Posts tagged Burgundy

How to use Your Holiday Gift Card: Two Great Accessories for Wine Travel

If you’re taking a special bottle of wine to an event this year, you might want to invest in a VinniBag to carry it in your luggage. It’s inflatable and Made in USA!
With this accessory in my wheeled bag, I successfully toted wine on and off Amtrak and around New York City for the day, before arriving at my destination. (Yes, it’s a good idea NOT to juggle wine around very much, but in my case it wasn’t a priceless Bordeaux or Burgundy.)
COST: Around $25 each.
PRO: Cradled wine bottle well and did not leak; great for a really special bottle of wine
CON: Rather large thing to fit into a suitcase

Wineskin is a re-sealable bubble-pack made of durable plastic, and it comes in several colors too. If you’re traveling to a wine region where you just might bring back a bottle or two, tuck a couple Wineskins into your suitcase before you leave. It’s a safer alternative to wrapping a bottle in your dirty laundry on the way back. And it’s smaller and lighter – more of a “just in case” option.
COST: Around $10 for a 2-pack.
PRO: Thin enough to carry with you on just about any trip, and it’s recyclable
CON: Wish it was resealable – and not made in China

My new Champagne discovery – only 70 years old: J. Lassalle

20130423_124245I don’t know how boutique importer Kermit Lynch found them, because he’s known as a Burgundy specialist but Champagne isn’t too far away. Lynch is branching out, and I did sample some other very good wines he brings in, but at the end of the day this is what stood out freshly in my memory. The J. Lassalle Champagnes: medium-light in style and beautifully balanced.
NV Brut Reserve “Preference” has very good red fruit and good acidity: again, it’s all about balance.
2005 Blanc de Blancs features minerality and acidity.
NV Brut Reserve Rosé, a pale salmon color, has excellent acidity and freshness.
The 2007 Cuvee Angeline is an almost Chablis-style wine, with the appearance of being austere but luring in your tastebuds for a bit more and a bit more.
The 2004 Special Club takes all of the above and adds just a touch of toast and yeast – but does this wine really need it?

The Hospices de Beaune is coming up in a week or so, in Burgundy. But I was in Boston.

Hospices de Beaune at dusk

Venerable Hospices de Beaune is the oldest charitable auction in the world, founded in 1859 – though the hospital it benefits dates from 1443. The event is also important because the auction prices are said to set market levels for the new vintage of top-tier Burgundy wines, each year.

I do love the walled, old city of Beaune. It’s brisk and medieval-feeling in the early dusk of November day when the Great Auction has just finished. Market stalls are bustling, lively entertainers sing and dance, and the lanes are filled with European tourists snapping up local artisanal foods: rich parsleyed hams, ultra-fresh crunchy-crusted breads, spiced honey-cakes. Alas, not for me, this year.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I received an invitation to taste some of the Hospice de Beaune wines from earlier years, as Christie’s (which took over the auction a few years ago) toured several US cities this fall. In Boston, we tasted at the First Republic Bank, so you can imagine it was a pretty haute crowd. Maybe next year I’ll get back to Beaune…

There were about 20 wines, mainly from 2009 and 2005, but with a few intermediate vintages too. My favorite reds were two of the 2005s: the Beaune 1er Cru, Cuvée Nicolas Rolin, and the Pommard 1er Cru, Cuvée Dames de la Charité. The whites were wonderful, notably the easy-drinking (are you allowed to say that about Burgundy?) 2007 Pouilly-Fuissé, Cuvée Françoise Poisard, and the beautifully balanced 2009 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, Cuvée François de Salins.

2011 or 1811?

What’s going on in Burgundy right now? Here’s a photo Alex Gambal sent of the first day’s work in one of his newly-acquired vineyards – in the areas of Batard-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet.
He also bought a house “on the square in Santenay that will be turned into a guest and rental residence.” Hoping it’s ready next time I get to Burgundy…


Recently returned from tasting the recent vintages of all the wines of Burgundy — more later. I also have to say that the food creativity in the region is incredible: layered flavor nuances, varied presentations in various shaped vessels. But most of my time was tasting, tasting, tasting wines

Bottles ready for tasting during the Grands Jours de Bourgogne in March