Burgundy remains one of the great destinations for many a winelover. Highly reputed for the finest wines in both white and red, known for the nearly incomprehensible patchwork of microclimats and tiny terroirs it is certainly not the easiest wine region, something which I discovered myself over the past weekend. From Chablis to the very south of Macon it has been one hell of a trip over four days and the only thing I learned is that it would take years to really ‘get’ Burgundy. A more detailed impression will follow soon but of course I cannot help but be inspired by what I tasted.
The best, or at least the most famous white wines are produced in the Cote de Beaune. While the wines produced around Montrachet are expensive (there is no easy way of putting it, a decent Meursault or Puligny-Montrachet starts around 30 euros and the only way is up) but the upper half of the Cote de Beaune centered around the Corton hill delivers excellent wines for a much more affordable price. Wines here are a lot more subdued in comparison with their Southern neighbours, fruit combined with minerality instead of cream combined with opulence.
The wine to present today is Domaine Pavelot’s Pernand Vergelesses Sous Frétille premier cru 2012 (it’s a mouthful but that’s what you get when dealing with Burgundy). The Pavelot family has been present in Pernand-Vergelesses for ages and the estate is currently in the capable hands of the brother/sister team of Luc and Lise. They have made major efforts towards ecological viticulture and were certified in 2009. 2012 was one of the most difficult vintages as yields were decimated by hail, which unfortunately also led to price increases across the board.
Regardless of the limited availability, it was a good vintage, which shows in the wine. A bit reductive at first, tasted a bit too cold maybe, but opening up on impressions of oak at first (a bit of vanilla) which are quickly overtaken by grapefruit and green apples. Sous Frétille is southward facing and this exposure certainly adds to the abundant fruitiness, but I can’t help but feel that it is a bit held back by the oak. Luckily there is a lot more freshness and acidity on the palate, adding towards depth. You get a hint of caramel again in the finish but it’s really just a little touch to underline the fresh character of the wine. You can sense that the wine is still trying to find its balance, but all components are there and even though it is enjoyable now, a couple of years in the cellar will be well rewarded.