Friday, 25 November 2011

Burgundy Visit, 2011 - Day Two (part two)

(Part one here)

The third chapter of our trip to Burgundy took us about an hour and a half south on the A6, to the southern part of the Côte-d'Or: the Côte de Beaune.

Land here is knee-tremblingly expensive. I'm told that 1/24th of a hectare (about 400 square metres, or 20mx20m) recently exchanged hands for 900,000 Euros. It seemed almost blasphemous to walk on it.

What makes the land here so special, is that it changes so much in such a small space. Within Beaune there are around 50 different soil types, each bringing different qualities to the wines they ultimately produce. In the picture below you can see two sides of a single-width track: to the left there is chalk, to the right, clay.

Different soil types in the Côte de Beaune

If you need the effects of the terroir on the wine explaining to you, you could do an awful lot worse than spending the afternoon with Sebastian Roux, who walked us through the vineyards, bringing the wines to life as he did so.
Back in the tasting room, we were guided through some twenty-something wines: having moved further south from Chablis, there was now Pinot Noir to get to grips with as well. The tasting room was well stocked, and we worked our way through an astonishingly wide variety of wines. If you, or anyone you know, has ever uttered the words "I don't like Chardonnay", then I would argue you (or they) simply haven't found the one you like yet. Never have I seen such an array of texture, acidity, fruit and flavour as I did in that one tasting session, all from just one grape variety (well, two including the Pinot Noir, but you see my point...).

Tasting room at Domaine Roux Pere et Fils
The Pinot Noirs also showed remarkable diversity, with supple, soft tannins and ripe red fruit. Autumn was the perfect time for tasting these gems of the Côte de Beaune, but that certainly shouldn't stop you visiting Sebastian when he comes to London for the Bibendum Annual Tasting in January.

The third and final day is ready to read here.

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