CCIV in BEAUNE
In March, 2002, I had the pleasure of visiting Burgundy. Some of
the CCIV students kindly extended an invitation to call, so I did.
A small group dined at LE GOURMANDIN in the Place Carnot in Beaune (near the
The chalk board has not the day's menu, but the wines-by-the-glass list.
We had a good bottle of Matrot Bourgogne Blanc and a slacker bottle of Jaboulet-Vercherre
Bourgogne Rouge. This was a lack luster wine and the students told the
restaurant so. They finally brought a bottle of Michel Lafarge Bourgogne
Rouge which was splendid.
Afterwards, they invited me to a tasting and class covering Vins Doux Naturels.
As I rarely say "no", I attended a lovely presentation by several of
The best wine of the tasting was a Domaine Piquemal 1997 "Muscat de
Rivesaltes," their "Coup de Foudre" bottling. Here was a
Muscat, matured for 24 months in oak with a fabulous fragrance of Muscat fruit,
caramel, toasty oak, creamy notes and vanilla. This is not Chteau
d'Yquem, but it is an affordable alternative!
These "kids" must do their homework, as the wines I tasted in this
class were far superior to much of the sweet wine coming from the
The wines were well-farmed and did not rely on sugar for their flavor interest.
This is an encouraging development, wineries in the region, quite obviously,
being more interested in competing for a share of the "connoisseur
market," rather than simply making boat-loads of sweet and ordinary quality
This bodes well for the future, as there's more of a financial reward for
quality (one hopes) than for "plonk."
also tasted Piquemal's 2000 Muscat de Rivesaltes, a blend of Muscat Alexandria
and Muscat a Petit Grains.
A Cellier de Trouilles "Rivesaltes" Rancio 1982 was a very interesting
blend of Macabeu and Grenache Blanc, aged about 15 years in wood! This
displayed an apricot jam character and would be a fabulous match for a
We also tasted a Chteau Moss 1994 Rivesaltes Ambr, a wine made entirely of
Macabeu. Forty year old vines and barrique aging give the wine a note of
complexity, with more Sherry-like notes than the Rancio wine described above.
Also exceptional was a Domaine Cazes Rivesaltes 1995, a wine made entirely of
Grenache Noir. One year in a tank, this shows lovely, ripe red fruit
aromas and a hint of a woodsy undertone. Notes of cherry pie waft from the
glass, with candied orange peel flavors, some blackberry fruit, a hint of mocha
and more! It rivals the Piquemal wine for "best of tasting"
honors, though the Piquemal was a shade more complex.
A Banyuls from the Cave de l'Abb, Cuve Christian Reynal 993 Grand Cru was
good, but not a hall of fame candidate.
The wine is 80% Grenache, 10% Carignan and 10% "others." It
spent six years in wood and has a caramelized note. The slightly tannic
quality of the wine helps keep it in balanced, preventing it from being
I had to dash before the class finished its tasting, being called upon to visit
a special, small cellar in the Hameau de Blagny.
So, I missed making notes on the Cellier des Templiers Banyuls 1998, the Jean
Louis Lafarge 1989 Maury Rancio and the famous Mas Amiel Prestige 15 Ans
bottling of Maury!
The instructor of the class, Monsieur JEAN PIERRE RENARD.
BACK TO THE 2002 CCIV IN
2001 CCIV in
At the domaine of MARTELET de CHERISEY in Blagny, a magical little enclave near
Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet.
We tasted a lovely range of 2001 barrel samples...especially good was a 2001
Puligny-Montrachet of the Hameau de Blagny.
The 2000s showed well, too!
Laurent Martelet (left) and Famous Florence Zito.
All this winetasting made us very hungry!
So, we drove back to Beaune and the Caveau des Arches, an underground restaurant
along the Beaune periphique road.
A dozen Escargot were outstanding.
The Chanson Montagny did not "sing" especially well.
The Volaille Roti was quite good and accompanied by
a lovely bottle of Brigitte Cathiard's 1991
Nuits-Saint-Georges "Les Meurgers," a smooth, cherryish
Pinot Noir from a good, but unheralded, vintage.
The wine list is large, so making a choice can be a difficult task!
Too bad we didn't have any of that Piquemal 1997 Muscat de Rivesaltes to go with
dessert, a finely cut apple tart!
Merci to my host Laurent Martelet and his assistant, Famous Florence Zito!