Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Louise Perrin in Aloxe-Corton

We arrived in France at Charles de Gaulle airport on a red eye flight early on a Saturday morning and immediately headed for the Gare de Lyon to take the high speed train, called the TGV, to Dijon. This was almost two hours of half-asleep-trying-to-look-out-the-window-at-the-passing-countryside-but-too-tired-to-keep-your-eyes-open. After arriving in Dijon we walked a few blocks to Hertz, somewhat comically pronounced "airltz" in French. In that dazed state I drove my 6 and a half months pregnant wife and myself out of town towards Aloxe-Corton.

I felt as if I were dreaming as we passed through the towns of Moray St Denis, Gevrey Chembertin, Chambolle Musigny, Vosne Romanee, and Nuits St Georges...sometimes driving alongside famous vinyards like Clos Vougeot and Clos Marechale. I was a kid in a candy store.

BrooklynLady is great at researching hotels and restaurants, picking the best places for us to go and the yummiest places to eat. She selected the Hotel Villa-Louise for our stay in Burgundy, and it was perfect, really. I unconditionally and without hesitation recommend this hotel to anyone visiting Burgundy. The rooms were spotlessly clean, the beds comfortable, the rooms spacious, bright, and quiet, the surroundings lovely, and the staff friendly and helpful.

To my taste, the location is perfect also. Just a 10 minute drive from Beaune, the "largest" city in the immediate area, you can easily access restaurants and wineries in the Cotes de Beaune and the Cotes de Nuits. But staying at Villa Louise, you are in a tiny town with 2 quiet little streets, several shockingly lovely houses, vineyards everywhere, and the smell of wood buring in fireplaces wafting all around. Below: view of the Villa Louise garden and Corton vineyards from the backdoor of our room

BrooklynLady didn't even open her bags - the moment we we in our room she hit the bed to relax a bit. I was chomping at the bit though, and would have tasted through a vertical of Prestone antifreeze if that were all that was available. I made a beeline for the cave and tasted the wines. Veronique Perrin runs the Hotel Villa-Louise and she is the winemaker for the Louise Perrin portfolio. She is quite charming and clearly loves her work - she describes the wines with feeling. Her first year making the wines was 1986.
Aloxe-Corton is famous for the whie Grand Cru wines of Corton Charlemagne and the red Grand Crus of Corton. Parker says that Aloxe-Corton Premier Cru and Village wines usually offer good values because they are overlooked by consumers who clamor for the Grand Crus. The village sits in the hills just west off Route 74, the main road to use when driving around Burgundy. Pernand Vergelesses, Corey-Les-Beaunes, and Ladoix are right nearby, and many vignerons who make Aloxe-Corton wines also make wines from the nearby villages. Right: the narrow road leading through the houses of Aloxe-Corton.

I experienced the reds of Aloxe-Corton to be very powerful and structured wines, masculine in character, very tannic with lots of dark fruit. I read that with age, the better wines become silky and seductive. I tasted one 1991 Corton Grand Cru and it was all tobacco, still tannic, no finesse. Just not my style maybe.

Tasting notes follow (but are more brief than normal because I tasted through many wines somewhat quickly). Prices are conversions to dollars, but are clearly lower than if the wines were purchased outside of France.

Whites:

2004 Bourgogne, $9. Bright and pleasant flavors, well balanced. Good value.
2004 Pernand Vergelesses, $17. Richer, with a thicker mouthfeel. Smells of vanilla and maybe some banana.

Reds:
2005 Aloxe-Corton, $25. Green. Young and primary, but with nice smells of cherries. Palate isn't revealing much yet.
2004 Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru Les Vercots, $27. More complex and drinkable, but still reserved. Some earth on the palate.
2004 Corton Grand Cru Les Bressandes, $40. Opened for my tasting, and way too young to drink. Deep ruby colored, tightly wound smells and flavors, dark fruits, spicey and tannic. Some minerals on the finish. I couldn't really tell what was going on with this wine - too soon. Seems promising though.
1986 Cote de Beaune Village, $28. This wine was sitting on the counter already open, but I had to ask for a taste - I guess they figure people are not interested in wines of this "lower class," made from grapes from all over the place. Yet this wine was EXCELLENT. Rusty colored with smells of cooked fruit. Flavors of stewed cherries and caramel, with a light but mouth-filling texture. Veronique said this wine should not be held any longer, "it is your holiday wine," she said. She recommended pairing with strong cheeses.

This exerience hammered home the idea that wine can be beautiful if it is well made and aged properly, regardless of its classification. Sure, maybe that Grand Cru Les Bressandes, it aged properly for 20 years, would eclipse the 1986 cotes de Beaune Village, but for me the point was simply that for immediate drinking, the "lowest level" wine was by far the best. Right: view of Villa Louise and Chateau de Corton-Andre from the vineyards.

More to come...

4 comments:

Anna said...

If you're still in the area definitely eat a meal at Le Charlemagne in the village of Pernand Vergelesses. You'll LOVE it. Also amazing is the Auberge de la Charme in Prenois but it's a little further from where you are. Enjoy your trip!

Brooklynguy said...

Hi Anna,

Thanks for the tip - we are back in Brooklyn now, but we did eat at Charlemagne and we LOVED it - best meal we had in the area. I will include a post about our experience there soon. I assume that you live in the area, from poking around your blog at www.mustardzone.com. Thanks for stopping in.

Dan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
deetrane said...

LMFAO!!!!! "A vertical of Prestone antifreeze"...

That can be arranged, you know?