Holiday Throwdown: Big vs. Little(r) Ticket Burgs

Here’s a story with a switcheroo, reversal of fortune and an unexpected ending. Could’ve been penned by O. Henry. It’s the bumbling retailer, and the little producer from Burgundy going up against a couple of big fellas ending all turned upside down.

The story begins when tBoW tasted the 2008 Hauts-Cote des Nuits from Anne Gros and was knocked out. I called my retailer – who shall remain unnamed – and asked for half a case of that specific wine. When I went to pick it up I realized there was only bottle of what I had requested and five other Anne Gros Bourgogne wines; the lesser “Pinot Noir” labels. What to do? I took them! How bad could they be? The retailer had not checked the box and did not realize there was a switch. tBoW likes this retailer a lot so it was good form to accept the mistaken wines. Besides what better way to go to school on Anne Gros wines for what amounts to the cheapest tuition.

Herein lies the challenge with Burgundy. You can have the vineyard, the Cru, the village. But that isn’t enough. If you do not also have the producer and the vintage then you could be stuck. Which trumps which?

Vintage trumps Cru. Producer trumps vintage. Vintage and producer without Cru can trump almost every other combo. Lesson? Track the producer first. Follow up with the vintage whenever possible. Trust me. I’m a putative wine snob.

2008 Anne Gros Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes de Nuits $28: Yummy scrumptious. Light color with dark flavor profile; rich deep Pinot fruit. A Jackie Gleason of a wine; plus size and light on its feet. Had to get more. 12.5%

2008 Anne Gros Bourgogne Pinot Noir $28: Clearly not the same bottling as above but almost as delicious and the same vintage. Not quite as dense but still with outstanding Pinot fruit. 12.5%

2007 Anne Gros Bourgogne Pinot Noir $28: Smokier in this the 2007 vintage. Same density/viscosity. Reminded us of 2007 Oregon vintage character; thinner but sophisticated, intriguing. Tasting great right out of the bottle. 12.5%

2006 Domaine des Croix Beaune 1er Cru Les Bressandes $50: Had the misfortune of going up against the 2008 Anne Gros Hauts-Cotes de Nuit. Sharp fruit, needing time to emerge. Trying hard to be complex but also a bit soft as in not too much tannic presence. 13%

2006 Domain Marius Delarche Le Corton Grand Cru Vielle Vignes $45: This bottle has more medals on its vest than an Army officer. You pick the army. Old vines, gran cru. A bit lean so I would guess not the greatest vintage. Kind of simple. The Anne Gros (pick one or take them all) knocked it right out of the box. 13%

As Dotor√© put it…who else has her wines? These are her entry levels. We need to move up the scale! Here is a terrific interview with Ms. Gros that is definitely worth reading. She also makes wine from Minervois! That goes right to the top of the “search and gulp” list.

Here are a couple of other wines the tBoW tasting team put to the test recently.

2008 Anne Gros Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes de Nuits Cuvee Marine $34: Chardonnay. Outstanding. Very well made. Clean and plumped up just enough to deliver tasty wine. Think fat Cornish Hen. 12.5%

2002 Marc Colin et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru “Less Caillerets” $50: A Robert Chaddderdon import. Light chalkiness that gears up to white chocolate. Very nice. Old World style. Best of the non-Anne Gros wines. Sucked it down. 13.5%

Authentic Poire Manoir du Parc $14: Picked this up at Wine Expo in Santa Monica, aka the Robert Rogness Emporium. Today Robert has a long standing presence of import on the Westside but it was not always this way. Over recent 20 odd years Robert has worked his way into the wine-dense neighborhood of the Westside with energy and the most unique selection of wines at very fair prices from Italy, Spain and Champgane. He has established his shop amidst the substantial reps of long established West LA wine destinations including Wine House, Wally’s, 20-20 and Wine Merchant. You want same old same old, go elsewhere. You want special and interesting go to Wine Expo.

tBoW stopped in to check out the new Wine Expo tasting room in the adjacent space. Wow. Impressive. Tastefully done with plenty of space and seats PLUS a private tasting room at the rear. He described this wine “like biting into a ripe pear.” Is it like a Moscato d’Asti? No. Fresh, dry. Delightful. “At 3% you can chug it.” Love that Robert. This is actually pear cider from Normandy and it is wonderful. Not sweet. Dry. Refreshing. Carbonated. 3%

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