[Billet vins] Legends and reality in Burgundy

Does Burgundy fascinate you with its terroirs? You are not at the end of your discoveries! It does not escape the legends, but neither does it escape this contemporary intellectual perversion which wants that all falsity manages, by dint of being repeated, to rise to the level of truth.

An example ? This anecdote from theWorld history of wine, by Hugh Johnson, 1989 edition: “A professor of geology at the University of Dijon described the Cistercians as real geologists using their sense of smell and taste to determine the structure of the soils and subsoils of the region . As for a Burgundy winemaker I met, she sticks to the legend that they literally tasted the earth to find out the composition of the soils. »

Why bother sucking on pebbles and savoring sand when you can slip into a 2019 Corton Clos des Meix from Domaine Comte Senard — 2.5 hectares in monopoly since 1857 — to convince yourself of the beauty of this grand cru here revealed by Lorraine Senard? We can certainly grasp the metaphorical meaning of the process, but there are also limits to “being one” with the wine through a transubstantiation which would not have displeased Jesus himself, especially if he was wearing his famous “velvet panties” that day. And he wore them!

I tasted this cuvée (of course offering a glass to our director, Brian Myles, seated by chance at the next table) last week, during the visit of the winegrower to Quebec. “The 2019 does not have the richness of the 2020s, more ethereal in my opinion, already nuanced and detailed. A talkative vintage that does not lack elegance”, summarized the lady, who is working to manage her 10 hectares (completed with the purchase of grapes at a rate of nearly 17%) without herbicides or pesticides.

Moreover, she continues, this cru is nourished directly by the limestone vein of the Corton-Charlemagne, a little further to the northwest, with, let’s say, this Cartesian spirit of Perrières and the more princely one of Clos du Roy — two of the great crus that are complemented, in the Aloxe-Corton appellation, by the Bressandes (pure lace) and of course the Renardes (here in a more fierce and animal profile).

This Clos des Meix, for its part, evokes this famous iron fist in a velvet glove. By its depth, but also by this fine firmness which builds, rises and culminates slowly with panache in the middle of the mouth.

The 2019 does not have the richness of the 2020s, more airy in my opinion

The wines of the mountain of Corton have not always been presented from this angle, as mentioned by Dr Morelot in 1831, a time when the trade was organized to better identify the best terroirs in Côte-d’Or: “We judge them badly the first year, because they have something hard or bitter, which keeps away those who do not don’t know its qualities. But when the imperceptible fermentation has taken place, a particular spirit develops, a fine and pleasant bouquet and a perfect flavor; they are colourful, firm, frank, mellow, and moreover have the privilege of keeping well and sustaining long-distance journeys. »

Transposed on the ground of the horoscope, wines for Taurus and Leo, without forgetting that of Lorraine Senard, born under the sign of… Aries.

The “bail” obviously knows how to coax the beast on the mountain of Corton. Whether with his Aloxe-Corton 2020 ($77 — 13611679 – (5+) ★★★1/2), from 3 plots ideally exposed northeast whose quality tannins and superb chewiness gently flesh out a heart of generously fruity wine, or — in more detail, this time — this 1er Cru “Les Valozières” 2020 ($114.75 — 14885858 – (5+) ★★★★), very generous in this vintage (compared to 2021 with volumes reduced by 70% due to frost!) where a sap triumphs dense and glorious fruitiness of ripe cherry on fine and spicy notes of aging (19 months, 50% of which in new barrels).

I cannot ignore these “regional” cuvées that are, in white, the Burgundy “Ana” 2020 ($39.75 — 13831920 – (5) ★★★), from a plot located at the crossroads of the communes of ‘Aloxe-Corton, from Pernand-Vergelesses and Savigny-lès-Beaune, with great fruity clarity, and, in red, its 2020 “Auguste” cuvée ($36.25 — 13590601 – (5) ★★★) , also with a superb fruity precision coupled with a tension that lengthens its reach in the mouth.

Only downside, the majority of these wines will no longer be available when you read these lines. Another thorn in the Burgundian problem! Be aware, however, that if the trip takes you there, the house offers a table d’hôte that will take you on a wine tour of the owner. And not to eat dirt!

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