Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Burgundy - worth the price of admission?

Not Ron Burgundy of Anchorman fame (to which I would respond with a resounding 'yes') but Burgundy as in the famed Pinot Noir and Chardonnay based wines of France. I must admit, though I've been tasting more and more of these wines, most of them current or recent release, some of them older, I am consistently underwhelmed. Well, maybe 'underwhelmed' is a little harsh. What is on my mind when I taste Burgundy, though, is the following: Why have I had so few wines that I find to be truly interesting, that are distinctive and that I can easily remember how it tastes, its texture on the palate, what make it unique from other Burgundies, etc? OK, once again a stretch. I know Meursault when I taste it, I know Puligny Montrachet when I taste it. Gevrey Chambertin vs Chambolle-Musigny, or Volnay? No problem. I'm speaking about generic Bourgogne Rouge and Blanc, and a good many village wines as well. Maybe it's just that I don't appreciate these grape varietals. I can say with certainty that I don't much care for Chardonnay, unless it is from Chablis or Champagne.

Even wines I've tasted from the amazing '05 vintage, while they are very well-made, have often times struck me as being tasty, well-made, nice wines. Nothing more. Here is a list of wines I'd rather spend money on then 99% of Bourgogne Rouge or Blanc:


Good nebbiolo
Traditional Rioja (La Rioja Alta, LdH)
Cru Beaujolais
Loire Vally Cab Franc
Cerasuolo di Vittoria


German and Austrian Riesling
Gruner Veltliner

...and plenty others. Why have I yet to have a revelation, a Burgundy that makes me say "Yeah!!! That's what it's about it, now I get it." Maybe I need to have my palate checked, could it be fatally flawed? Perhaps I'm just a hater, a Francophile hater. Maybe I need to hang out with more wine geeks. Wine geeks with deeper cellars. Wine geeks with deeper pockets than me.

I can appreciate peoples obsession's with Burgundy, without a doubt. But I just don't find them to be particularly exciting wines, at least without spending a good chunk of change. And I'd rather have an excellent producer's benchmark wine from a less fashionable region than some mid-end village Burg at twice the price. That's just me. Now let the hate mail and nasty Burghead posts begin....

Next post, I'll review some red burgundies whose taste I actually remember and write up one near revelatory Burgundian Pinot Noir experience I had several months ago.