Buongiorno, bonjour and “g’day”! (don't you like how they're all the same thing? ~ who knew Australian vernacular was so cosmopolitan???).

Also, "a good day to you, sir/maam" for our American pals, "Ni Hao" to China, and "Здравствуй" to our Russian comrades, "etcetera etcetera and so forth"... (for Yul Brynner).

It’s your old pal Kit (Christof) Fennessy here. I've been writing this blog with your help for ten years, and there's over a hundred and fifty recipes, restaurant reviews of Australia and around the world, and general gourmet articles in these pages for you to fritter away your idle hours on.

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Now, what's on the bill of fare today?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Burgundy anyone?

I went to a Bourgogne (Burgundy) region wine tasting in November held by Bijoux Wines, and subsequently misplaced the notes I made. Tiddly? Me? Never. I’ve found them again subsequently, however, so can let you in on (as the French would say) “l’éducation” I got.

The event was held at the rear of Matteo’s, a lovely restaurant in North Fitzroy. There were only three ladies there; Linda Baron, Melbourne foodie extraordinaire, who’d invited us and Jane and Simone from Blue Vapours … who ended up doing a runner and going to the pub next door. The rest of the attendees were male wine aficionados; i.e. over fifty, high blood pressure, purple faces, comb-overs and small moustaches. It was like looking into my future!

The wines were mostly reds. They had white burgundies, and some bubbles, but it wasn’t until I was three quarters of the way around the tables that I got the low down on (as the French would say) la traditionale “burgundys”.

There’s been a special mystique about burgundy for me, ever since my parents had a ten litre cask of it on the kitchen bench back in the 70's. Bourgogne Rouge is basically pinot noir. That’s what a “burgundy” is. Talk about popping the mystique! I started tasting the qualities of pinot straight away. Pinots? Notes for the novice: It’s hard to make a good one, they always stuff them up here in the cheaper bracket, and they’re hardly ever consistent. But that’s apparently the appeal of these wines to high end slurpers: the difficulty and the variation.

There are different grades of Bourgogne rouge, and the price and quality went up around the room. The cognoscenti were all standing at the last table downing the good stuff and I’d been dabbling around the lower grades for ages! Don’t make the same mistake! Here are the gradings:

Village: grapes sourced from the village area.
Premier Cru: grapes sourced from the one vineyard.
Grand Cru: grapes sourced from the one nice hill in the one vineyard.

Definitions vary from region to region, and you might like to check my conversational definition with what they say in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cru_%28wine%29).

So (drum roll please), my picks in the different classifications:

Kit’s Cucina Inaugural Bourgogne Wine Awards

Bubbles- i.e. Champagne Medot

NV Medot Rose
50% pinot noir and 50% chardonnay. “Medium rose, moderate bubbles. Easy drinking style.” My notes get shorter and less coherent as we go around.

White Burgundy
2004 Chateau de Citeaux Chassange Montrachet
“A quick surprise” it says in my notes, not sure why. Mid-straws yellow, grapefruit and lemon zest.

Village Rouge
2008 Domaine Tortochot Gevrey Chambertin Champerrier Vieilles Vignes
Delish. Mid cherry crimson colour, berry fruit tastes - I thought “raspberry”.

Premier Cru Rouge

2007 Domaine Marchand Freres Chambolle Mesigny 1er Cru “Les Sentiers”
Who knows what their tasting notes mean? Pebbly? WTF? Also, I’m beginning to suspect the reason these wines cost so much is to pay for the type setting. How long and fancy sounding is that name? My notes? “Perfumed. Excellent.”

Grand Cru
(the absolutely broadest range in tastes in this category– I see in my notes from Chinnoto to Amyl… crikey!)
My pick? Super big drum roll please!!!
2007 Domaine Marchand Freres Grand Cru Charmes Chambertin
Mid ruby colour, fresh berry fruit. My notes: “Yum! Yum!”

At the end, they threw in a Rhone Rouge which was a mix of grape types, and had rave reviews printed with it by the Wine Advocate and International Wine Cellar. It was a 2007 Domaine Le Milliere Chateauneuf du Pape (ninth castle of the Pope) Vieille Vignes en magnum. My notes: “Balance, rounded. What a relief after all those pinots, like falling into a comfy chair.”

If you’d like to talk to someone about buying these, or one of the many other bottles they had on offer, you could try emailing Norman. He’s at:

Hopefully they invite me to their next one!