Monday, November 15, 2010

Gevrey Chambertin Estournelles Saint Jacques 2006

Ah Burgundy, home to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, oh how you are loved... and misunderstood. Actually it's not our faults we don't understand you but it's your danged confusing classifications! So let's take a little jaunt into Burgundy wines before reviewing this lovely red.

Burgundy is located in the east-central area of France and is about one-quarter the size of Bordeaux. Part of the problem with the naming of Burgundy wines is that ownership of the vineyard lands is terribly splintered because of French inheritance laws. As a result you have a lot of land owners with small vineyards who have to sell grapes to negociants who will blend and sell the wine.

Within the area of Burgundy we find four distinct vineyard areas:

  • Chablis: Known for its minerally Chardonnay.
  • Cote d'Or: Broken down into two segments, Cote de Nuits (where the wine to be reviewed comes from) and Cote de Beaune where we find both whites (primarily Chardonnay) and reds (Pinot Noir) with Cote de Nuits known more for red while Cote de Beaune is better known for whites.
  • Cote Chalonnaise: Like Cote d'Or but generally lighter in style.
  • Maconnais: Known mainly for its Chardonnay.

    Some people include Beaujolais but we'll leave it out at this time.

    Burgundy has a rather interesting classification of vineyards where the highest ranking sites (called climats) are designated grand cru or "great growth". Each of the 33 grand crus are granted an AOC of their own named after the vineyard (examples being Chambertin, Clos de Tart, Richebourg, Romanee-Conti). The next level are called premiers cru which fall under the appellation of their commune. As you can tell from the bottle this wine is a premier cru. Don't worry if this sounds confusing, it gets even worse and confuses even the best of us from time-to-time. In fact the Burgundy region contains 100 appellations for quality wines and over 4000 domaines (wine growing estates) and you can make a career studying just this region. What you really need to focus on is that Burgundy red is Pinot Noir and Burgundy white is Chardonnay (in general).

    So what about this wine? As the label says this is a "Red Burgundy Wine" so we have a Pinot Noir. It's from the Gevrey-Chambertain area of the Cote de Nuits so it's one of the better known regions for Pinot Noir which gives us high hopes for this wine and let me say it doesn't disappoint. The color is a lovely bright ruby red, very clean and med/light intensity. The nose is classic Pinot Noir, all cherries and red berries with a hint of oaky vanilla and spice and a touch of lovely earthiness I oh so love in a Pinot Noir. On the tongue we have lovely bright acidity but not racy in any reason, nice delivery structure for the berry/cherry fruit and chewy but not overpowering tannins that create an almost tobacco experience. The wine all comes together to give a med/long mouthwatering slithly spicy finish. Very nice now this wine should be able to age and develop over the next five years.

    Number of wines reviewed in 2010: 124
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