knowing no boundaries

I have been in Burgundy now for about a week, and I am struck by expansiveness of this region.  If you had asked me where Burgundy starts and where it ends, I probably would have given you a general answer about Beaujolais and Chablis that would have included a slight tilt of my head, furrowing of my brow, and a long pause, after which I would have said, "that is a good question, actually."  Well, now that I have driven from the Northern Rhone thru Macon, Beaujolais, Fuisse, Beaune, Monthelie, Rully, Chitry, and into Chablis, I have a much better sense of how expansive this seemingly small region is, as well as how varied the experience of the wines can be (and I did not even get to the Cote de Nuits!).

I think these photos will give you a sense of what I am talking about.

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The vines in the Maconnais at Romauld Petit, Saint Verand.

Incredible Chardonnay vines at Le Chai Duchet, Fuisse.

Incredible Chardonnay vines at Le Chai Duchet, Fuisse.

Paul Garaudet at Monthelie talks about the challenges of organic farming, he practices lutte raissonneé and understands the importance of responsible wine making, but will argue the politics of it!  Like anything else there are always many different perspectives.

Paul Garaudet at Monthelie talks about the challenges of organic farming, he practices lutte raissonneé and understands the importance of responsible wine making, but will argue the politics of it!  Like anything else there are always many different perspectives.

Some older vines in Haute Cote de Beaune at Domaine Billard.  Notice how with each photo the soils are a little different, variations,  expositions, and soil compositions are what give each wine their distinctive character, as well as the subtle differences in winery, of course. Yes, clay and limestone, but how much and what kind of top soil mean different things for nutrition and water, etc.  I have only begun to understand all of this!

Some older vines in Haute Cote de Beaune at Domaine Billard.  Notice how with each photo the soils are a little different, variations,  expositions, and soil compositions are what give each wine their distinctive character, as well as the subtle differences in winery, of course. Yes, clay and limestone, but how much and what kind of top soil mean different things for nutrition and water, etc.  I have only begun to understand all of this!

In the Chalonnaise, you are still seeing the clay and limestone, but the composition is different, often producing somewhat richer style Chardonnay's with more body, though when done right, like at Le Trois Mages in Rully, the wines are fresh and dry, lighter in style than you expect, with more acidity and crisp minerality.  We all agreed that it would be divine with some fresh oysters in Newport!  When I asked the wine maker, Anne-Sophie, how she accomplishes that, she modestly shrugged and said it was just what happens for her.  I would argue it is in her choices of when to harvest and how she vinifies. Either way, we are all lucky to have her wines.

In the Chalonnaise, you are still seeing the clay and limestone, but the composition is different, often producing somewhat richer style Chardonnay's with more body, though when done right, like at Le Trois Mages in Rully, the wines are fresh and dry, lighter in style than you expect, with more acidity and crisp minerality.  We all agreed that it would be divine with some fresh oysters in Newport!  When I asked the wine maker, Anne-Sophie, how she accomplishes that, she modestly shrugged and said it was just what happens for her.  I would argue it is in her choices of when to harvest and how she vinifies. Either way, we are all lucky to have her wines.

The wines of Burgundy are famous for a reason, but the wineries that we have visited are truly remarkable.  Ed and Barbara have taken their time to build a portfolio of wines that are precise in their representation of the regional terroir and traditional vinification.  Their are variations of style, of course, but those variations are produced by nature rather than by intervention on the part of the wine maker.  To get a better sense of these differences, stop by the shop Saturday.  Babs will taste you on a few of the wineries that I am visiting this week.  If you love one, take a bottle to a friend and support these wine makers--they are working so hard and need our help & ours is the easiest job to do;)

Saturday's Tasting is 4-7pm at Newport Wine Cellar