This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Friday, Aug. 3, 2007 and can be found at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20070803.php.
On its surface, this is just another tasting report on a bunch of wines united by a common theme: in this case, red Burgundies, many of them still too young for maximum enjoyment, from the impressive vintage of 2005.
The subtext, though, the organization of this tasting, offers a useful lesson for the serious wine taster: By assembling a panel of local sommeliers, chefs, a few dedicated "civilians" and your humble scribe and agreeing to share the cost of the wine equally among participants, our group of eight was able to sample a much broader selection of interesting wines than any of us would have been likely to afford on our own.
As a further lesson, don't believe everything you read about Burgundy prices: While the Burgundies tasted (and one California "ringer" thrown in to keep us honest) didn't include the most sought-after "cult" Burgs - no Romanée-Conti in this tasting - the range of retail prices fell into more affordable territory than some of the scare stories about 2005 being reserved for hedge-fund managers might suggest.
Quickly told, here's my report on the dozen Burgundies tasted and the "ringer." The tasting was "single blind," which in non-scientific tasting terminology means that participants were aware of the identities of all the wines, but were served in unmarked glasses so we wouldn't know which glass held which wine.
All wines were similar in their clear garnet color, so further visual descriptions are given only where they varied from the norm. Prices given are estimated retail, calculated from restaurant wine-list pricing.
Joseph Voillot 2005 Bourgogne Vieilles Vignes ($20)
Jean Luc Dubois 2005 Savigny-les-Beaune "Les Picotins" ($28)
Jean Garaudet 2005 Monthelie ($28)
Joseph Voillot 2005 Pommard Vieilles Vignes ($48)
Joseph Voillot 2005 Volnay Vieilles Vignes ($48)
Joseph Voillot 2005 Volnay Premier Cru "Les Champans" ($70)
Lucien Muzard et Fils 2005 Santenay "Champ Claude" Vieilles Vignes ($30)
Lucien Muzard et Fils 2005 Santenay Premier Cru "Maladière" ($36)
Lucien Muzard et Fils 2005 Santenay Premier Cru "Clos des Mouches" ($36)
Besson 2005 Beaune Premier Cru "Champs Pimont" ($35)
Jean Luc Dubois 2005 Premier Cru "Cent Vignes" ($35)
Gérard Raphet 2005 Chambolle-Musigny ($52)
Littorai 2005 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($45)
AFTERTHOUGHTS: As we expected, many of these wines, mostly the bigger, higher-end bottlngs, were immature, closed and monolithing and not showing particularly well at this point in their evolution. Give them time, if you own them, although they do tend to open up somewhat and would show better with appropriate food.
The California wine, although a respected label with a reputation for "Burgundian" style, popped right out at all the tasters: Its ripe, potent and comparatively one-dimensional "cherry cola" herbaceousness was substantially different from the consistently more subtle and elegant Burgundies, and in that context, less appealing.
FIND THESE WINES ONLINE:
Monterey County 15th Annual Winemakers' Celebration
The Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association, MCVGA, will be hosting the Central Coast's leading outdoor summer wine festival that exclusively features Monterey County wineries on Saturday, August 11, 2007 from 12—4 p.m., at the Historic Custom House Plaza in downtown Monterey. The festivities include over forty-five Monterey County wineries joining forces to showcase their world class wines.
The Eldredge & Rossi Band will entertain wine enthusiasts as they dance to upbeat tunes on the Monterey Bay. The silent auction, always an attraction at the event, will include mixed cases and library wines, spa getaways, and golf and hotel packages.
Headline seminars will include a Wine 101 workshop and a Pinot Noir tasting of the award winning Monterey County Pinots from the Santa Lucia Highlands.
Along with everyone's familiar and favorite Monterey County wineries, there are several new wineries that will be participating in the 2007 tasting. A sampling includes Belle Glos, Figge Cellars, Mer Soleil, Mission Trail, Ronan Cellars, and Szalay Winery.
Tickets are $35 per person in advance, or $40 per person at the event. Ticket price includes a Monterey Wine Country commemorative wineglass, tastings at the winery tables, participation at the seminars, and entertainment. Guests can upgrade to a 15th Annual Anniversary glass and enjoy the reserve sampling wines for $50 in advance or $55 at the door. Designated driver tickets are available for $15, and designated drivers will receive a souvenir glass and unlimited non-alcoholic drinks provided by Southern Wine & Spirits of California, Inc.
Call (831) 375-9400 for tickets and information, or visit online at http://www.montereywines.org
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