TN: 2017 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Les Baronnes.

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Jim Stewart
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TN: 2017 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Les Baronnes.

#1 Post by Jim Stewart » March 31st, 2019, 4:23 pm

Long and boring, as Tom Hill would put it, but very accurate in this particular case.
I picked up a bottle of this Sancerre recently, based on some favorable comments I saw from Kirk Grant, but also off the memories of our visit to Henri Bourgeois about 10 years ago. The latter leads me to a long and boring rambling which I will put in italics to both reinforce the fuzzy nature of memories and also to make it easy for the disinterested to skip entirely. Even though this is headlined as a wine tasting note, I originally thought this post belonged in “The Asylum” for reasons that should be self-evident.
. . .

We were headed to South Africa for a vacation trip and had a very a long flight that we decided to break up with a few days near Paris. We stayed the first night with a woman who was a childhood friend of my wife and I planned a little reunion trip for the ladies. We invited her to join us for a couple of nights in Sancerre and some wine touring as our treat. I did the research as to where we would stay and try to visit, our “friend” did the driving. We picked up a map, and I volunteered to be the backseat navigator (these were still paper map days). I finished up my assigned duties as we neared Sancerre, folded the map and returned it to the front, when the first piece of shit hit the fan! “Are you stupid? Don’t you know how to fold a map. You have ruined the map by not folding it correctly”. “Sorry”, I said. “Yikes”, I thought. We reached our B&B type accommodation and we were shown to our rooms. A nice double for me and my wife and a slightly smaller single for our “friend”. I could tell by the look on her face that she was somewhat displeased. She peppered me through the rest of the afternoon with questions about how I had selected that particular hotel and how much the rooms cost. She calmed down briefly for us to have a nice dinner in Chavignol, but the next morning when she joined us at breakfast her greeting was “You could have picked somewhere to stay much better than this place”. OK. . . I swallowed my pride with a piece of croissant and washed it down with some café-au-lait.
I had pre-arranged a private tasting at Henri Bourgeois in Chavignol by email from the states and had received a favorable reply from a person surnamed Bourgeois. We were greeted by a pourer who seemed skeptical when I indicated we had a reservation and he told me they were pouring just four wines. When I insisted that we had an appointment for a more extensive tasting he went out back and soon Mr. Pierre Bourgeois came out to greet and welcome us. He asked which wines we were interested in tasting and I answered “Toute la gamme”. We then proceeded to taste almost every wine he had on hand. (I think we stopped counting around 20). Most impressive was the number of different Sancerre bottlings and the story behind each. The differences he emphasized were issues of soil type, orientation towards the sun, and slope steepness. Very interesting and very good wines. Almost a begrudging smile from our “friend”; she ordered a couple of cases of wine to bring back to her “cave” in the basement of her Paris apartment building. She was a bit of a wine snob, so I interpreted her purchase as an approval of my choice to taste the wines at Henri Bourgeois. I should rephrase that to say her snobbery and know-it-all attitude included a wide range of areas, among them wine. I will always have a fondness for Henri Bourgeois for that visit alone and for shutting her up. What a relief I felt!
Our other two tasting visits in Chavignol on that day were not reserved. At Gerard Boulay, we rang a buzzer at the shop that connected to his home up the hill and he came down to taste with us. The eyebrows of our “friend’ raised noticeably as we tasted the small range of four or five wines that he currently had on offer. All excellent, the next better than the one before. I believe she actually commented on how nice the wine was and she left with a couple of cases of Boulay as well. Finally, we walked down the end of the street to Thomas-Labaille, where we tasted a bottle or two after the winemaker put aside his tractor. Also delicious. Now, back to the TN

. . .

We opened this bottle last night to serve with our fish dinner (see “Florida fish of the week) and had a glass or two. Very enjoyable, crisp, citrusy, well balanced. Tonight, we finished it with our weekly cheese and baguette dinner. Same overall impression this evening. I described a recently tasted Fevre Domaine Chablis as a dancer, and Les Baronnes is too, but more of a ballroom dancer. Very refined, almost sophisticated, so well balanced. The timing of the taste sensations is a wonderful swirl around the dance floor . . . why yes, you may lead! A full fruit citrus opening statement, grapefruit and lime, which slowly and softly fades in mid-palate, to a pleasant but modest aftertaste. The citrus like acid sweeps from front of tongue to side of cheeks and back of throat. Really nice. "Do you like this wine?" I asked my wife: "YES!". "Should I get some more": "YES!". I carefully apportioned the last pour between our two glasses. Highly recommended.

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