Burgundy typicity

(This topic was sparked by a question on CA Pinots which taste like Echezeaux.)

I have always had a cellar packed full of Bordeaux, but I’ve also been drinking more and more Burgundy lately. However it’s not a region I have a whole lot of familiarity with, and I struggle to understand the differences between some of the communes. I often read in tasting notes for both Burgundy that wines are like a Chambolle-Musigny or a Volnay, but given the relatively small amount of Burgundy I drink it’s very hard to ever understand what to expect in such wines, particularly when there’s such a variation in style among the producers (plus vintage variation as well).

So can you help with some recommendations of a wine or two (or a producer) that exemplifies a particular commune for you, preferably something available in the US for under $100 or so (although of course it could be much less)?

My taste buds will appreciate it, if not my wallet.

Try to find wines from Henri Jouan - very small producer so not easy to do. Then taste his Morey-St. Denis villages vine vs. his Gevrey Chambertin.

In general, I would do things this way, find producers that makes “transparent” wines. In a bigger winery, maybe Drouhin would work. Also, maybe Hudelot-Noellat or Fourrier. Try vintages like 2010 or 2014 that have good acidity - don’t want wines from years too ripe which can mask terroir at least when the wine is young. Try wines without much new oak - oak can mask terroir. Down south in Volnay and Pommard, maybe d’Angerville or Lafarge

START WITH VILLAGES LEVEL WINE. Should keep you in your price range and allow you to learn broader strokes.

Go to Burgundy. That’s the easiest answer I can give. Some places are better experienced in person to truly “get.” Burgundy is certainly one (and maybe the defining one, IMO.)

Jouan obtainable from weygandt. Second Howard’s recommendations. Would also contact Rob Panzer, who has a number of village wines from 2014 from several producers in his stable that could satisfy your curiosity in one fell swoop.

2013 Bertheau Chambolle Musigny is available for well under $100, drinks well now, and is a very solid example of this AOC. For Gevrey, Charlopin-Parizot makes some pretty typical examples for under $100/bottle. For Morey St. Denis, I’d suggest Dujac.

Vosne is a little more challenging, but I’d suggest Cathiard’s village wine. Hudelot-Noellat is more elegant, but I think Cathiard delivers a little more of the richness and spice that I associate with Vosne.

For Corton - you could do worse than Michel Juillot’s 2011 Corton Perrieres from Weygandt Wines for under $100.

For Beaune - Albert Morot’s Teurons is my go-to. Easy to find aged examples for well under $100.

I don’t drink much Volnay, but if I were looking for a very typical example, Comte Armande’s 2012 village wine would be at the top of my list.

No offense but I would try to get several wines from one producer if you want terroir to be more noticeable, rather than six wines from six producers, each with different styles and elevage tendencies. You also basically picked some of the most expensive village wines possible.

1 - I disagree. It’s a nice idea, but aside from maybe Dujac, I’m hard pressed to think of a producer who turns out wines from multiple villages that are equally good, and show typicity across the board. And even then, Dujac only covers Vosne, Chambolle, and Morey. Faiveley, Bouchard, and Jadot make some good wines, but don’t provide particularly good or transparent examples across all the villages. Unless Oliver is going to choose one of these last three and drink mediocre wines that aren’t all that transparent, he isn’t going to be able to follow your advice.

2 - My suggestions are far from the most expensive village wines produced. Bertheau CM village runs about $60. Roumier is $140 and up. Charlopin-Parizot Gevrey can be had for around $60. Morot Teurons is a premier cru that is typically $40-50 (even aged examples only come in at around $60-70). The Comte Armand village Volnay is around $80, but an excellent example. D’Angerville is around the same price. Lafarge is a little cheaper, but typically harder and a little rustic in its youth. Henri Boillot’s Volnay isn’t bad, and can be had around $50-60, so it would be a somewhat less good alternative. In other words, none of these are in the super-premium village category.

So that leaves the Dujac and the Cathiard. Hudelot-Noellat’s village Vosne runs about $60-$70 in a good vintage. I think it’s good but doesn’t deliver as much Vosne character in its youth as the Cathiard wine. With age, I suspect it would emerge, but the question wasn’t about laying down for future consumption. And once again, you are simply wrong about the Cathiard being the most expensive village Vosne out there. The best I’ve ever had was Liger-Belair’s VR La Columbiere. The 2007 was mind-bogglingly spectacular even in its youth - tons of Vosne spice, velvety texture, and great length. However, it now starts at $250 a bottle. And Leroy’s is $425.

So yeah, Cathiard’s wine isn’t the cheapest out there, but it is by no means at the top of the market. It does, however, deliver even in it’s youth. Unfortunately, Burgundy is just an inherently expensive addiction.

PS Missed the Morey. Yes, Jouan’s Moreys are very good, and comparable (if maybe a step behind) Dujac’s, IMO. However, if Oliver doesn’t live in DC, they are a lot harder to find, and shipping will bring them int Dujac price territory. For the same money, I’d rather have Dujac. That said, Jouan’s MSD premier crus are an excellent deal, and his Clos St. Denis is an absolute steal…but we’re talking village wines, so irrelevant.

On Corton - feel free to correct me and provide an alternative. I think the only other one that would come in under $100 would be Pousse d’Or, whose wines are not particularly transparent in their youth.

Where’s the Nuits love? I’d go for a village Chevillon. Oh, and Pavelot for Savigny.

