July 18, 2011

My Bourgogne is Better Than Your...

I've tried, in the past, to discuss here the intricacies of the French classification system (AOC) for classifying wine along a hierarchy of quality within the Burgundy wine-growing region. Within the AOC for Burgundian wine, regional Bourgogne is at the lowest level on the hierarchy. It is simply a wine made from grapes grown in the Burgundy region. No nod to specific village, commune, or vineyard designation here; it's just a wine made from grapes grown in Burgundy. To many folks, good Bourgogne is (or should be?) the heart of Burgundy. It is, after all, the wine of the people, with bottles that can be bought for under $30.

Recently, the trendsetting tastespotter whom I call friend, EatItAtlanta, shared a pretty terrific bottle of 'simple'  Bourgogne Blanc with me. Thing is, this Bourgogne Blanc (blanc in Burgundy = Chardonnay) was far from ordinary. See, this wine was produced by Masion Leroy, one the most legendary domaines in all of Burgundy, and a domain whose Grand Cru wines often fetch prices in excess of $1,000 per bottle. Rest easy, this wine did not cost that much.

This 1999 Maison Leroy Bourgoge Blanc has aged gracefully and offers an excellent drinking experience. Floral and crisp, with just the right amount of aged Chardonnay fruit flavors. It's a testament to what skilled winemakers can do at all levels of the AOC system. If more regional Bourgogne tasted like this, I'd have more money in the bank.  Recent vintages of this wine can be found here and here for around $25.

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