Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Fantastic 2005 Bourgogne

2005 Burgundy is nuts. Prices for the top bottles are truly insane, and you're going to spend $50 just for village level wine from the Cote de Nuits. I've basically accepted the fact that the bulk of my 05 Burgundy will be from the Cote de Beaune. Even there, Volnay and Pommard from Voillot, Marechal, and others costs about $50. And that is not 1er Cru folks, we're talking about humble village wine.

I refuse to sit this out though, this 05 Burgundy craze. I will not go quietly into the night, as Bill Pullman said in the movie Independence Day. I want my share of "vintage of the century" wine, "the benchmark for a generation" wine. But I don't have 50 clams to spend on wine unless I already know I love it, and even then I don't really have the $. But I want to get a couple of good bottles. How to know which ones?

I'm going to read a load of tasting notes, sure, and have faith in a producer's reputation, but my main plan is to taste Bourgogne wines from producers I'm interested in. If I like them, maybe I'll spring for the more expensive stuff. Foolproof strategy? Nope. Liking a Bourgogne does not necessarily mean that you will like the same winemaker's Gevrey-Chambertin or the Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St Jacques. Different vinification and different grapes (although grapes used for Bourgogne can legally come from village or 1er Cru vineyards - discretion of the producer). Best strategy I've got though.

Following this plan, the other night I tasted an 05 Bourgogne by Domaine Lignier-Michelot, a producer based in Morey St Denis in the Cote de Nuits. It absolutely blew me away - I would happily buy a half case of this wine and drink it over the next two or three years. Made me quite curious about this producer's village and 1er Cru wines...but this wine stands on its own. Honestly, if you see this wine and you're interested in dipping a toe into the 05 Burgundy pool, you should just buy a few bottles.

Since there are several Ligniers out there making red wine in Burgundy, here is Lignier-Michelot's label, albeit from a different wine, but it's the same yellow label and red text that you're looking for.

2005 Domaine Lignier-Michelot Bourgogne, $24 (Chambers Street Wines). Beautiful blood red color. Hit full stride after 30 minutes in the glass, with aromas of fresh red cherries and baking spices. Lush and full on the palate with juicy deep red and black fruit and nice acidity, all wrapped around an earthy mineral core. This is indulgent wine, pure pleasure, and an entirely different style from the leaner and more underbrushy (is that a word?) Pernot and Lafouge wines I have been drinking lately. More dense and fruit driven, but still complex and spicy. A great value at under $25.
Now, should I buy their Morey St Denis Vieille Vignes for about $50, and tuck it away for a few years until some special meal warrants it? Tough call. One thing I am certain of: I will, sadly, not be able to spring for a bottle of Lignier-Michelot's top wine, the Grand Cru Clos de la Roche, at about $175. Maybe another taste of the Bourgogne is in order.

11 comments:

Jill said...

as a professional wine buyer, it's incredibly frustrating to have to buy anything without tasting first...something consumers have to do all the time. We had to do this to an extent this year, though we were also fortunate enough to be in Burgundy this May and do some barrel tastings (and bottle tastings) with various producers.

So your strategies all sound good. Burghound is incredibly helpful and fairly complete review-wise. We will end up posting the Burghound reviews for the wines we weren't able to taste before buying...

Anyhow, some of our '05s will be going up on our site soon, but they're just starting to trickle in (homeland security apparently got a hold of the Bouchard Pere et Fils container and only released it recently. Hopefully they didn't know enough to skim a few cases for themselves).

Unrelated...Brooklyn Guy, congrats on the Wine & Spirits nod!

Brooklynguy said...

Hi Jill - Thanks so much for your comments. I agree that it can be frustrating. This is why I have more wine by fewer producers in my cellar than would be expected. I stick with what I know is good when thinking about putting wine down. I do like Burghound, yes. Why not post Burghound reviews for everything, in addition to your own review? Lucky you in Burgundy...appreciate the congrats, thanks. I'm gonna take a look at your site for the 05 Burgs...

Jill said...

brooklynguy -- some of the wines are so highly allocated that we were only able to get a few bottles. hence, we will never get to try them (unless nobody buys them. that's one advantage of poor sales!). otherwise, we'll be sure to post our own notes! lord knows, we ALWAYS have an opinion.

Brooklynguy said...

I heard about that. In some cases, you can't get any bottles at all, right? What are some of the tougher ones to get, in your experience?

Jill said...

there is NO way to get DRC. Leflaive was all pre-sold but I'm told some people haven't taken delivery of their pre-orders, leaving a bunch up for grabs. Some of the Bouchard is still available but most of the Grand Crus were pre-bought.

Generally the larger importers/distributors tried to pre-sell everything and the smaller ones (and smaller estates) still have availability.

There will be no shortage of good wine for consumers, which is the upside of all this (though I can't account for prices, which may be a bit steep -- a good village cru could run in the $40s, and Bourgogne in the mid $20s).

Brooklynguy said...

Hey Jill - you know, as a consumer I'm fine with that. I like the smaller estate wines, and $40 for an excellent ageworthy wine is okay in my book, every here and there.

sue.boxell said...

Isn't it great that you can still find great wine at a reasonable cost in Burgundy at such places as Jean and Gilles Lafouge. I take my customers to many different vineyards in Burgundy but Messieurs Lafouge is one of the favourites. I'm glad to see that you have featured them on your wine blog.

Sue Boxell
Burgundy on a Plate

Brooklynguy said...

Hi Sue - I completely agree. Les Lafouges sont my heroes, basically. Sounds like you live in Burgundy. What is your business - food and wine touring? I envy you if so. Thanks for stopping by, and for your comments. And if you have any other Burg suggestions, something similar to Lafouge, I would love to hear about it. See you around-

sue.boxell said...

Hello again Brooklynguy
Yes, i live in Burgundy and have a wine and gastronomy private tour company called Burgundy on a Plate.
I love to help people discover and learn about wine and also Burgundy's many and varied regional specialities.
Apart from Jean and Gilles Lafouge, another great favourite with me is Domaine Pierre Naigeon in Gevrey Chambertin. He is a very charismatic 21st century winemaker whose wine style is making wine which you can drink now or equally keep for a few more years. He spends 6 months in Burgundy and 6 months in Australia making wine there too. My clients love to go there. a bientot!

Brooklynguy said...

hi Sue - I will look for Pierre Naigeon wines, thanks for the tip. And next time i go to BUrgundy i hope you can suggest a few places to eat! If you ever have the chance, take a look at my Burgundy trip 06 link and you'll see where we ate last time. We clearly could use some advice...

sue.boxell said...

It's true that the insiders' view of where to eat well in Burgundy is somewhat different from comments on sites like Trip Advisor. There are some underrated chefs but contact me before the next trip and I will give you an up to date hit list!