I agree with the one producer theory. True, it might not provide the best examples, but it is certainly a decent starting point–Burg 101.
Jadot, Mongeard-Mugneret, Drouhin are possibilities to start.

I was thinking Drouhin.

Jouan is a cool idea as well.

There’s this myth of “transparency” that you are perpetuating here. If the vineyards and villages had so much individual character that would shine through despite major differences in basic winemaking technique and elevage, then why would anyone spend for Dujac or Roumier when they could get Faiveley or Jadot for a fraction of the cost?

It is quite simple: if you are designing a science experiment to tell the difference between flavor profiles of five villages, you want to eliminate as many confounding factors as possible. At the village level, you can do that by trying all the village level wines from one producer. While that assumes that a producer treats his village level wines similarly to one another, which is not a given, there are likely to be fewer differences in ripeness at harvest, stem/cluster inclusion, press/fermentation temp/maceration, and elevage than between different producers.

And I didn’t say you picked THE most expensive examples, but you picked expensive ones when there are a lot cheaper ones out there.

Mongeard-Mugneret is a great suggestion. I didn’t realize until I just checked how many different wines they produce.

I’ve done the “Burg 101” tasting for people several times and have used Drouhin and Mongeard (too much oak on the Chambolle for me though).

If you don’t believe the vineyards and villages have much individual character, then the entire premise of the experiment and rationale of the OP is misguided. And why are you wasting your time and money with Burgundy, where it is the pursuit of that character that drives prices? rolleyes

In any case, your experimental design ignores a number of confounding factors. The quality of village sites is enormously variable, and few domaines that produce a wide range of village wines own and/or manage all the plots from which they are produced, so the quality of the grapes is going to be variable from the start. And the idea that a winemaker would or should use the same winemaking techniques for all plots across different villages runs counter to both logic (they are after all, trying to make the best of whatever material they’re working with) and practice: Burgundian winemakers vary many of the factors you just mentioned by quite a bit between different vineyards and different vintages.

As for expense - I’m not sure why you’re insisting on this, since most of my suggestions are either on par with what you and others proposed (the $60-70 range of Jouan and d’Angerville village wines) or slightly above (Armande Volnay at $80, and Cathiard Vosne at $100).

Rather than trying to meet a scientific standard that is difficult if not impossible given all the variables, I tried to respond to the OP’s request for wines that I think exemplify a commune best…and that I think he’d enjoy. I personally don’t see the point in suffering through mediocre wine in the name of experimental design. You are welcome to disagree with my suggestions, but at least provide some alternatives: what would you suggest for Vosne or Volnay?

I agree

For the sake of avoiding an argument, I believe I can probably stretch to trying both methods- the one producer method, and the one of each method.

Thanks all for the suggestions so far- I have some shopping to do…

[rofl.gif] [pillow-fight.gif]

While I agree it would be ideal, if money and time were no issue…or could he borrow your private jet? [wow.gif]
(Just thought it was a funny answer)

I think Olivier’s solved the issues between 1 producer or 1 of each in the best way. Using a big producer like Drouhin or Jadot because they make good wines from a bunch of sites isn’t something I recommend to a student of Burgundy. Like it or not, harvest is a huge amount of work in a short period of time, the bigger the producer the more rough hewn the wines are. Feel free to debate this, but having been through 15 harvests, logistics do matter and if you are trying to control differences by going with one producer then there can’t be a committee of winemakers. Smaller, high quality producers have the chance to focus on details that big wineries don’t. IMO, one of the biggest places that difference shows up is in expressing typicity. Each site wants different work, and the bigger the production the harder that is.

Oliver, how did it go? I have tried some burgundy so far. I have a clear favorite - Cham. Clos de Beze; have tried Bruno Clair, Jadot and Faiveley - not cheap. What I still don’t know is how to tell the difference on 1er or villages in terms of acidity (more or less), minerality, etc. I guess drinking is the way to go.

The differences between Village, 1er and Grand Cru are not to be found in acidity, (rarely) minerality etc.
but in a less or more pronounced individual character, especially in the Grand crus.

While a good Village wine should reflect the main character of the Village, which is neither always the case nor really easily detectable,
a 1er Cru should show its personality (of the Village as well as of the specific site) stronger and (ideally) more intense,
and a Grand Cru should have a personality of its own (and of course should have a certain intensity and complexity superior to the lesser Crus).

A single example: a typical Chambolle-Musigny should have a certain “feminine” balanced red fruited character, balanced and elegant (at least with some age on it), more floral than spicy, although some wines from the north-western corner can be darker fruited and more minerally.
A 1er Cru like Les Charmes should be really “charming”, very elegant, often has raspberry fruit with hints of violets and with age some mushrooms and forest floor. Ideally there should be no hard edges, a balancing acidity and overall grace.
A fine Grand Cru Musigny should be (with age) all grace and elegance, should have intensity and length but without any dominant structure in the foreground, showing sweet red fruit with orange peels and blood oranges, a long but smooth silky finish.
The Grand Cru Bonnes Mares (on the other side of the Village) is actually more a Morey-St-Denis (than Chambolle) in character, much darker, much more structured, minerally, leathery and masculine … in need of a lot of bottle age to reveal everything …
Actually there is also a difference in Bonnes-Mares between “red soil” and “white soil” -

Actually also the signature of the producer comes into play - so it´s not that easy .