Like the growers champagne tasting I attended in December, the ones I make a real point to get to are not run of the mill, but more of a treat. HD for wine lovers, if you will. Last week I had the pleasure of attending two Burgundy 2007 tastings. The Sorting Table and Wildman & Sons were in town to share their portfolio of 2007 Burgs with the trade. Burgundy is considered one of the most difficult regions in the world to work. Pinot Noir is an incredibly finicky grape and the climatic conditions each year are just as challenging. No surprise, these are really special events where invitees taste wines that can go for as much as $300+/bottle.
These tastings are also incredibly challenging to attend. Because of the timing of the event - just a few months post-harvest - the wines are typically barrel samples, which have been 'bottled' for the tastings here in the States; they are meant to give us a taste of what these wines will become. And by "become" I mean in quite a while.... Burgundy's reds (almost exclusively Pinot Noir) are not thought to come into their prime for at least another decade, and sometimes as much as three. The whites (almost exclusively Chardonnay) can also be aged for quite some time.
The 2007 vintage is said to be one of the most difficult in recent memory - but producing solid wines for those who tended their vines methodically, with tremendous care throughout the ups and downs of the vintage cycle. It was a long, warm spring suggesting an earlier harvest would be necessary. But it proceeded to rain, with temps consistently below average, throughout July and August. Finally in late August the sun decided to shine again and the northern winds arrived to dry things out in September. For those who really worked hard all vintage to give the grapes a chance - and then waited to pick - the fruit was ripe enough to produce concentrated, nuanced wines.
Those with greater experience tasting young Burgundy argue the Chardonnays are more consistently better than the Pinots in '07. For my part, though I hesitate to generalize, at each tasting I found the whites, indeed, were very vibrant, delightfully unadulterated and rightly displaying their characteristic minerality and searing acidity. The reds I tasted were mixed; the best offered the lovely concentrated fruit, nuanced earthiness and tremendous finesse one should expect from great Burgundy, while others were more diluted and characterless.
For the sake of this post (and my lengthy word count) I've deliberately refrained from going into greater detail about each of the specific (important) sub-regions within Burgundy - and the villages within these - which do make a difference on the predominant characteristics of a given red/white Burgundy. I fully encourage you to dig deeper to learn more about each. But, for a report on the 2007 vintage, definitely check out this resource. Very helpful, delightfully nerdy information therein.
Have you experienced great Burgundy? What vintage was the wine?