Tag Archives: white Burgundy

Expensive wine 47: Etienne Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet 2006

23926During the publicity blitz for the Cheap Wine Book and the Kickstarter project (Q&A explaining how Kickstarter works; Kickstarter link; What the book is), I did a virtual talk show with a group in Napa Valley. One of the questions I got was why I drink only cheap wine; what did I have against expensive wine?

The Wine Cumurdgeon is so misunderstood.

I don't have anything against expensive wine. I even drink it myself when the occasion arises. My point is that we expect everyone to drink expensive wine, whether they want to or know anything about it instead of realizing the limitations involved. It's like learning to drive — you don't start with a Lamborghini, do you?

In fact, I told the people on the show, I look for the same thing in expensive wine that I look for in cheap wine — value. And the Sauzet ($50, purchased) delivers on this count over and over and over. It's chardonnay from the French region of Burgundy, and specficailly the area called Puligny-Montrachet. In this, the wines are elegant and always in such balance that it's almost impossible to believe.

Sauzet is just one of many excellent producers from the area. The 2006, which I've tasted three times, has changed — and for the better — each time. Always, it's a mix of green apple fruit, spiciness (cloves or white pepper?) oak nestled in the background, and the  minerality that defines this wine.

This would make a lovely gift for The Holiday That Must Not be Named, as well as for any dinner with someone you care about.


Two old-fashioned French wines for the holidays

In which the Wine Curmudgeon enjoyed two reasonably priced wines from Burgundy, a red and a white, that didn’t taste like they were made with the wrong grapes or came from California. In this case, old-fashioned does not mean outdated or not worth drinking. More, after the jump:

Expensive wine 41: Francois Raquillet Mercurey La Brigadiere 2005

Francois RaquilletThe Big Guy was on the phone. “I’ve got a wine you need to try.” Given The Big Guy’s fondness for white Burgundy, the Wine Curmudgeon’s guilty pleasure, who was I to argue with him?

Though, when he brought the bottle over,  it didn’t look promising, The wine was a closeout, stuffed on a back shelf in one of Dallas’ local chain stores which would soon go out of business. It looked like it had seen better days – worn label, lots of dust – but The Big Guy and I are nothing if not brave.

I broke out the glasses, and poured. We sipped. We sipped some more. And then, at more or less the same time, we smiled that goofy wine drinker’s smile that means we had found something very nice.

The wine was a François Raquillet Mercurey La Brigadière 2005 ($30, purchased – thanks, Big Guy) and don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it. Neither did the three wine people I asked – the woman who knows more about wine than anyone I know, the master sommelier, and the guy studying to be a master sommelier.

Which made the Raquillet that much more fun. It’s a white wine from Mercurey, a part of Burgundy better known for its reds, and how it ended up on a store shelf in Dallas is a mystery. Our best guess, as we drank the bottle, is that someone ordered a case and never picked it up, so the wine sat on the shelf for five years until The Big Guy came along.

The Raquillet had classy green apple fruit, as well as a spicy, white pepper sort of thing going on. It was a bit richer than I expected (probably from oak aging), and had a long, subtle finish with some limestone. It was more sophisticated than Chablis, which it sort of resembled. But it was unique and a wonderful wine.

And a wonderful value, assuming you can find it. I know you can’t in Dallas, because The Big Guy went back and bought the four or five bottles that were left. In this, I’m breaking one of the blog’s rules, which is not to review wines people can’t buy. But I’m doing it because the wine’s story is as good as the wine.

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