The Very Soul of Burgundy
Bauhaus's resident wine-expert Alan Koller is back, this time diving into the dirt of Burgundy.
My last post explored the German obsession with sugar content. Today, we’re going to explore an obsession with dirt, but perhaps I should use the proper term for it – terroir. Now, terroir is one of the key components to creating a great wine. On a regional scale, there is the limestone of the Loire, the gravel and clay of the Pomerol, the steep terraces of slate in the Rhine, etc. Now, terroir can change from vineyard to vineyard. A great example is that of Diamond Creek’s lineup of Cabernets. They have Volcanic Hills, Red Rock Terrace, and Gravelly Meadow, each of which are the names of the vineyards that produce Diamond Creek Cabs. For Diamond Creek, it is clearly all in the names, as each name describes the terroir. However, there exists a deeper level, and it is only found in Burgundy.
What is it about Burgundy and terroir that sets it apart from the rest of the world? Perhaps it has to do with the vineyards being very particular about sorting grapes according to terroir.
Imagine this: you are in France, walking down a sun-baked dirt road that is no wider than ten feet. There are vines along the road to your left, and vines to your right. What if I told you that the wine made from one side of the road tastes different from that of the other side? You might say that’s ridiculous. Now, what if I told you that the road was purposely put where it is BECAUSE the grapes taste different on each side? That is the level of dedication to terroir that wine producers in Burgundy have.
There is another fun detail to Burgundy as well: you can have one vineyard supplying multiple wineries, but unlike the rest of the world, wineries have the rights to specific rows of vines. Napa, for example, will pick all the grapes from a vineyard and then split them up randomly for each winery that wanted grapes from that vineyard. They don’t know where in the vineyard the grapes come from – but in Burgundy, they do. This is of great importance. Wineries in Burgundy are very proud of their wines and insist that the specific terroir of the row in which the grapes grow is as important as any other part of the wine-making process.
Now that we've covered the level of committment to terroir that Burgundians have, let's talk about a great example of that in the Domaine Chevrot, Le Croix Moines, Maranges. The vineyard is small - only 20,000 square feet, or about 0.4 of an acre. Very, very small - there are some houses in Vancouver that are bigger than this vineyard! Each year they only produce 2 barrels of wine, or equal to 60 cases of wine. What should you expect from this wine? Well, the 16 months of aging in the barrel has created a complex expression of raspberry and other red berry flavours, mixed in with some wonderful spice. Personally, from the times that I have tried it, there is a certain X factor to this wine. There is amazing complexity, there are these layers of the aforementioned flavours into these wonderful earthy tones that show the true expression of the vineyard. This is not a pinot noir for the rookie drinker. It will challenge you, but it is worth the challenge.
We do have a wonderful dish on the menu that this dish works perfectly with: the Summer Tasting Menu's course of duck done three ways. This dish is an incredible combination of cured and seared duck breast, confit of duck leg and foie gras cream, and finished with blackberries and beets. The raspberry flavours of the wine work well with the duck and the blackberry, the more rustic tones of the wine will help soften the sweetness of the beets and just add another layer of WOW to this amazing dish.
Come by Bauhaus, and allow me to show you this great example of what makes Burgundy arguably the greatest wine region in the world. If you go to Wine Searcher and try to find this wine, good luck - it is listed in 2 wine shops in all of North America. In that case, I guess we will see you soon.
The Dr. Peter Pride Crawl Fundraiser
We're excited to announce that we're taking part in this year's Dr. Peter Aids Foundation Pride Crawl! From July 14th to August 6th, simply order the Steife Melone for $14, where $8 will be donated to the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation.
The Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation is a non-profit organization that raises funds to support innovative health care at the Dr. Peter Centre in the West End of Vancouver. The Dr. Peter Centre provides compassionate care to some of British Columbia's most vulnerable citizens who face poverty, homelessness, mental health and addiction issues in addition to HIV.