Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Fall: When Leaves And Wine Change Color

“The first duty of wine is to be red. The second is to be a Burgundy” wrote English author Alec Waugh in In Praise of Wine, in 1959. He must have been writing specifically about the wine of Autumn.
If it's a Burgundy, though, it might as well be a really good one, like any 2017 vintage from top producer Bouchard Pere et Fils. A wonderful, generous vintage that made everyone happy. Even grumpy old farmers, known for their "four kinds of weather" -- too hot, too cold, too wet or too dry!
One of the top tipples being offered here is the Grand Cru Le Corton, named for the most famous wine hill in the Golden Slope.  A mere $199 a bottle, from Woodman Wines and Spirits, who invited the elegant and knowledgeable Luc Bouchard to town to very modestly explain why he's so proud of this vintage.
It's a fact that average temperatures in Burgundy, like many wine regions, have been rising for centuries and he was asked how that might affect the delicate finesse of his wines. "We have ways of countering the hotter summers," he said. "We can harvest earlier, for example, and prune the vines differently for more shade. So, no need to worry about the traditional profile of present and future wines." That would be an ethereal, super food-friendly style with haunting notes of cassis, raspberries, strawberries, forest floor and violets. It's by far the best Pinot Noir wine in the world.
Closer to the realm of affordability, I really like the Beaune du Chateau, $66, a wine the firm has been offering since 1907, made from the grapes of 17 of the finest plots in Beaune. It's carefully barrel-aged in the ancient Chateau, a medieval fortress with cool stone walls so thick they contain an intimate salon where I had dinner in good company some years ago.
The legend about how it costs $250 to find a really great Burgundy is that you spend $50 each on the first four OK bottles of this hallowed Pinot Noir and the fifth one really blows your mind! The trick is always to follow a great and reliable name, like Bouchard.
Other affordable Premier Cru reds from Bouchard include Clos de la Mousse, Beaune Greves Vigne de l'Enfant Jesus, Pommard, Savigny-les-Beaune and Volnay Caillerets.
Last but not least, the village wines include Aloxe, Chambolle, Cote de Nuits, Monthelie, Santenay, and Vosne. For more info, call Jason Woodman at 416.767.5114.