Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wine Class #11: French Regions- Burgundy and Alsace

Wine class is FINALLY back!  I can't even put into words how excited I am to be back in the routine of our weekly wine lectures.  Our vino loving group of nine huddled around our TV Thursday night for the 11th lecture of our course.  The topic this week was the French Region of Burgundy and Alsace.  Burgundy is the birthplace of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grape varieties, so those were obviously a big part of the lesson.  However, we also tried a couple other grapes that were new to us: Gamay and Gewurztraminer.

We tried the following wines:
Chablis AC- Chardonnay
from Chablis Northwest Burgundy
Brouilly- Gamay
from Beaujolais region
(Southern Burgundy)
Cote de Nuits- Pinot Noir from Cote
de Nuits (Northern Burgundy)

Meursault- Chardonnay
 from Northern Burgundy
Gewurztraminer- from Alsace (Northeast of Burgundy- on German border)

After the class, I found this map to get a better idea of what areas of/ near Burgundy all the wines came from.  It's so interesting that the same grape can taste so different by being grown in different locations within the same region.

**New wine drinkers**
If you aren't keen on red wine or are just beginning to drink it, try Beaujolais Nouveau.  The area of Beaujolais is in the southern part of Burgundy, and is known for it's wines made from red Gamay grapes.  Generally these wines are lighter, softer and easier to drink as compared to a Pinot.  It has a bubble gum smell to it, which was something I'd never smelled before.  Also, they are meant to be drunk very young, so buy a bottle from a recent year.

Overall my favorite wine of the night was the Chablis AC.  Normally I prefer a red wine, but maybe it's the upcoming change of seasons that has me interested in a more light bodied wine.  The reason I love Chablis is because it's an unoaked Chardonnay- which is not a common characteristic of Chard.  It was very delicate and crisp, unlike the Meursault that had a more spicy, vanilla and buttery flavor- both were made with the same grape.  My second favorite was the Cote de Nuits.  It had a light, fruity, spicy flavor and wasn't too acidic.  It was pretty unanimous among the whole group that our least favorite was the Gewurztraminer (or Pinot Gris). It was too sweet for us, but if you enjoy sweet wines- this is a great one to try.

Up next week: French Regions- Rhone, Languedoc and Provence.  These will be mostly rose wines, which American's think to be sweet and cheap, but in reality these are dry roses that make great spring and summer wines.

No comments:

Post a Comment