FOOD AND DRINK
Bottle Shop: A Bundle of Bargain Burgundies
The French region of Burgundy is famous for its budget-busting wines, but there are affordable-yet-tasty examples
After a string of challenging vintages and no let up in demand, Burgundy is rapidly becoming a wine of the one percent. There are, however, a few relative bargains out there – big-value Burgs, if you will.
These three bottles offer a concise tour of the region and won’t max out your credit card. Snap them up, while you can. (Ontario prices and listing links are provided.)
André Goichot Givry Les Servoisines 1er Cru 2014
If you’re new to Burgundy: Welcome! Pinot Noir is the only grape used to make the reds of this region. Thin-skinned and tightly clustered, this heartbreak grape is like a difficult child, requiring patience, effort, and even a few prayers to yield good fruit, especially in Burgundy, which has taken a beating from Mother Nature this decade. When the stars align, it will produce wines that will make you gasp with pleasure. This bottle is a bit of an outlier: it’s $20 less than most premier crus and the tannins have softened enough that it’s ready to drink. Tonight. Expect aromas of cherries and flowers, concentrated fruit, and some earthy spice on the finish. Pour with wild salmon, a Sunday roast chicken, or squirrel a few bottles away for Thanksgiving dinner.
Louis Bouillot Perle d’Ivoire Brut Blanc de Blancs Crémant de Bourgogne
Crémant refers to a French sparkling wine made in same bottle-fermented method as champagne but outside the Champagne region. While it may not be as complex as France’s legendary bubbles from further north, it’s usually a third of the price. Bourgogne (which is just the French term for the region of Burgundy) is one of nine crémant appellations, and “blanc de blancs” means it was made exclusively with Chardonnay grapes, the workhorse white of Burgundy. It’s a clean, fresh, crisp sparkler with apple flavours, a creamy mousse, and impeccable balance. The fetching price tag means you don’t have to save this wine for any occasion more special than the end of a workday. Pair it with pan-fried trout, fettuccini alfredo, or take-out sushi.
Domaine Hamelin Beauroy Chablis 1er Cru 2014
Terroir is the set of tastes and flavours that are characteristic of the area in which a wine is produced, thanks to the influence of the environment – the soil, wind, climate and so on. If this sounds like oenological hogwash, then you need to pour yourself a glass of Chablis. The cool climate and chalky soils of Burgundy’s northernmost region combined with restrained winemaking produce the most distinctive Chardonnays on the planet. This premier cru bottle from Domaine Hamelin comes from 30-plus-year-old vines and was aged exclusively in stainless steel tanks, which preserves the freshness of the fruit. It’s textbook Chablis: crunchy green apple flavours, juicy acidity, and a gentle yogurt-like tang on the finish. Open with seared scallops, veal scaloppini, or fish and chips.