August 11, 2006

Terrific red Burgundy from de Villaine

When it comes down to it, about the most exciting wine I’ve have recently is a $20 red Burgundy, the 2004 A. Et P. De Villaine Bourgogne “La Dogoine” from the Cote Chalonnaise.

This part of Burgundy, immediately south of the Cote d’Or, typcially produces lighter wines from pinot noir and chardonnay than its northerly neighbor. But de Villaine is in my mind the leader of the better producers in the region. Every wine I’ve had from this producer has been exceptional.

This wine is no different. It shows a brilliant light ruby color, with a perfumed, simply gorgeous aroma. It is not deep but it’s so elegant and ripe at once, with cherries and wood spice, it makes me think of something we might produce in Oregon at our best. Soft and silky in the mouth, truly elegant with spicy cherry and mineral flavors, bright and light textured but ripe tasting and so pleasurable. Great acidity draws out the finish, it's so fresh and pure I found myself thinking, simply, "wow."

This isn’t complex wine, but it is so aromatic and delicious. I think this is terrific for drinking now, and for the money it pretty much blows away the local competition for value. But I wouldn’t think I’d want to age this wine more than a few years.

So I find it interesting that the de Villaine brochure says that La Digoine “benefits from bottle aging.” It goes on to say:

“After 18 to 24 months, slow maturation and evolution begin to make their mark, and La Digoine will improve over the next ten years, revealing the deep, complex aroma worthy of a great Burgundy. Depending on cellar condition, we recommend twelve to fifteen years of aging.”

Wow. That’s a long time. But when I think about it, with this producer, I wouldn’t be surprised. This is, after all, probably the best “generic” red Bourgogne I’ve ever had.

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