Saturday, October 17, 2009

White Burgundy Blues

One thing that drives me crazy about my wine group is just how difficult it is to get them to sit down and taste white wines. After twisting their arms I finally got them to agree to a white wine evening and it was fabulous. Despite this, it has taken me two years to get the gang to agree to another white tasting and unfortunately this was less successful...

But it SHOULD have been a success - a bunch of winos with reasonable wine budgets were tasked to find some White Burgundies (my idea), but somewhere between idea and execution it flopped.

This was absolutely no fault of the host - Chris put on a tremendous spread of aquatic delicacies, so incredible that we saw very little of him that evening as he was continuously shuttling between the bbq and the table, serving up steamed fish and grilled seafood - truly stunning, over the top decadent, actually.

But the disappointment was the wine, a rarity in my group tastings. There were simply no "wow" moments, as wine after wine went from pretty good to ho-hum...

Interestingly, tonight's flight of wines included two of EXACTLY the same wine, and two of the same wine but different vintages - here are my notes:

The crowd favourite was Ash's 2005 Domaine Cordier Juliette la Grande from Pouilly-Fuise, definitely not the appellation I expected to win. Crisp apples, white flowers, pear and a hint of limes on the nose, flavourful and crisp, minerally and focused on the palate. Score: 17.5/20

Ok, so I threw in a non-Burgundy "surprise", and my 2005 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay ranked a surprising second place in this flight of pricey Burgundies. Woody, citrussy and a some cheesey notes, but absolutely impeccable on the palate, with acid, minerals and fruit in near perfect harmony. Great balance, a tremendous finish, this wine is sooo underpriced. Score: 18/20

Saving our tasters from embarrassment, the third and fourth place wines (brought by Cam and Chris) were in fact the same and scored nearly identically by most tasters. The 2006 Bouchard Pere et Fils Meursault "Le Porusot" was buttery apples, white flowers and a subtle "green-ness" on the nose, soft and creamy on the palate with good acidity, nearly perfect balance. This was the kind of wine I thought we'd see more of tonight. Score: 17/20

Sticking to the theme, my other wine was a Chablis. But my 2006 Moreau et Fils Chablis Grand Cru Vaudesir underperformed where I thought it would show. Citrus and flowers with some expected apple notes, incredibly finessed and well structured - firm, minerally, but with nice fruit and a very long finish. More controversial (scores all over the place), but my style of Chablis. Score: 17.5/20

Next was Pramod's 2003 Louis Jadot Meursault Genevrières - it started ok, with pretty caramel apples and green grass, but it was awkward and flat on the palate - tasty on another evening, but surrounded by too many great wines today. Score: 16.5/20

Interestingly, the last place wine was the 2002 Domaine Cordier Juliette la Grande, an older vintage of our first place wine. Very intriguing on the nose - almost Sauternes-like, with caramel and cooked fruit, dried apricots and floral notes. Unfortunately it had faded on the palate and was soft and unfocused - very different from the other wines. A wine that seemed past its prime, but it struck me as a wine that was probably VERY good in its prime. Score: 16/20

Personally, my disappointment was with the concentration of the wines amongst a few vineyards - I just don't feel like we captured the essence of white Burgundy today. But even more disappointing is the knowledge that it could be a VERY long time before I get the gang to agree to another white wine tasting.


Edward said...


Good to hear you are trying to push the whites. Your group sounds very hard core! Personally I'm all for equal opportunity and try to always open at least a few of each. . .

How much is the Bouchard in Canada?

Shea said...

Personally I even prefer whites to reds for drinkability.

Curious results, but not unexpected. Randomly selected burgundy can always be a challenge.

I find Grand Cru Chablis does not show well young - it just aint worth the $$ vs. 1er cru at anything under 5 years of age.

Marcus said...

A Montelena, a $100 Pouilly-Fuisé and a host bearing aquatic delicacies. My place, anytime.

I suggest a different tack - don't woo red wine lovers with big whites ... go all aromatic and weird on them. Let them lose any angle for comparison. Top drawer Santorini, Muscadet, Vermentino, Ribolla, Cortese and Friulano could wow them at the price of twin Bouchards.

I dunno, worth a shot.

Joe said...

Ed - funny how a group of otherwise respectable wine lovers would eschew white wine. The Bouchard Porusot is C$94.25.

Shea - I'm like Ed, could drink either, depends on dinner. To be fair, I've had the same results for randomly selected Burgundy reds. As for Chablis, interesting comment - I have a few Grand Crus that I will leave for a few years and see if there is any improvement.

Marcus - I under sold Chris' seafood extravaganza, but I just didn't take good enough notes to trumpet his culinary expertise. I like your thought, but the only way I get this bunch to drink white again is to buy 60 black tasting glasses.