Got the winter blues again? Is your post-New Year’s Eve detox over yet? If not, here is some temptation — Burgundy.
Burgundy (for the sake of this article I’m talking about the red wines) is very food-friendly and can go with an array of dishes. It’s especially good during the wintertime when earthy root vegetables are in season, wild mushrooms abound and turkey and ham are aplenty. You might think pinot noir from anywhere would do the trick when it comes to food and wine pairing, but the earthy, mineral character that emanates from Burgundy’s terroir is hard to replicate. That is why pungent cheeses, like Epoisses, are a good match.
Given the situation with the economy, I have not been writing about this region as much as I did a few years ago. While there are reasonably priced and well-made wines in Burgundy, a lot — the really good stuff — are beyond most of our everyday budgets.
Luckily, I have another price category called “weekend wines,” meaning I’m willing to spend a little bit more because I’m more relaxed and will be able to enjoy what I drink more. It’s still a special occasion that calls for a grand cru, but on the premier cru or village level, there are many options. Here are but three:
Michel Gay et Fils Chorey-les-Beaunes, Vielles Vignes, 2006: Chorey-les-Beaunes is the third point on the triangle with Savigny-les-Beaunes. Unlike the former, it does not have any premier crus, let alone grand crus (that can be found in Beaune). Young Sebastien Gay makes wine from all three appellations but is at home in Chorey, the least prestigious of the three. A rising star, his wines are very impressive, and this old vine Chorey-les-Beaunes is not at all shabby. With cola, cherries, floral overtones and a hint of earthy funk, this wine has a lot of character. Suggested retail: $29.99
Bruno Clair Marsannay, Les Vaudenelles, 2006: Bruno Clair comes from a long line of winemakers but for reasons of inheritance, or lack thereof, he had to start from scratch. He planted a small vineyard in Marsannay in 1978 and over time added to his holdings. Light-bodied with bacon and wintergreen in the nose, watermelon, raspberry fruit on the palate and a delightful, fruity finish, pinot noir fans, Old and New World, will savor this wine. Suggested retail: $39.99
Domaine Jerome Chezeaux Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Rue de Chaux, 2007: Jerome Chezeaux inherited the family domaine when his father unexpectedly passed away in 1993. It did not take him long to create his own reputation. I remember praising his wines back in the late 1990s. Located in Nuits-St-Georges, on the southern end of the Côtes de Nuits, Chezeaux’s wines are minerally and earthy yet also have ample fruit. They are both sensual and intellectual, the latter being a term I reluctantly use to describe wine. Spicy, with cola, wild mushrooms and raspberry, strawberry fruit, this is a wine you want to sip over the course of an evening. Suggested retail: $59.99
Pamela S. Busch is the owner of Skrewcap.com, founder of CAV Wine Bar and a Bay Area wine consultant.