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
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 :
last month's "Let's Talk Wine" article by Eric
Ventura Wine Bars
County Wine Trail
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