Wine tasting: Allen Meadows' Burgundy
Allen Meadows - like wine critic Robert Parker, who rules Bordeaux - is garnering equivalent attention and respect for his Burgundy-centric publication Burghound.
Meadows, who used to work in the finance industry, decided in 1999 to retire and concentrate on a book project on the French wine region. This evolved into quarterly newsletters, and Burghound was born.
Burgundy is especially difficult for some to understand. Burgundy lovers have come to accept disappointment as they continue their quest to find the perfect wine. Meadows explains that making quality wine every year is a technical challenge due to historic conditions and the small sizes of some holdings. Moreover, Burgundy has only one red variety (pinot noir) and one white (chardonnay) to work with. There is little margin for error and the winemaker cannot blend away mistakes. This is in contrast to Bordeaux, where producers plant about four different red varieties, and blends can be adjusted.
"It is a sad fact that inexpensive, high-quality pinot noir is almost non-existent," says Meadows. If you want value-for-money Burgundy, look for wines from Savigny-lés-Beaune, Auxey-Duresses, Chassagne Montrachet (red), Santenay and Monthelie.
Meadows says collectors tend to buy vintages with longer cellaring potential. Burgundy lovers should consider 2005, 2008 and 2010 vintages. In the meantime, he recommends ones that mature earlier and can be enjoyed in the short- to medium-term, such as 2000, 2001, 2007 and 2011.
2009 Littorai Pinot Noir The Haven Vineyard, Sonoma Coast
Littorai is a symbolic bridge between Burgundy and California. Owner Ted Lemon started his wine career in Burgundy, where he worked for top domains, and was named the winemaker and vineyard manager of Domaine Roulot in Meursault. He later returned to the United States to establish the Littorai estate in Sonoma Valley.
Confectionary, ripe jammy fruit. Full body with fresh acidity and higher alcohol levels. Can be enjoyed now. HK$332
Wines are available from pontiwinecellars.com.hk
Albert Bichot Corton Grand Cru "Clos des Marechaudes" 2010
Corton is located on a hillside in the Côte de Beaune. Red wines make up 95 per cent of production. Corton reds remain relatively undervalued, and the top-quality wines have cellaring potential.
Fragrant fresh berry fruits. Medium body with fine tannins, elegant with tight structure. Long finish. HK$820
Albert Bichot Chablis Grand Cru Moutonne 2010
Bichot is a négociant (wine merchant) and owner of more than 100 hectares of vineyards in Burgundy. The family established its wine brokerage business in 1831. Under the stewardship of its sixth-generation members, the wines are receiving more critical acclaim from wine writers and are winning awards in competitions.
Chablis officially has seven grand cru sites. Moutonne straddles two of them, and has been awarded its own designation.
Mineral, citrus notes on the nose. Delicate fruit with taut acidity, a linear structure and long finish. HK$738