WTN /WineAdvisor: Bargain Burgundy (Moillard 04 PN "Tradition")

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WTN /WineAdvisor: Bargain Burgundy (Moillard 04 PN "Tradition")

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Aug 04, 2006 11:50 am

Bargain Burgundy

"<I>If I were a rich man,
Ya da yada whatever ...
All day long I'd ... </i>

... drink great Burgundy!

Never mind all that stuff that the character Tevye wanted in <I>Fiddler on the Roof</i>." If I ever hit the trifecta at Churchill Downs, one of the first places I'm headed is the wine shop.

Until that happy day, though, it's true that the average wine lover's reach exceeds his grasp when it comes to the current pricing of great wines like Burgundy. The conventional wisdom has it that if Burgundy is good, it isn't cheap, and that if it's cheap, it isn't good.

There's some economic rationale behind this: The great vineyards of Burgundy - those spread along the favored hillsides collectively labeled the <I>Côte d'Or</I> - are strictly limited by tradition and by law to the painfully few hectares declared <I>Première Cru</I> and <I>Grand Cru</I> based on their long track record of success.

With vineyard yields restrained by practice, by regulation, and often by weather, the world's supply of great Burgundy falls so far short of the demand that prices shoot up. And in contrast with the widget industry, wine makers can't simply start producing more (or at least they can't do so, thank Bacchus, in traditional, regulated wines like Burgundy's great <I>Crus</i>).

But tell us, Uncle Tevye, isn't there any way that a poor man - or at least a middle-class wine lover - can get a hint of what Burgundy is all about? Well, maybe. Wine snobs will look down their noses and tell us that if we're not drinking <I>Grands</i> or <i>Premières Crus</I>, preferably from favored producers, we had might as well not be drinking Burgundy at all. And there's no question that these top-tier wines, particularly from a good vintage and with a little age on them, can provide complexity and finesse that the low-end stuff can't match.

But I wouldn't go so far as to say that "lesser" Burgundy should be shunned. Plenty of "villages" wines - those designated not by the vineyard but the name of the nearby village (Volnay, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Morey-St.-Denis, <i>etc., ad inf</i>) - can offer considerable drinking pleasure for significantly less than the cost of the <I>Crus</i>.

And even the most modest generic Bourgogne Pinot Noir - like the wine featured in today's tasting - can offer fine value. It pays to compare notes with friends, online forums and publications you trust, or you may find yourself kissing a few frogs before you discover a princess. I've had very good luck with the Bourgogne Pinot Noir of Louis Jadot (whose Beaujolais-Villages was featured in Wednesday's <I>Wine Advisor</I>. Today's featured wine from <B>Moillard</B> of Nuits-Saint-Georges certainly passes my test as well. If you've been enjoying New World Pinot Noir in the same price range and would like to compare a taste of Old World character, this one would make a worthy introduction ... even if it's not a <I>Grand Cru</I>.

Finally, don't entirely rule out a <I>Cru Bourgogne</I> experience on the basis of price. To keep things in perspective, we're not talking Chateau Petrus or Screaming Beagle prices here. With the advice of savvy friends or a trustworthy wine merchant, you can easily enter <i>Première Cru</I> territory for $50 or so, a price that even a poor man might consider paying on a very special occasion.

<table border="0" align="right" width="170"><tr><td><img src="http://www.wineloverspage.com/graphics1/moil0803.jpg" border="1" align="right"></td></tr></table>Moillard 2004 Bourgogne Pinot Noir Tradition ($15)

This is a clear, ruby-color wine, on the light side as is typical of Bourgogne Pinot Noir. Fresh, bright and clean, aromas focus on ripe red cherries. Crisp and tart on the palate, juicy red fruit gains structure from snappy acidity and perceptible tannins. Simple but appealing, good basic Burgundy; rather sharp acidity goes well with food, though some will find it a bit tart for sipping alone. U.S. importer: USA Wine Imports Inc., NYC. (Aug. 3, 2006)

<B>FOOD MATCH:</b> This versatile food wine will go with a wide range of dishes from red meat or poultry to mushrooms and cheese dishes. I couldn't have asked for a better match with fresh wild Alaskan sockeye salmon grilled with onions.

<B>VALUE:</B> You're not going to find a drinkable Burgundy below the mid-teens, and not many good ones at that price.

<B>WHEN TO DRINK:</B> Generic Bourgogne isn't meant for long aging, but I wouldn't hesitate to cellar this one for several years just to see what time does with it.

<B>PRONUNCIATION:</B>
<b>Moillard</b> = "<i>M'wahl-yar</i>"
<b>Bourgogne</b> = "<i>Boor-gon-yuh</i>"

<B>WEB LINK:</B>
Moillard's simple, rather charming Website is online in French and basic English.

<B>FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:</B>
Find vendors and check prices for Moillard Bourgogne on Wine-Searcher.com.
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Robin Garr
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Bargain Burgundy (Moillard 04 PN "Tradition")

Postby Bob Henrick » Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:05 pm

Robin, I am not too much a fan of kissing frogs, therefore I drink little pinot. I sometimes can find a closeout from Oregon, like Ken Wright, or Cristom in a range I will pay, and they are nearly always worth the price. I do not remember seeing the subject wine in Lexington, so I am betting that it didn't come from the BAWS. Also, I am intrigued with the thought of the "fresh wild Alaskan sockeye salmon grilled with onions." Any chance you could give us a recipe or writeup of how you did it?
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Bargain Burgundy (Moillard 04 PN "Tradition")

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:50 pm

Bob Henrick wrote:I do not remember seeing the subject wine in Lexington, so I am betting that it didn't come from the BAWS.


The wine shop scene is changing more and more in Louisville, Bob, and Liquor Barn just isn't that dominant any more. I still get out there - went by today - but it's kind of sad to see how much of their stock is either old stuff that hasn't moved since Ken left, or really pricey newer selections. I got this wine at Gemelli.

Also, I am intrigued with the thought of the "fresh wild Alaskan sockeye salmon grilled with onions." Any chance you could give us a recipe or writeup of how you did it?


Very simple, Bob ... I got it off an Alaska fishery website and modified it somewhat: Get a big sheet of foil. Smear a little olive oil on it. Slice a good-size Vidalia onion thin and break the rings into slices. Spread about half of them in a fish-size layer on the middle of the foil. Put down a 1-pound salmon fillet. Dot it with some good butter, grind on pepper and sprinkle on sea salt. (And, if you want to follow the recipe, pat on some brown sugar.) Put on the rest of the onions. Seal up the foil tight. Slap in on direct heat over hot coals and bake for 10 minutes, turning once or twice.

Really, since it's sealed airtight in foil, I guess you'd get the same result in an oven - it's more steamed than grilled, really. But the recipe called for the primal fire, and I had some charcoal anyway ...
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