Burgundy salvation

pour ready.jpgThe Scene: Palate Food + Wine, LA’s top dining room. The Event: A tasting of Camille Giroud Burgundies featuring 2006 and older vintages to 1974. The Outcome: Renewal of faith. Rebirth of cool.
TSteve with troops.jpghis was the last shot to rekindle an old love affair with Burgundy that had gone sour with the 1996 vintage. The complaints were too familiar as logged in previous tBoW posts: unreliable and finicky wines, marginal and spotty producers, over-hyped vintages, and way too expensive. Don’t forget the failure of domestic winemakers to produce outstanding Pinot Noir with consistency. Why even bother trying to find decent Burgundy when there is so much great vintage Beaujolais available?
chef and importer.jpgThere have been notable exceptions to the winemaker flop in domestic land, i.e., Paul Lato and Belle Pente and Chasseur. We can always cherry pick these while trying to forget about the burgs of yesteryear.
ONE LAST SHOT is what tBoW figured when he learned about the tasting. Camile Giroud is an under-the-radar negociant with the Becky Wasserman stamp of approval which is always good. The house is 150 years old; the pedigree long and respected. The only major conflict in an era of cutting back and economic collapse is the absence of any U20 ethic here. But this was easily rationalized (like with any fiend). Once only, last time for this extravaganza, tasting of a lifetime. The warning from Dotor√© “it ain’t the cost getting in that concerns me; it’s the price to get out”. All wines are around 13% alcohol. Prices quoted were discounted 20% for the tasting only. Imported by Veritas.
CG Bourgogne 06.jpg2006 Camille Giroud Bourgogne $21: Beets and bologna on the nose. Simple and straightforward, nice style, light weight, some tannins, cherry flavors. Lovely.
CG CdB Vilg 06.jpg2006 Camille Giroud Cote de Beaune Villages $23: Medicinal, mineral nose. Quite different than the Bourgogne. More tannic, acidic after taste. Liked it.
CG Maranges 06.jpg2006 Camille Giroud Maranges Le Croix Moines $25: Unusual and never-before-seen site name. Feral, sauvage, full wine with weight in the mouth. Berries, chalky, tannic. Almost citric. Very nice.
2006 Camille Giroud Gevrey Chambertin Les Crais $38: Now we are getting there. Ripe nose, pancetta nose [ed. ham and cheese?], vanilla barrel flavors, dark fruit. Heading towards the exotic.
2006 Camille Giroud Vosne Romanee $53: Black cherry nose, yummy, best wine yet. Very very good. Rich, deep, long finish. Ready to buy…until the next wine was poured.
CG Corton LR GC 06.jpg2006 Camille Giroud Corton Rognets $78: Teach perfesser. There are 37 Gran Cru vineyards in Burgundy and this is one I have never seen much less tasted before. It is small. This is substantial wine. It is too young to open right now. It is too withdrawn to describe with any justice. It is a Grand Cru that would have been 3x the price 3 years ago. It whispers buy me. Peter Wasserman says 10 years. tBoW is hooked.
2006 Camille Giroud Nuits St Georges Vaucrains $65: Masculine wine. Minerals and bread dough. Sweet, rich fruit. Not brooding just sinewy. Spicy nose. White pepper on the finish. Plenty of acid. [ed. winemaker David Croix in photo]
CG winemaker David and Cynthia.jpg2006 Camille Giroud Mersault La Barre $37: Lean nose with distinct tropical flavors. Unusual and not what tBoW expects form white Burgs. Peter W says the vintage was one week later for the Chardonnay vines resulting in more ripe fruit than usual.
2006 Camille Giroud Corton Charlemagne $112.50: Pineapple in the nose and flavor (!), rich minerality. Unusual ripeness.
Info break: tBoW learns that Becky Wasserman was first to bring French barrels into California. Fascinating! tBoW makes new commitment to only buy great wines, i.e., Baroli and Burgundies. When not buying U20s, of course. The Barolo/Burgundy kinship topic ran like a thread through the evening confirming a commonly held opinion among wine fiends that the two are “blood brothers” to quote a very knowledgeable source who sat very near tBoW. “A great Barolo in a light year is very Burgundian”.
CG Bressandes 1988 1.jpg1988 Camille Giroud Beaune Bressandes $100: The one that got away. Peter describes three stages in wine maturation: fruit forward, the second stage, and integration of all elements when the wine is at peace. This wine is in its third stage. tBoW tends to prefer 2nd stage, on the ascent. This wine is very special. A wine for consuming with special friends and family. Brick red color. An acidic and tannic vintage. A rustic wine, exotic, perfumed, spicy. Dried cherries in the mouth, soft on the palate. Calm. Wine like this forces reconsideration of the wine arc of life curve.
CG Santenay GCR 95.jpg1995 Camille Giroud Santenay Grand Clos du Rousseau $65: One of the top three Gran Cru vineyards in Santenay. More structured wine. Richer flavors. It is younger. Does not impress tBoW like the Bressandes.
CG Corton CDR GC 76.jpg1976 Camille Giroud Corton Clos du Roi $280: Musty amphibian nose, round. The vintage was “hot and undrinkable for 25 years”. Then it began to open like one would expect from a Gran Cru grand wine. It is poured next to the following wine, same site, newer vintage.
2006 Camille Giroud Corton Clos du Roi $85: Structure distinguishes Burgundy; i.e., the interplay and balance sought between acid, fruit, tannins and intangibles. When tasting great wines in their youth, push aside the fruit. This wine is more fresh, more sweet.
Info spot: Vine roots go deep as 30 meters in Burgundy. This is astonishing. “Low yields are not the key to great wine”.
2006 Camille Giroud Chambertin $175: The “big name” vineyard reflected in the price. This wine is powerful. Gunpowder nose and sweet. This is great French Pinot Noir. Has to be the “biggest” wine from this house at least on this evening. 15 years to drinking again says PW.palate loading dock 2.jpg
1974 Camille Giroud Corton Charlemagne $250: The evening’s final pour. Youthful yellow color. Cheesy nose with kerosene nuance ala’ great Saar Rieslings. Tapioca in the first taste. Tannic and mineral. Too lean right out of the gate. Opens up to show stewed pears. Still not crazy about it. The curse of guzzling.
Notes begin to bleed together at this point. Incredible pressure to socialize diverts attention to other matters. As they say on ESPN “he left it all on the field”.

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