Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Report from ... Bouchard and Fevre Tasting - April 28, 2009

Today, it's off to Burgundy to taste some very upscale Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays … alright, so I am not getting on a plane, but I am taking mass transportation – I’m hopping a bus-subway combination to make my way down to the Toronto Yacht Club to savour samples being offered by Woodman Wines. Now I’ve never claimed to be a Burgundy expert, my hat goes off to those who even claim such an honour, all those cotes, domaines and negocients is enough to make one feel that their head is going to explode. But I do understand the concept of Terroir - a sense and essence of place in the wine - of which Burgundy offers up a good argument for the concept. Each parcel of land gives the wine a different flavor and smell, even if it's ever so subtle … to understand Terroir one must check into Burgundy for an extended stay.

But as usual I’m off topic … you came on board to read about wines from William Fevre and Bouchard Pere et Fils and it's about time I take you there.

This relatively small tasting, 36 wines (8 from Fevre, 28 Bouchard), all showed subtlety of taste nuances in each glass. All were from the 2007 vintage - unless they happen to have a back vintage to compare it with. With prices starting at $32.00 for either house, I find much of the good Burgundy wine to be prohibitive to the average consumer (whose tastes and price range set at about the $20 to $25.00 mark – now adays it’s even lower, for example of that see the rise of a wine called FuZion at only $7.45 a bottle). But if you do find yourself with some extra shekels burning a hole in your pocket and your Jonesing for Burgundy (Chardonnay or Pinot Noir) here's what I recommend.

William Fevre ...

Three from Favre caught my tongue and each could be part of your day: (NB: all these wines are Chardonnays).

Good morning: 2007 Chablis ($32.00) … great wine to start the tasting, fresh fruit, lively and crisp with great minerality … this is a great wake up wine (meaning it snapped my mouth and taste buds into action - not the kind where you keep a bottle on the bedside table, but to each his own, right?).

Good afternoon: my second wine was 2007 Chablis Premier Cru Beauroy ($51.00) … basically you take the fresh mineral fruit from the first wine, add some subtle vanilla (from barrel) … all the while preserving the great fruit quality, and developing something extra – a softening of the acids (but not too much). This is your midday Chablis.

Good night: this is my "good night Irene" selection, the 2007 Chablis Grand Cru “Les Preuses” ($100) … this wine has seen extended aging in barrel (twelve to fifteen months) and lees contact (dead yeast cells remain in the wine during maturation to add even more complexity to the flavours). This wine remained crisp yet soft, had great fruit and wonderful barrel notes. To break it down simply, take the above description of the second wine throw in a dash of butterscotch, ad body and fullness to the mouth feel, and you've got your night time Chablis.

Bouchard Pere & Fils …

More wines to choose from. An array of Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, of which I recommend two Chardonnays and four Pinot Noirs (a top three and one that’s bubbling under):

My top Chardonnay(s):
2007 Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne ($204.00) … it just had so much going on both nose and taste-wise: cinnamon, vanilla, apple, pear and lemon smells; while in the mouth, smooth citrus flavors, soft lemon, creamy vanilla … this one was all about delivering pleasure to your palate with the least amount of aggression.
Next up: 2007 Premier Cru Meursault ($114.00) … lively nose of mineral, vanilla and butterscotch, palate had a lovely peach vanilla note.

The Pinot Noirs …
For me this came down to price - the top three (of my tasting notes) were close as far as enjoyment and subtle differences. It was then I learned that I have some pretty expensive taste, so in the end I just asked myself a very simple, straight-forward question: “is it worth the money? If I had the funds, which would I feel comfortable buying?" I do this because in the end it's all about the mighty dollar (or so my father told me).

1 - 2007 Premier Cru Volnay “Caillerets” ($96.00) … red cherry and vanilla greet the nose; the palate shows a nice complexity of flavor: great cherry, touches of sweet cranberry, along with spices and cinnamon. Entry is smooth, tannins are supple.

2 - 2007 Grand Cru Le Corton ($128) … this was very cherry, strawberry and vanilla cream, there was a little bite in the mouth from tannins, but not enough to be off-putting in any way. There's also a nice mineral component to this wine and the finish offers up an interesting sweet and sour cherry note.

3 - 2007 Premier Cru Nuits-Saint-Georges “Les Cailles” ($128.00) … mineral and cherry notes, great smooth mouth with a chalky-mineral finish.

Special mention: 2007 Premier Cru Savigny-les-Beaunes ($45.00) … simple yet very tasty, with a beautiful cherry nose - sour cherries, good vanilla, some tannins and earthy tones. Very enjoyable and delivers what to expect from Pinot Noir.

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