Good affordable Burgundy. Oxymoron? Not.
A lot of wallet-conscious wine lovers have pretty much written off Burgundy in recent years. All but the most ardent Burg-heads fret about Burgundy's reputation as a wine region that's hard to get to know, broken into tiny parcels of wildly variable terroir and beset by troublesome vintages. And perhaps most important, Burgundy is seen as subject to wild and incomprehensible vintage variation.
Best to avoid? It almost sounds so. And yet, if you've ever had the pleasure of tasting a great mature Burgundy, you know you won't die happy until you've had another.
While you're waiting for that transcendent "bucket list" experience, let's face it: Even a Burgundy from the lower end of the budget line, chosen with some care, reflects back a bit of the brilliance of the world's best source for Pinot Noir.
Don't expect to hear choirs of angels sing, but surely you can summon a string quartet, or maybe even a cool jazz trio, with a generic Bourgogne Pinot Noir from a decent proprietor.
It was grown in the 2007 vintage, a rainy season that dried up just in time for harvest, resulting in variable results depending on how each grower dealt with the hand that nature dealt. In this niche, though, the Moillard proved fully competitive at a couple of bucks under $20. Full of subtle red-berry fruit, it showed mouth-watering acidity and soft tannins that set up your palate for whatever's on your plate.
It's subtle, not in-your-face, but there's plenty of flavor and Pinot texture here. Let's put it this way: If wine were art, this one would be a numbered print of a watercolor or pen-and-ink drawing. Not a budget-breaker, not a wall-size landscape in oils, but a very attractive work nonetheless, and a decent value that would look great in your dining room.
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Today's Tasting Report
Moillard 2007 Pinot Noir "Tradition" Bourgogne ($17.99)
Clear ruby shading to a transparent edge. Subtle but appetizing red-berry aromas, delicate strawberry and raspberry, lead into a mouth-wateringly tart flavor of wild strawberries, bone-dry with a soft tannic astringency in the finish. U.S. importer: USA Imports Inc., NYC. (Oct. 19, 2010)
FOOD MATCH: One of the many joys of Burgundy, even a modest generic Bourgogne, is that it goes well with a broad range of fare: Red meat of course, but also poultry or pork, mushrooms, cheeses, even vegetarian fare. It was fine with a meatless Southwest Asian eggplant dish, Imam Bayildi, made with lots of garlic and juicy late-season garden tomatoes.
VALUE: As noted above, Burgundy isn't cheap. A good Bourgogne Pinot Noir well under $20 is a strong contender in its price neighborhood, though, and both the Moillard and recent vintages of Louis Jadot comfortably make it under that line..
Moillard = "M'wahl-yar"
Bourgogne = "Boor-gon-yuh"
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Wine-Searcher.com comes up with relatively few sources for Moillard "Tradition." For another source, try this link to the same wine at K&L Wines in the San Francisco Bay area.
If you can't locate Moillard but still ache for a good, affordable Bourgogne, try this link for the always reliable Louis Jadot Bourgogne Pinot Noir.
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