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    Good Values from Burgundy – Really! Some Wines of Maison Albert Bichot.

    albert bichot pinot noirWhat comes to mind when you think of Burgundy?? History certainly, tradition definitely, quality assuredly, but value probably not.? Burgundy is home to the most expensive wines in the world.

    Yet these wines sell, and some are of cult status.? People around the world appreciate Burgundy, and many, many wine aficionados would list this region as the one that produces the finest wines in the world.? Just as many would list a red or white Burgundy as the wine that started them on their wine obsession.? My instructor earlier this year in my wine class listed just such a moment, an older red burgundy that was “liquid velvet” and changed the way he looked at wine forever.? We ourselves have had some pretty amazing burgundies.? Maybe someday we’ll get to try the legends, or at least one of them.? But what do you do now?

    Actually there are many wines of burgundy you can think about that won’t break the bank.? Premiers Crus wines are available at more reasonable levels and represent some great wines at sane prices (think more like $40-$50).? We’ve had great Premiers Crus from Cotes de Beaune and Mercurey.? There are some 2005 Premiers Crus in our cellar waiting for the moment in the near future when it is time to open them.? And there are many others,? village and regional wines, some of which are downright affordable and actually represent good values.? We’ll talk about some of those here, more specifically some offerings from Maison Albert Bichot.Albert Bichot Logo

    Remember, in Burgundy the vineyard land carries the designation.? Grand Cru from Romanee Conti comes from that vineyard.? Clos de Vougeot comes from those vineyards, and multiple producers may make a Grands Crus Clos de Vougeot in any given year.? The vineyards are owned by many, and the negociants buy other grapes and make wines.? Burgundy is a complex and somewhat confusing place.? Albert Bichot makes wines from all over Burgundy, including Grands Crus from the Cotes de Nuits, Cotes de Beaune as well as lower level wines from both and the Cote Chalonnaise.? Throw in Chablis as well.? What the heck, throw in the Maconnais too.? This is a large house with a staggering assortment of Burgundy.? The Bichot family has been in the wine business since 1831, and the sixth generation is now at the helm.

    Remember, white Burgundy is always Chardonnay, and red Burgundy is always Pinot Noir.? At least in that regard they make it easy.? In Chablis it’s just Chardonnay, period.? There are a few other things, such as rose, Cremant de Bourgogne (a traditional method sparkler) and wines made from the Aligote grape (which will carry the Bourgogne Aligote AOC designation), and some other varieties in the south part of the Maconnaise.? But generally we’re talking Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.? So here are the wines we tried.? Again these are all from Maison Albert Bichot.

    2012 Domaine Long-Depquit Chablis Villages – Chablis is actually as close to Champagne as it is to the rest of Burgundy.? The Chardonnay of Chablis is known for it’s flinty minerality.? Usually not oaked or lightly at most, the wines tend to be clean and crisp.? This one is both of those.? It has some bright fruit and a great level of acidity that keeps it lively.? The finish is incredibly long.? It will probably run you around $18, maybe a little less.? I really liked it.

    2012 Bourgogne Chardonnay Vielles Vignes?– this wine spent 9 months in large oak vats, not the smaller barriques, and as such the oak is more subtle and integrated.? This is an old world style, it will neither slap you in the face with tropical fruit nor throw layers of heavy, buttery oak over your tasted buds.? It is a nice balance, and comes across immediately as a quality wine.? You’ll probably find this in the $16 range.? Another winner here.

    2012 Bourgogne Pinot Noir Vielles Vignes?– again, this is an old world style Pinot Noir.? It is not as fruit forward as the North Coast California Pinots, nor does it have searing acidity.? It is again a wine in balance.? There is nice fruit and again excellent length.? These wines are very long across the board.? This is a nice drinking Pinot Noir and will also be in the $16 range.

    2009 Domaine du Pavillon Pommard Clos des Urselines – This is a step up from the previous three, sourced from the Pommard region in the heart of the Cotes de Beaune, this is from one of the house’s four Domaines.? Most of the Cotes de Beaune produces both red and white wine.? Pommard is basically red wine only.? This red brings cherries and earthiness to the party, exhibiting the classic French Terroir. ? It has nice consistency and beautifully balanced acid, finishing clean and long.? This is good stuff, more powerful and concentrated and clearly is going to get better as it is still young.? This is a bit more expensive, and likely retails at about $80.? Not something we’re going to drink on a regular basis, but it’s an excellent wine.

    So there are four Burgundies to consider.? Three are likely to be found under $20 and represent good value.? We’re going to add the Chablis to our value list, as it was probably my favorite for the money, but the Vielles Vignes Chardonnay and Vielles Vignes Pinot are good choices as well.? If you have the money by all means spring for the Pommard.? There’s been a big push to more New World wines and styles, but our cellar is still 70% old world, with the rest essentially California.? That’s still what we reach for when we think about a good wine and a good value.

    All of these wines are distributed by Horizon Beverage of Rhode Island, so you can get them at various locations in the Ocean State.

    A votre sante!


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