Sunday, December 10, 2006

Tasting at Domaine Paul Pernot

The Domaine Paul Pernot was the largest producer we visited, although Pernot is middle sized by Burgundy standards. I have been looking through pages of search results and I cannot find anything informative about this producer to share with you, so I will do the best I can on my own.

I first tasted a Pernot wine a little over a year ago and it was a 2003 Bourgogne red wine. I was not terribly impressed and I didn't seek more of the wines. Who knows...maybe I just needed more experience with Burgundy, or maybe 2003 Bourgogne is just not going to be that impressive in general. But I have a true appreciation for Pernot wines now.

First of all, the wines show real balance and purity. They are not blockbusters (I cannot talk about the two Grand Crus as I have never tasted them), but are somewhat austere and subtle. I found that the aromas in the young wines were quite reserved, but that might be because there is not as much new oak used in most cuvees as other producers use. The aromas of the grape take a little whie to reveal themselves. Secondly, this is a producer whose 1er Cru wines will not destroy your wallet. The 2005 Puligny-Montrachet1er Cru les Folatieres retails for about $40, and its really good!

It was raining quite hard when we arrived in the beautiful village of Puligny-Montrachet. We ran up to the cellar door and knocked, holding our coats over our heads. After a few moments the door opened and a small gray haired man welcomed us inside. Paul Pernot is a caricature of a winemaker. Small but quite stout, completely gray and into his 70s, he wore a pageboy cap, a rumpled apron over his canvas workpants and shirt, and an old blue cardigan sweater to protect against the cellar's chill. BrooklynLady is convinced that the Institute des Vignerons in Beaune issues this outfit to all winemakers when giving out licenses.

We went to a corner of the cellar used for tasting, a dimly lit area with a barrel for a table, several glasses and unlabeled wine bottles waiting to be opened. There were a few notable empty bottles on a shelf above the door: a 1945 Cos D'Estournel among them. As he began to uncork bottles, I noticed that his hands were huge and scratched up - he looked as if he had just finished throttling a horse.

He began a somewhat combative conversation with Jeanne Marie, asking her if she was discounting his wine, and she was promising that it was not her. Pernot sells wine to a few exporters, including Dressner and Jeanne Marie de Champs, and he was upset because he heard that someone was selling them too cheaply. This conversation persisted for the duration of our tasting so BrooklynLady and I contented ourselves with tasting on our own. Here are a few notes:


2005 Bourgogne. Straightforward and pleasing, some citrus smells. Nice medium bodied texture, hints of vanilla and stone fruits. More elegant than the other 2005 Bourgogne whites that I tasted.

2005 Puligny-Montrachet. Citrus and flowers on the nose, pretty tight in the mouth, but with some swishing about there are clean citrus and white fruit flavors, and a definite mineral sense too, like wet stones.

2005 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru les Folatieres. Smells were hard to make out, although the nose was very pretty. Just a bit jumbled. Some lemon balm, a touch of honey? Tightly coiled and pure flavors of cirtus and white flowers, a little toastiness to it, and a piercing finish, as if the flavors were ready to uncoil after spitting the wine (yes, we learned to spit in Burgundy). I think this wine is a great value, and if I can find it in NYC I will buy a few bottles for cellaring.


2005 Beaune Clos de dessus les Marconnets. Austere smells of raspberries and stems, still quite tannic, in the mouth too. Too early to tell what's going on with this wine, although it was light on its feet and pwerful too - seems to have potential.

2001 Beaune Clos de dessus les Marconnets. WOW! We both loved this wine. Drinking perfectly right now, lovely perfume of dark flowers, red fruits, and earth. Silky texture, all velvet in the mouth. Light feeling, but pure and piercing flavors of red and black cherries with a perfumey and earthy backbone. Just lovely - I would pour this for any Burgundy lover. And if I can find it I will grab a few bottles for drinking over the next few months.

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