Setting Up a Tasting - Burgundy Terroir


I would love to hear your thoughts.

I am helping to set up a tasting.

4 groups of 3 wines.

Within each group you will have three different terroirs.

Same vintage.

An example…

1995 Corton Charlemagne/Meursault Genevrieres/Puligny Perrieres

The speaker will talk about the differences in terroir.


  1. What kind of producer constraints do you need here? Single producer? Like minded producers?

  2. Is the year important in showing terroir? Do you need wines older than 15 years? 20 years? Ok to use 10 year old wine?

  3. Give an example of a single good pairing here if you would.

    I appreciate all input here. This is not as easy as it sounds.
    Not trying to start a thread on the definition of terroir itself .

Thanks and cheers.

PS. Clive Coates is doing the moderation of this tasting.

Hello Don,
for starters, if young wines are entered, vintages such as 2001,2006 would be favorable compared to 2005, 2007, or 2008. It occurs to me that some vintages show much more terroir definition when young. 2008 is one of these years, but 2006 and 2001 have exceeded 2008 in this respect of perceived early terroir clarity in my experience.

Also, at over 20 years, more wines tend to converge into the middle, rather than further define themselves. Of course, the fine bottles do just this. However, there are too many variables at play,( least of which is bottle variation, vintage, class, vinification methods, etc ) to come away with a strong formula on when terroir expression is thought to be at it’s hypothetical peak.

Also, I think it is tough to find ‘like minded producers’ as no one really knows to what extent the actual differences in their activities may have a final say in the expression of the wines. I’d say that even among one producer, there are often changes that they have between appellations. This may add to the distortion of terroir expressions. Ideally, you would use a producer’s lineup where the processes are similar to minimize variables. For example, Rousseau’s lower percentage of oak appellations.

Another approach could be to find what is thought to be quintessential representatives of each of those appellations. The issue here is that with this exercise you are prone to focus on what is preconceived to be terroir expression rather than exploring common denominators amongst a wide set of producers.

Either way, sounds fun!

I like the concept. I agree with Ray that wines that are very old will tend toward homogeneous “old wine” -but- I will say that different crus have different points in time at which that happens. So, a tasting of Grands Crus might be appropriately scoped at 20+ year old bottles, but a tasting of village lieux dits would be better done with examples in a younger age bracket.

For me, same producer would be a must to eliminate a variable for the same reason you are using the same vintage.

At maturity, I would think that vintage is not crucial, but vintage will be a factor into whether or not a given set of wines is mature. Your moderator could talk to vintage influence as part of the mix in the terroir discussion if you have a vintage with a strong signature. That would be an interesting aspect for me. With premox issues, you’ll be challenged to find the magic here for whites. I would be looking to premier and grand cru wines from 12-20 years of age.

An example set would be Leflaive Chevalier, Batard, and Pucelles. You could go for a lesser set of crus from Leflaive and still have an exciting and stimulating tasting.

For reds, how about Dujac Charmes-Chambertin, Echezeaux, and Clos St. Denis (or Clos de la Roche). The Echezeaux is hard to find, of course, but I really like it.

Happy planning,

Thanks guys.

With the following options for flights (choose 4) you would normalize out producer, vintage and storage, show terroir variations within a village, show differences between villages and have a vintage that is very transparent. Also, Jadot wines are cheap and readily available. Just give them lots of slow ox! (You could do the same wines from other transparent vintages if they can be sourced but I think 2008 is a good one).

Pommard 1er Terroirs

  • 2008 Louis Jadot Pommard 1er Cru Les Épenots
  • 2008 Louis Jadot Pommard 1er Cru Les Grands Épenots
  • 2008 Louis Jadot Pommard 1er Cru Les Rugiens

Beaune 1er Terroirs

  • 2008 Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Ursules
  • 2008 Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru Grèves
  • 2008 Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru Theurons

Corton Grand Cru Terroirs

  • 2008 Louis Jadot Corton-Clos du Roi
  • 2008 Louis Jadot Corton-Grèves
  • 2008 Louis Jadot Corton-Pougets

Chambolle 1er Terroirs

  • 2008 Louis Jadot Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses
  • 2008 Louis Jadot Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Baudes
  • 2008 Louis Jadot Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Fuées

Gevery Chambertin 1er Terroirs

  • 2008 Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques
  • 2008 Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Estournelles-St.-Jacques
  • 2008 Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St. Jacques

Vosne Romanee 1er Terroirs

  • 2008 Louis Jadot Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts
  • 2008 Louis Jadot Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Petits Monts
  • 2008 Louis Jadot Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots

Gervery Chambertin Grand Cru Terroirs

  • 2008 Louis Jadot Griottes-Chambertin
  • 2008 Louis Jadot Chapelle-Chambertin
  • 2008 Louis Jadot Charmes-Chambertin

This is like Michael Jordan asking for tips on his free throws.

I would concur that “old” burgundy does tend to converge in flavors. The question is what’s old ? For me young Burgundy tends to be to primary. I believe you would get best results using wine from 1988 to 2000. At this point the terroir shines through best IMHO. Second, if the point of the seminar is focused on Terroir then using the same producer and vintage for a village is crucial. Although you could very as you switch appellations.

I would agree that I don’t think you really need any advice from us! But here it is anyway.

