January 31, 2009

Marchand-Grillot Morey St. Denis

As a wine loving parent, weekends are nice because you get a little extra time to enjoy and appreciate wine before, during, and maybe after a nice meal.

Tonight I broiled up a T-bone and opened a 2001 Domaine Marchand-Grillot Morey St. Denis, which I've had in the queue for more than a year. I'm on a Burgundy kick, and even though a nice steak usually requires some Bordeaux or domestic cabernet, I just couldn't help myself.

I'd never tasted anything from this producer, and opening a bottle of unknown wine is always a mystery. For some reason, I thought maybe this wine would stand up to a big cut of beef. It didn't, and as soon as I sniffed and tasted it I wondered what I had been thinking. Nevertheless, I'm home with my family, warm and healthy with a nice dinner in front of me. This was a great night.

Sometimes people refer to nebbiolo wines as the "Burgundy" of Italy's Piedmont regon. With that in mind, this wine provided the exact mirror of that experience. Fragrant, floral, even a little tarry on the aroma with a nice hint of maturity. Blind I might have guessed nebbiolo just from the delicate perfume.

In the mouth, more of the same. Bright, light red fruit flavors with juicy acidity and ripe but persistent tannin. The more I drank this wine, the more I imagined it as a nice Langhe nebbiolo, and the more I appreciated what it offered. Who says Burgundy can't be enjoyable with tannin.

Did this wine stand up to the steak? Ha. No. The wine seemed limp with my dinner, denatured by the raw flavors of beef, broccoli, and rice pilaf. The I honestly appreciated the wine more on its own, despite the tannic profile and light body that isn't the typical description of nice sipping wine.

This smelled like Burgundy, as nebbiolo sometimes smells like Burgundy. It drank a bit stern, but there's something to respect in its unflinching personality. I wouldn't necessarily seek this wine out again, yet I enjoyed what it offered. That, I suppose, is a pleasant mystery of wine.


Ned said...

I read recently that Burgundy is good match with beef.
Thus Bœuf Bourguignon. Whereas Bordeaux is the right match for lamb. I hadn't actually come to that myself but could at least see the perspective.
I think the idea was that in one combo, the Pinot provides the spice, and in the other, the lamb.
You may have simply needed a bigger Burg.

Vincent Fritzsche said...

It's true, a bigger Burgundy might have done the trick. However, with T-bone steak or something similarly unadorned, as opposed to something like Boeuf Bourguignon, the power and fat cutting muscle of a Bordeaux styled wine would be more my pick. For lamb, I would think Bandol or maybe something of that ilk from the Rhone valley. Great match, not that something cabernet-based wouldn't work. Just not my first pick.