July 12, 2010

Grand Cru: Burgundy (Part Two)

Burgundy (Part Two)

The Appelations d'Origine Controlee (AOC) in Burgundy is one of the confounding things about Burgundian Pinot Noir that often turns people away. It may seem daunting at first, but once you learn the system it becomes easier to navigate. Here is a brief summary of the four main Pinot Noir appelations:

Bourgogne-Pinot Noir composed of a general blend of grapes from anywhere in the Burgundy region. These are the wines that read  Bourgogne and can usually be found for under $20.

Village-Pinot Noir made from a blend of vineyards in a specific village or commune (i.e. Chambolle Musigny). Village wines will feature the village of production on the label. Good bottles are $25-$50.

Premier Cru--Pinot Noir made from a specific vineyard in a specific commune (i.e. Chambolle Musigny 1er Les Fuees). Premier Crus will have the specific vineyard names on the label. Good bottles are $35-$100

Grand Cru--Pinot Noir made the very best vineyards in a specific commune, often from specific rows within a specific vineyard. Grand Crus account for a mere 2% of all wines from Burgundy. Grand Cru will usually only name the Grand Cru vineyard on the label (i.e. Musigny). Good bottles, from good producers are $75. Great bottles are now in the $250-$1,000 range.

A Grand Cru Pinot Noir from Burgundy can be very...well...Grand.

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to drink the 1999 Louis Jadot Musigny,  one of the two Grand Cru vineyards in the village of Chambolle Musigny. The wine is nothing short of mindblowing. And, it's still years from peaking...Features a brilliant nose. Bloody hell, I loved the nose. A powerful wine that is has so many delicious elements in place, but is still not ready for prime time. Deep and dark, spicy and brooding, but still so wrapped up. Genius in a bottle.

The tough part is, a bottle of this wine costs as much as some people's monthly car note. Is is worth that much money? There's no way I can answer that for you...but as Maison Louis Jadot winemaker, Jacques Ladiere says,"You drink wine not with your head, but with your heart."

Therein lies your answer...


  1. Damn you, Jacques Ladiere! That's how I get myself in trouble.

    I don't see a whole lot of Grand Cru in my future, but I did get to tuck into a bit last Monday. Looking forward to doing it again sometime!

  2. I could listen to Jacques talk all day. He's got the fire.
    Sadly, I don't see all that many Grand Cru in my future either.