I would definitely try to stay within the same producer for your flights. Depending upon the wines, I think you can go out to 15 years or more of age for reds, and white if you can do pre 95 you will have better luck. (coals to Newcastle).

We just did 9 different producers of 1993 NSG Boudots, sort of the inverse of what you are doing, and none of the wines had reached that “old red wine” commonality. The range of producer styles was quite wide and would probably confound any terroir assessment too much in my mind.

This is an interesting exercise.
I think using the same producer for a particular trio is important if the wines are young but not so important as they reach maturity, when you would expect the producer’s signature to fade into the background.
Is your preference to compare three terroirs from anywhere (as in your example) or trios within a particular village (as in Berry’s?)

In the latter case, here is a combo I think it would be great to do:
Angerville Clos des Ducs + Lafarge Clos des Chenes + Pousse d’Or Clos des 60 Ouvrees
These are the pinnacle of Volnay for me but very different wines, so a great side-by-side comparison. Montille Taillepieds could be thrown into the mix too.

Other combos within the same village:
Fuees or Baudes + Charmes + Amoureuses - 1er crus from each end of Chambolle, and the middle.
Clos St. Jacques + Combottes + Corbeaux? - similar idea in Gevrey.
Jadot Chapelle + Roty Charmes TVV + Bachelet Charmes - a trio of Gevrey GC’s from some of the oldest vines in Burgundy.

If you’ve got a big budget:
Montille Malconsorts + Malconsorts “Christiane” + La Tache

If we’re going across villages, here are some combos that have a logic to them:
Vosne Malconsorts + Nuits Boudots + Nuits Vaucrains - see the segue from Nuits->Vosne characteristics.
Clos St. Denis + Clos de la Roche + Clos de Beze - similar concept, Morey->Gevrey.
Puligny Caillerets + Meursault Perrieres + one or another GC - see if these commonly named 1er contenders for GC status measure up.

Keith–I’m not so much of a believer in producers’ styles fading into the background. Certainly in our recent 1993 exercise, this was not the case. I’d stick with single producers for a terroir exercise, at least with reds.

I rarely drink burgs older than 20 years old and within the time frame I would agree.

Thanks so much guys.

Like defining terroir, trying to pick wines that show it in all its glory is not easy.

The exercise is basically to show the differences in terroir between wines of the same color. We are looking for large variations so we will be skipping across communes instead of staying in one.

Some fabulous feedback here and much appreciated.

Will you update the thread when you finalize a methodology? I’d like to hear how you guys decide to do it.

In my humble experience, it is hard to pick out terroir.

Get two producers, say among Jadot, Drouhin, Bouchard, Faiveley - guys with broad holdings.

Two flights: same wines - say a Vosne Romanee, a Chambolle Musigny and a Volnay. Different producers.

Thanks Berry.
I will do it.


You have a lot of humble experience with Burgundy. If it is hard for you, think about some of my buddies in the Tastevin who haven’t really given this much thought.

I suggested initially this exact approach but was outvoted. I thought by focusing the tasting to only 5 or 6 communes you would keep from getting overwhelmed and would be able to compare across vintages.

We are definitely going to have 12 different AOCs presented. 6 in white and 6 in red.
Groups of 3. That much is set. Originally the thought of tasting 15 AOCs was suggested. That to me is overload.


You know what would be really cool, go right up the Montrachet hill. So, to stick with the Jadot example, you’d pick a vintage and do a Batard (low), Montrachet (middle), and Chevalier (top). You eliminate house style variances by picking a single producer and vintage and focus on the distinction between three famed places on a single hill. With Jadot, you can have the added pleasure of Chevy les Demoiselles, which I think used to be Le Montachet but is made from what is now the first rows in Chevy…above Montrachet.

Thinking about which other prodcuers make all three: Bouchard, Ramonet, Sauzet, Leflaive…


01 grivot boudots, beaumonts, and clos vougeot

01 jadot csj or esj, and two of following - corton pougets, clos st denis, ursules, dominode (or just cdb wines)

01 drouhin bm or amoureuses, petit monts, and griotte

01 - three different barthod chambolles or chevillon nsg

will give clive additional info for his upcoming ten years on tasting, he really likes all of these producers, and you probably own all of the wines!

Thanks again for all the help.

For whites, this is how I would go also…

Chablis could also be interesting…Clos, Valmur Blanchot Raveneau’s from a good year would be fun…


A few years ago my Burgundy tasting group (which includes some pretty experienced tasters) tasted blind some Pommards and some Chambolle. One would think it would be easy to tell them apart. It was not. We probably did better than Monkees, but not by as much as one would think. The easiest thing for me to pick out blind (by far) was the Truchot CM Sentiers. As usual, the nose just exploded from the glass. If it is hard to pick out Pommard from CM blind, what hope is there picking out three Gevrey premier crus.

Honestly, and I know I am very prejudiced on this one, but the best way to pick out distinct terroir is to taste Truchot.

Another interesting idea is to taste one producer, two vineyards, over a series of vintages. Verticals seem to accentuate the common core characteristics of a site, whether it is Truchot Clos de la Roche or Leoville las Cases.

Or group has tried to do this terroir thing several times, never very successfully. The problem is that it takes several bottles over several vintages to really get a feel, and overcome bottle variation, and negate vintage characteristics clouding terroir. I think Howard’s last suggestion is the best way to do it.