Let's Talk Wine with Eric Garnier
October 2012

a wonderful experience.

Last month, my wife and I vacationed on a barge through some of the canals in Burgundy. Burgundy is about two hours drive southeast of Paris by car and is a huge wine growing region that grows Chardonnay and Pinot Noir almost exclusively. French wines do not name the grape on their bottles like we do. They label their wines by the region or appellation as we call it.

 Simply stated, if you see a Chablis or red Burgundy, it's either made from Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. What gets tricky is that there are hundreds of sub-appellations. As with any other wine region in the world, some of the small villages or appellations are world famous and the prices go along with it. The acres planted in this area are nearly double in size to Napa Valley.

Our meals every day on the barge were always served with wines from this region, from different villages and different producers. Every day the wines got better and the food was always spectacular.

 The wines from Burgundy are very different from their California counterparts. The Chardonnays tend to be from areas heavy in limestone and rocks. This makes the roots starve and grow 10-20 feet down to try to get to the water table. This gives the Chardonnay minerality and acidity. These wines see little or no oak, which make the Chablis fresh and clean. These are wines that can age well and make great wines to drink with shellfish and other light foods.

The reds Burgundy wines, Pinot noir grapes, tend to grow from older vines than the California vines. Most of the California Pinots clones come from French rootstock. I find the Burgundian Pinots to be much more masculine in taste. They are very different than many of the California Pinots in that they do not have as many of the cherry notes. I found them to be very full flavored and big enough to handle any kind of meal or sauce.

So, next time you are shopping for a Chardonnay or a Pinot Noir, don't forget that you can buy a Chablis or a red Burgundy wine from France.


Questions or comments? Reach me at : Wineoeric@gmail.com

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