A few highlights from Burgundy

I was fortunate to be able to take a trip back to Burgundy this fall.  We spent a week in Beaune with some friends enjoying food, wine, and company.  I’ll try to put together a more comprehensive piece on this in the near future, but here are a few of the highlights from the trip.

Dinner at Ma Cuisine:

If you’ve been to Beaune in search of Burgundy, then you’ve almost certainly heard of this restaurant.  Tucked away just off the Place Carnot, Pierre Escoffier has curated quite a wine list.  The best part is that the prices for the wines are generally quite good, especially considering it is a restaurant in a touristy town in wine country.  The food is solid, hearty Burgundian fare.  I enjoyed a pork cheek with a red wine demiglace while my lovely wife had the classic boeuf bourguignon.  The food was good, but the wines here are the true stars (at least for me).

Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Clavoillons 2014

I have had a few of Leflaive’s lower level wines, but this was the first 1er cru I’ve had from them.  Pale straw color with a nose of lemon peel and spring floral notes; with air pear and apple appear, hints of stony mineral notes, just a tiny hint of spice; the palate is excellent with great depth that is countered by laser like acidity; super lifted and remains elegant despite the clear power and flavors it carries; delicious

Domaine Jacques Frederic Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Fuees 2014

Mugnier is one of my favorite producers, unfortunately his Chambolle 1er’s are often too pricey.  This was reasonably priced so we went for it; it started with an explosive nose with pure, airy red fruits; red currant jam, strawberry, crushed raspberry, minerals, violet, a hint of sandalwood and other spices lingering under the fruit; the palate is lifted and ethereal with great concentration yet it seems to just float along with the juicy current of acidity underlying; sure it was way to young… but wow it was delicious

Domaine Comte Liger-Belair Nuits-St Georges 1er Cru Les Cras 2013

This is the first wine I’ve tasted from Louis Michel Liger-Belair; the prices in the US are generally absurd, but this was “reasonable”.  Compared to the Mugnier had alongside the contrast is stark; this dark, powerful, brooding, and rich next to the airy elegance of the Chambolle; nose with plum, bilberry, and damp earth; forest floor and mint; the palate is rich and dense with power and structure in spades, yet still remains suave and balanced; the finish lingers and lingers; this is outstanding and should cellar beautifully.

Tasting at Bouchard Pere et Fils

Most Burgundy lovers are more into small domaines rather than the bigger negociants and I am no exception to this.  Thus I’ve not really had much wine from Bouchard nor have I really looked for it.  However, given that the wine quality is reputedly high and the prices are reasonable, I thought it would be a good place to taste some nicer wines.  Not to mention, I wanted to try to score a bottle of their Montrachet which generally receives quite good reviews while being priced at 1/2 of many other producers.  The tour alone was worth the visit as the cellars are very cool and expansive.  Our guide was very knowledgeable and tolerated our screaming children which was a plus.  The tasting itself was good, though if you’re hoping to taste the Clos de Beze and Montrachet you will be disappointed.  The wines overall were very good and while I found that I preferred the whites, the reds were certainly high quality.  In the end, we did get to taste what was the best white wine of the trip for me:

Bouchard Pere et Fils Chevalier-Montrachet La Cabotte 2012

This was a wow wine for me; the nose is initially intensely mineral with hints of spice, lemon curd, baked apple/pear, there are some acacia/spring floral notes with air; the palate is big, yet the minerality of the wine gives it a precise and laser like energy; the flavors seem to keep expanding and changing in the mouth and it finishes long and lingering.  The combination of the intensity/depth with the energy/lift was fabulous.  It would be fun to taste a pristine bottle of this in 10-15 years.

Tasting at Domaine Michel Gros

I’ve been aware of the wines of Michel Gros for several years and have had a few, mostly from the early 2000s.  They were always good, though lacked a little bit of elegance for me. I contacted them about a tasting and they were willing to host us which was great.  In preparation we tried a magnum of 2012 Aux Brûlées and it was stellar.  Pure and delicious fruit with classic Vosne spice.  Young, but balanced and polished enough to drink now.  It made me more excited to try the newer wines.  We were able to sample several 2016s and they did not disappoint.  The wines were excellent across the board for their level, from the Haute Cotes to the Vosne 1ers, there was not a single wine that I did not thoroughly enjoy.  So if you’ve not tried any wines from this Gros recently, you may want to put them back on your radar!

Michel Gros Hautes-Cotes de Nuits 2016

This was quite good with ripe cherry and currant, floral and mineral notes; the palate has very good balance and quite nice depth for a Hautes-Cotes; this would be a very good value buy

Michel Gros Vosne-Romanee 2016

It is immediately evident that it is Vosne with rich red fruits and loads of spice; there are some hints of earth and floral notes with air; the palate has good balance and very good concentration for the level; this should drink very nicely in 5-6 years.  A very high quality village wine that is a very good value.

Michel Gros Vosne-Romanee 1er cru Aux Brûlées 2016

As good as the village level was, this was clearly a step up in comparison; the nose is explosive with ripe, rich fruits, floral notes, and baking spices; the depth is expansive on the palate and it lingers quite beautifully.  Great balance and just so suave.  Delicious; should be excellent in 8-12 years.  This be my favorite wine of the domaine

Michel Gros Vosne-Romanee 1er cru Clos de Reas 2016

From the monopole of the domaine; this is darker and spicier in comparison to the Brûlées; a bit earthier as well showing fresh plowed soil, but still shows excellent balance and lovely rich fruits on the palate; this is almost drinkable now, but should only improve with 6-8 years.

These are really just a few of the great experiences and wines that we were able to sample, but as time is tight these days between catching up on work, organizing the cellar with new purchases from the trip, parenting, and getting out after some elk meat I will bring this to a close.  I will try to get back soon with some more notes from the trip and other recent new experiences.

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