Sunday, April 12, 2009
Burgundy...It Does Not Suck
Friday evening, a night just like any other....who the hell am I kidding?! Friday night started with a 1982 Francois Jobard Meursault Pourzots, lovingly aged by our very own Bennett Traub, (New World wine buyer), popping a bottle of 1999 Guy de Chassey...you know, to settle my nerves, then found me slurping 2006 Domaine De Montille & Deux Montille, Pommard, Volnay, Rully, Meursault, you know...junk like that, and ended at Amy's house aka The Vortex with a bottle of Jose Dhondt Blanc de Blancs and a bottle of 2004 Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrieres....rough night non?
I had been out way too late with my partners in crime, (hubby & Amy) the night before, truth be told Amy did not leave my house until damn near 11:00....am, argh. I was feeling beyond tired Friday afternoon, in no shape to lead a class, let alone one about Burgundy, lots to discuss in those. My one and only saving grace was that the "class" was set up more as a tasting, a tasting of wines from one family but two labels; Domaine de Montille and Deux Montille.
I have been lucky enough to meet both Alix and Etienne De Montille, the brother and sister team that make the wines, Alix, (sister) making the wines at Deux Montille and whites for Domaine De Montille and Etienne making the reds for Domaine de Montille and is also the winemaker at Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet. I met Alix four years ago when she was here promoting the Deux Montille wines, I fell instantly in love with her....she just seemed to vibrate with a, "I wanna have fun" attitude, she was spunky, sparkly and we ended up sneaking puffs of a cigarette on the patio of the restaurant we were drinking and eating too much in. Moreover, I think she is an amazing winemaker....her hand with Chardonnay is deft, the wines have power, bright fruit but have a shocking core of minerals and fierce acidity...love, love, love them!
I think I have met Etienne three times now, the first time being at the family Domaine in Burgundy where he made me feel like a princess all throughout the dinner they had prepared for us. The other times were both here while he was promoting his estate and those of Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet, one time was with Alix and the other was in the fall of last year. Etienne seems a touch more, restrained, still fun and very charming but everything, right down to the v-neck sweaters with a shirt and tie, just seems more "business". His wines seem a bit flashier than Alix's, just more ready right out of the box although I am confident that the wines have plenty of life in them. I adore his wines both for early drinking and for their purity of fruit and place and if pressed I might be willing to admit that the wines from Domaine de Montille are some of my favorites in all of Burgundy.
The point being that I could pretty much coast through the tasting, share my love for these people and their wines and not have to tax my remaining brain cells too much, a very good thing. Got to work and found that Bennett had been sweet enough to bring a bottle of older white Burgundy, the 1982 Jobard, for us to drink/taste together....sa-weet! We were first floored by the deep golden color of this 27 year old Chardonnay, almost looked like honey in the glass, the nose was rich, sappy and densely packed with roasted nuts citrus. Amy buried her nose in the glass and gasped, "Oh my God, this still has so much amazing fruit!" I waited to taste the wine before I gushed...the thing was sexy as hell, made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and sent a naughty little shiver down my back..."Well, hello sexy one" I managed to coo in my most Mae West sounding growl. We played with the lovely little thing for a bit but thought it might be cool to share a little with some of the regular Burgundy buyers that were attending the class later....so, we moved on.
It has become a ritual of sorts for Amy and I to have a glass of Champagne before we do a class, it soothes the nerves, makes us happy...looser, and gives a something to look forward to because we finish the bottle while cleaning up and closing up the shop, Friday night it was the last bottle of 1999 Guy de Chassey Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs, ($79.99). I had been staring at that lone bottle for a couple weeks now, it was purring at me....I wanted it more than a fat kid wants cake, (wow...a 50 Cent quote...whoda thunk?) and after that saucy Meursault I needed something stunning.....found it! This is the most floral, herby Champagne I have ever had, I dig the hell out of this wine and while I know it may not sing for a lot of folks, it just does it for me....so different and expressive, the finish is way long and leaves my palate full of white flowers and herbs, a very nice change and I stood before the class, a tad ragged looking but with a very happy palate.
The stand out wines from the tasting, (although I truly thought everything was sound, pure and beautiful) were, from red to white, which is how we tasted them;
2006 Domaine de Montille Beaune 1er Cru Les Perrieres, ($63.99) Bright but delicate red fruit, rose petals and very gentle spice. This was the most forward, (red or white) of the night, just pretty as hell.
2006 Domaine de Montille Pommard 1er Cru Les Rugiens, ($119.99) Polar opposite of the Beaune Perrieres, brooding, dark fruit, earthy a touch meaty even, this wine made you work for the aromatics, there was more going on in the mouth but you had to really want it. Not a drink tonight wine for sure but man, with a few years in the cellar....damn.
2006 Deux Montille Rully, ($30.99) Citrus, limestone and acid all with a lovely full but restrained mouth feel. Very easy to drink and simple to love.
2006 Domaine de Montille Beaune 1er Cru Les Aigrots, ($65.99) I had prepared the class to take a second to appreciate the texture of this wine, "Notice how it seems to wrap itself around your tongue" I told them and did it ever! Doughy, rich, full of apple and pears with a splash of minerals and a long, tongue gripping finish, we even had people come back the next day for more of this one....very serious white wine that out classes anything I have had from California....hell out classes much of Burgundy as well.
We ended the evening early....thankfully and decided to join our hubbies that were in the middle of a man date, they dined on big hunks of meat and did whatever it is boys do when their women are away, prolly made like fart sounds and stuff....ugh. We found out through text messages that they were at The Vortex, (Amy home) and we headed over....should have gone home. There in the living room were our "men" plus another friend, quite, um....liquored up, playing the newest version of Guitar Hero, (video game with fake guitars where you get to pretend to be a rock star) one of them even had a violent case of the hick-ups....Um, wonder why jackass?! Amy and I went from the beauty of Champagne and Burgundy to Bevis and Butthead....awesome.
To kill the pain in our asses Amy popped a bottle of Jose Dhondt Blanc de Blancs, ($64.99) yeasty, rich and bright it went down all too fast so she hit the cellar and graciously opened a bottle of Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet 2004 Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrieres....heady way to end the evening but that rich, round wine was just what we needed and rounded out what ended up being a pretty fantastic day of wine.