Kelley Fox v. Grivot: 2012 edition

Inspired by recent threads by Mark G. requesting an Oregon pinot that tasted like a Burgundy and Michael Chang’s note on the 2018 Kelley Fox Mirabai, I decided to do my own small-scale comparison. I tried two 2012 wines: a village wine from Grivot and the least-expensive, multi-vineyard wine from Kelley Fox. Kelley Fox was mentioned several times in Mark’s thread and Grivot is a good, mainstream Burgundy producer, so it seemed to be a fair match, noting that the Grivot costs twice as much.

  • 2012 Domaine Jean Grivot Vosne-Romanée - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée (4/15/2020)
    Red currant and light strawberry, filling out with sous bois as it aired. Medium-bodied, yet sappy and fleshy, with good depth and weight; quite dry on the finish. Nice village wine, punching above its weight.
  • 2012 Kelley Fox Wines Pinot Noir Mirabai - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (3/27/2020)
    Pretty ruby red. Good flavor intensity, with black cherry, copious savory elements fronted by sous bois and a slight bitter edge at the end. Medium-bodied, with decent depth and zippy acidity. Nice pinot.

Posted from CellarTracker

Similar, yet different. Both had similar flavor profiles, with red fruit and sous bois. The Mirabai had more intense flavors: brighter, cleaner, sharper-edged. Even the forest floor seemed clean and vibrant. The Grivot was broader, fleshier. It felt like it had more material, more stuff. It certainly was more tannic. I liked both quite a bit, but I wouldn’t mistake one for the other. Which one I would pick for dinner would depend on my mood. It was an interesting comparison. I look forward to comparing a higher-end single vineyard Kelley Fox with a Grivot Clos Vougeot in about 10-15 years, when each has had time to mature.

I tend to find that U.S. pinots, even including Oregon pinots, almost always have more overt sweetness than Burgundy. I wonder if that was the case here.

How you feel about that depends on your taste. I often find that for the first glass or so I like the U.S. pinot just as much in the different style, but I “get tired” of the U.S. style faster than the more savory Burgundy style. Also find that Burgundy has a lot more variance in how much I like it, highs are higher lows are lower.

I actually found the KF to be more austere than the two recent burgs I drank (17 Lumpp and hn) and didn’t notice much sweetness.

Neither was sweet. As I noted, the Mirabai was savory with a slight bitter taste on the finish (although neither element precludes sweetness). I suppose the flavor intensity and brightness could be fatiguing. It wasn’t for me.

I’m a big fan of Kelley Fox wines and haven’t had any as old as 2012, but whenever I’ve opened one next to burgundy it clearly has a new world sweetness to the fruit that the burg doesn’t have. This isn’t a criticism. Her wines are pure, elegant, transparent, and clearly show terroir. But they aren’t Burgundy. They are Oregon.

Just to clarify, I only note the “sweetness” of the fruit in the KFox wines in comparison side by side to old world wines. It’s doesn’t seem apparent to me otherwise

If you’re looking to pair Kelley Fox with a “similar” red Burgundy, I’d suggest something like Guillemot or, at a higher price point, Bertheau. The Grivot wines generally strike me as rather dense. Not in a bad way, but also not in a manner similar to the Kelley Fox style.

I wasn’t necessarily trying to compare like with like, although I wanted to keep the general level of wine similar. I agree that the Grivot was dense, considerably denser than the Kelley Fox.

interesting wines to choose to compare. I don’t know if I would consider the Mirabai to be a village level or a Bourgogne? its half the price of the Grivot.

I wonder how it would compare to a Volnay. She did a long round of training there and I think it really influenced her winemaking style, but have never personally done the comparison.

IMO the burgundies suffer in this comparison because Kelley’s wines are so good and from a price standpoint I think they beat most Burgundies of a similar quality, even though they are definitely different.

I think a similar “level” of wine to Mirabai would be a Bourgogne or perhaps a village level wine from the Cote de Beaune like a Savigny, as opposed to a Vosne-Romanee.

I just posted a comparison to a 17 bourgogne of the 18 mirabai, and much preferred the bourgogne. Hudelot-Noellat Bourgogne is better than really anything else I can think of at the $29 price point so I’m not sure it’s the fairest comparison in the world, though.