of California and New Zealand grapes. I raved about it here back in July.

    4) On the “high” end of the white wine spectrum, there are two wines I look to: White Bordeaux blends and White Burgundies. These can start in the under-$20 and head upwards from there, with some of my favorites being $60 and up (often limited to very small quantities!) They are subtle and complex, offering incredible structure in their delicacy.

    These are great wines to try, they usually have a lot of citrus, pear and apple but are not very sweet. Entry-level white burdgundies might include Laforet Chardonnay by Drouhin, or Les Charmes by Macon-Lugny. Both are in the $11-13/bottle range, a great entry to white burgundy. These are chardnnays that don’t have a lot of butter or oak, but are on the crisp side and are good by themselves or wonderful with vegetarian fare and fish dishes.

    The next grape in this category is called Aligote, which would be something nice to try if you like one of the less expensive white burgundies -that link will give you ten examples at one of NYC’s bigger stores, with prices from $11-28.

    5. For white bordeaux, there are two easy, entry-level white blends (just about every Bordeaux is a blend, so you get the best characteristics of several grapes, such as sauvingnon blanc, semillon, and the sweet muscadelle grape- to create a very flexible white table wine. Lamothe de Haux and Mouton Cadet Blanc are two white bordeaux in the $10-$12 range that are great entry level Bordeaux whites I trust very well. If you are ever looking for a higher end white Bordeaux for a special meal, there are great, subtle, well-structured wines like Chateau Corbonnieux , Blanc de Lynch-Bages, and Smith-Haut Lafitte, which are my three favorite white bordeaux wines hands-down, and I’d be remiss in not mentioning them.

    6. While it doesn’t have much sweetness, I’d be remiss to not even mention Pinot Grigio, which is Italy’s biggest export and the USA’s biggest wine import. Pinot Grigios are usually crisp and dry, and are very popular to drink at cocktail parties. Not much sweetness as I mentioned before, but worth tasting and considering if you like the grape in general and should consider it when you are pairing. The easiest to find Pinos (just about everywhere) are the Santa Margharita, about $20, Ruffino Lumina (about $13) and from California is Woodbridge Pinot Grigio that is a little more sweet and about $9/bottle.

    wine_store

    While it would be much more fun to peruse the aisles of a fine wine store together, pulling out several bottles for WB to review and choose from, I hoped my suggestions would be welcome and helpful in her selection of thoughts about what to buy.

    I got an note back with thanks from WB:

    “Jim, this excellent information! I tend to go towards a riesling most of the time and I’ve tried Pinot Grigio but felt it was a little dry. I’ll have to try the California one you suggested. This info is really great and I thank you for sharing.”

    You’re quite welcome, WB! I’m always happy to be of service, and thanks for reaching out!

    If you have a question or topic you’d like me to address, you can DM me at JvbUnCorked on Twitter, or email me privately at jvbuncorked@gmail.com.

    à votre santé!

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