My story of Burgandy: Savigny-Les-Beaune

Like every person, every wine has a story.  Some are great epics, others merely small vignettes, or even, dare I say, a blog, a mention, or a passing thought.   What is inherent at the heart of any good tale is the character of our hero and the reason for his/her/its existence.

These days I find myself more and more intrigued by the story told by a Pinot Noir, and as of late and more specifically, by a Burgandy.   Like an episode of “The Game of Thrones,” there is a turbulent story of power and intrigue behind the French region and the history of its wine.   What remains after years of seclusion and then slicing and dicing of vineyards, the exiling of other grapes by fierce rulers, and disease and blight is a wine that is nuanced, perhaps a bit temperamental, and one that exhibits a story many will pay big money for if told correctly.

In the Oxford Companion to Wine, Janis Robinson writes, “If Cabernet produces wines that appeal to the head, Pinot’s charms are decidedly more sensual and transparent.”

Enter, the winephoto-100 of the day: Bourchard Pere & Fils’ 2010 Premier Cru Savigny-Les-Beaune from Les Lavieres. That’s a mouthful even I don’t understand on the surface. (It being French and all).

Below the surface and the cork is also a wine of mystery, but one quick to unfold and very expressive.  At first pass (it was a long day—I skipped the nose and went for the throat), the wine exhibited notes of baked tart cherry (almost with a currant flavor behind it), oak and spice.  Diving in a little deeper and letting it open up, I also found flavors of raspberry, leather (a light leather coat that has seen some air, versus a heavy sofa kept inside), white pepper, and savory notes of smoked meat.  It had a beautiful, complex flavor, bright fruity notes, medium acid and a long, lovely finish.

This wine was, as Robinson points to, very sensual. To me, it would be a crushed red-velvet dress or smoking jacket one finds in a thrift store—a treasure that is comforting, extravagant but a bit dusty at the same time. You buy it because there will be a night perfect for it’s subtle drama.

I was sold. I bought a bottle.   And I probably will buy more, even if it’s to drink alone during a cold, stormy Minnesota winter’s night.  At $49.99 it is not a cheap wine to drink on a daily basis, but it will be a night worthy of whatever story you choose to tell, be it sonnet, saga or a little salacious narrative.  Sante!

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