My TGV high speed train arrived in Dijon at noon. Peter and Tista picked me up at the station immediately after their visit to the Domaine de la Romanée Conti. I don't really know what else to say - I arrived too late for the DRC visit and there was no way to do anything about it. I've made it 37 years without tastsing the wines, I guess I can wait a few more.
We had a 3:00 PM appointment with Frédéric (people seem to call him Freddy, but I barely know the guy) Mugnier's, and a 5:00 PM with Christophe Roumier. I was operating on about 3 hours of airplane sleep and a magnum of 2008 Adrenalin by Brooklynguy. Lunch was definitely in order, and so we went to La Toute Petite Auberge in Vosne-Romanée where I ate a wonderful entrecôte of Charolais beef. I've had Charolais maybe four times now, only in Burgundy, and I love how deeply beefy it is without feeling heavy. Salt and pepper - that's really all it needs, and that's all it got at La Toute Petite Auberge. People - I hereby encourage you to order the Charolais beef, if you have the opportunity.
Peter graciously handed me the wine list and told me to select a bottle. Uh-uh, no way. I had just arrived, I was totally wired and wigged out, and even under normal circumstances it would be scary to select wine for lunch with him. I demurred, and he chose a bottle of 2004 Mugneret-Gibourg Vosne-Romanée.
Peter turned to me, swirling the wine in his glass, and said "Burgundy Dilettantes would turn their noses at this wine, but I think it's really good." And it was. It was sweet and earthy, elegant and delicious. "Not a great vintage and only a village-level wine," Peter continued, "but it's drinking really well right now."
This got me thinking. If money were no object, I would buy that 04 we had with out lunch for my own cellar. But I have to be selective about what I buy. If your Burgundy buying budget is moderate, as is mine, what's the best way to buy? Imagine, for example, that you have $400 to spend each year on Burgundy wine. Do you focus on quality, and buy only 3 or 4 bottles of things like Chandon de Briailles Corton Bressandes, Michel Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes, Hudelot-Noellat Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Malconsorts, and Domaine Dujac Morey St. Denis 1er Cru? Use up you whole wad every year on only a few bottles of phenomenal wine that will blow you and your guests away when you eventually drink them?
Or, do you buy at least twice as many wines, also of very high quality, but not at the same level? I'm talking about Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin, Chandon de Briailles Pernand Vergelesses 1er Cru Ile des Vergelesses, Simon Bize Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru Aux Fournaux, Lafarge Volnay Villages, things like that?
It would be extreme, but you could buy a bottle of Dujac Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Malconsorts and a bottle of Rousseau Charmes Chambertin and call it a year. I know, only two bottles. But imagine how good they'll be in 12 years.
I'm happy with the little Burgundy cellar I've amassed, but I'm way over-represented by $50 wines. This trip made me realize that I want to spend my Burgundy dollars next year, maybe the year after too, on fewer wines of higher caliber. Maybe I can say that only because I've already got some mid-level beauties to look forward to. In any case, I'm already imagining how much fun it will be in 25 years to open my 2006 Chandon de Briailles Grand Cru Corton Clos de Roi. And my 2006 Mugneret-Gibourg Nuits St Georges 1er Cru Les Chaignots. That's what I'm talking about.
Burgundy Dilittantes - nothing to snub your nose at over here. At least regarding my 2006's and next year my 2007's. If you feel the need to snub my 3 bottles of $28 2005 Lafouge Auxey-Duresses1er Cru La Chapelle, so be it.