Welcome to the next installment of the wine series! This time around we’re trying a Burgundy pinot noir. Why? Red Burgundy wine is made from 100% pinot noir and is generally considered some of the best wine in the world. Pinot noir is notoriously difficult to grow, so many examples really aren’t that great- they’re thin and don’t have much flavor. However, a good pinot noir is a dry wine with fruit forward flavors and earthy notes. The flavor should be complex and there should be a bit of tannin.
You may or may not have heard of terroir before- this is the environment where wine is grown. The thinking with terroir is that the climate affects the way wine tastes because the soil, water, and air all impact the grapes as they grow. While Burgundy is just a region in France, it has a very varied terrain, which means the soil can vary dramatically even within a vineyard. Weather in Burgundy is very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. Because the land was once part of a tropical sea, there is a lot of limestone in the soil. Because of these factors, each Burgundy wine is unique to the area in which it’s grown.
The wine we’re trying today is the 2015 Joseph Drouhin Cote de Beaune Villages. The recommended wine from the Food & Wine article was actually a different Burgundy, which I could not find to save my life, but this was listed as another great option for Burgundy. It’s not easy to find, so you may have to search a little bit or even order it online, like I had to do. Maison Joseph Drouhin has been in existence for over 100 years. They have a number of appellations (a legally protected geographical indication of where a wine is grown), which means their wines showcase many of the different terroirs characteristic of Burgundy. Cote de Beaune is an area of Burgundy, most well-known for its Chardonnay but with very good examples of pinot noir as well. Villages in the title is a classification of the wine and indicates it was grown near Beaune.
The wine was aged in French oak barrels for 12-15 months. Unlike some of the lesser quality pinot noirs, this one is a very dark red with complex dark fruit flavors. If this had been the first pinot noir I tried I would have a much more favorable impression of the grape. It has a bright red fruit aroma and flavor and a slightly tart finish. This is an easily drinkable wine, with or without food. It’s not a huge, robust wine, but has more subtle flavors that are very pleasing.
Try it with chocolate or strawberries; either would bring out some of the more subtle fruit notes for a very pleasant pairing.