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Discover France through Alsace.
[ Discover France through Alsace. ]

·Riesling, The Great White Hope
·An Alsatian at the Table
·Alsace, The pedigree of Pinot Gris
·Is Alsace in dilemma?
· Alsatian Pinot Gris: How Sweet It Is!
·Reconnecting with Alsace
·Another French Paradox: Alsace Riesling
·Rieslings from Alsace are drier
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Colmar. Nice city.


Colmar. Nice city.

Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.


Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.


Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) and Grand Cru d'Alsace.Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) and Grand Cru d'Alsace.
French Recipies and Alsacian GastronomyFrench Recipies and Alsacian Gastronomy
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History of Alsace and alsacian wine.History of Alsace and alsacian wine.
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Burgundy and me Burgundy and me
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Follow the Froggies: Alsace gastronomy. Follow the Froggies: Alsace gastronomy.
Inside Bordeaux Inside Bordeaux
Wine classifications AOC - Grand Crus... Wine classifications AOC - Grand Crus...

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The magic of old burgundy

The magic of old burgundy
Burgundy and meOne of the nicest problems to have when you have an extensive cellar is that you are almost certain to have wines you have forgotten about. There is then the risk that you may not remember or come across those bottles until they have 'died' - this happens to all collections, big or small.

Thus, on a recent tidying up of my cellar, I came across some old burgundies that had been acquired some 20 or more years ago and had left them alone as I did not think that they would still be any good - for reasons such as average vintages, unfashionable grower, etc. They were taking up cellar space, and the decision had to be taken - open them and if they were bad, then too bad. At least it freed cellar space.

There used to be a misconception that Burgundy, both red and white, does not age well, at least not as well as Bordeaux. This has more or less been debunked and it is well accepted that burgundies do age and the best will age as long as the best of Bordeaux.
While we are awash with excellent to great vintages in the nineties and recently the 2002 and 2001, all these are young and the clamour is for ready-to-drink mature wines, be they Bordeaux or Burgundy. Old Bordeaux is much easier to find than old Burgundy. Where and how do you come across or acquire old Burgundy - we're referring here to wines more than 20 years old? They are almost non-existent in the regular lists of overseas wine merchants. The auction houses are the best source as now and again their auctions feature wines from great private cellars.

The important point to note here is 'great private cellars' - because that is where most of the great old burgundies are quietly lying. And that is what more recent collectors should be doing - buying young and cellaring them for 20 to 30 years. That is the best way and the only way in which one can ensure optimum maturation and perfect condition of old burgundies. The obvious disadvantage is cellar space, and investment cost but it still remains the most sensible and most economical way of ensuring that you will have mature 30 to 40-year-old burgundies in perfect condition - the assumption is that you can keep your hands off those bottles while they are waiting to mature!
The usual conditions for optimum cellaring apply. The following are just some observations acquired over the years.

Pick the growers rather than just picking the best vintages. Confining yourself to only great vintages, eg 1978, 1985, 1990, 1999, etc is safe but conservative and not adventurous enough. I have had lovely surprises with lighter vintages such as 1979, 1982, and 1987 by following grower rather than vintage. Of the more recent vintages, 1997, 2000 and 2001 come to mind.
As an example, 1972 Burgundy was very poorly rated, almost universally neglected and shunned. Michael Broadbent wrote: 'A vintage largely misunderstood by the British and somewhat over-regarded by the French.' Having tasted many bottles from that vintage he goes on - 'they were positive, flavoury, firm, very drinkable, though not stylish'.
Some 10 years ago I acquired a batch of 1972 Latricieres Chambertin by Camus Pere et Fils, a family Domaine still producing wines mostly from the Gevrey-Chambertin vineyards. Fine wines were produced in the 50s and 60s but sadly the reputation today is no longer what it was. To my delight, these bottles of Grand Cru have proved to be charming and delicious. I last opened a bottle in December 2004 for some vigneron friends from Barolo, and to our delight the 32-year-old wine lived well up to expectations - still fresh, ripe flavours, delicate and fragrant. Not great but enchanting. And the best part? The wine only cost 20 a bottle.

Should one pick only the Grands and Premiers Crus? What about the Village wines? Those who attended the extensive 2002 and 2001 Burgundy tasting in November last year (Paulee de Singapour) may remember the advice of Serena Sutcliffe M W, the moderator-in-chief. In the best years, eg 2002 and 1999, even the Village wines are worth buying and cellaring. They are more readily available and less expensive. The same advice is equally applicable to lesser vintages - but stick to the best growers.

Cellaring conditions. For best results a cellar temperature not exceeding 120 C, preferably below, and humidity not less than 70 per cent are critical.

SOME RECENT TASTINGS

Latricieres Chambertin 1947, Thevenin From English wine merchant in 1997 Roland Thevenin was (no reference as to whether the business still exists) a negociant based in the village of St Romain. (The label on this is tattered hence the paucity of details.)

Vintage notes: (Michael Broadbent's Vintage Wine - Fifty Years of Tasting over Three Centuries of Wine) describes it as 'a wonderfully rich vintage . . . grapes picked and fermented in very hot weather'.

Tasting Notes: Medium deep amber-red, transparent; rich fragrant bouquet of very sweet, very ripe oranges and strawberries, very fresh, very pure Pinot, no trace of mushroom or farmyard smells; refined sweet full taste, with that limpid transparency of pure pinot wine, fresh, no trace of tiredness, just a touch of bitterness at the finish. The outstanding feature of this bottle was the freshness on nose and palate.
br> Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru Clos de Reas 1949, Remoissenet From Christie's auction 1995
In those days, old bottles at auctions could be relied on to be authentic and in good condition. The same is less sure today as fake bottles abound. Remoissenet was another highly-respected negociant whose bottlings could always be relied on.

Vintage Notes: A great vintage. 'Five stars. The most perfect end to the decade. Elegant, well-balanced wines, the epitome of burgundy.' - Michael Broadbent.

Tasting Notes: Medium garnet red, transparent; lovely fragrant heavy bouquet of very mature Pinot, oranges and strawberry, very fresh. Dense flavours of very ripe fruit, thicker texture than the Latricieres '47, pure pinot, and good clean finish.

Latricieres Chambertin 1979, Domaine Louis Trapet et Fils From London wine merchant in 1983

Trapet's wines are controversial, at one time regarded by some as the greatest Chambertin grower, others not convinced. Vintage Notes: A good prolific vintage, less well-balanced than 1978, some attractive charming wines. Tasting Notes: Paler colour than the 1949, brownish red, transparent; lovely pure pinot fragrance, lighter, more delicate than the Vosne-Romanee Clos de Reas; less rich, less dense in flavour than the Vosne-Romanee Clos de Reas, delicate, refined, strawberries and orange flavours, very charming, very fresh.

It may not be as easy nor as inexpensive today to find the current equivalent of such wines, but not impossible. All the world is looking for mature burgundies!

N K Yong - April 14, 2006; The Business Times
Posted on Tuesday, November 21 @ 20:16:55 MST by pierre
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Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.
Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.

Colmar. Nice city.
Colmar. Nice city.


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