March 12, 2009

Ah, sweet Burgundy

I'm not usually one to compare wines like red Burgundy and Oregon pinot noir. Yet I can't help see a delicious similarity between the 2004 Joseph Voillot Volnay Les Fremiets 1er Cru we had tonight with something perfumed and delicate from, perhaps, Evesham Wood of Oregon's Eola-Amity Hills.

As you may know, 2004 red Burgundy was largely panned by wine cognosenti. We heard cries of "unripe" and "green" in tasting notes for the wines. The latest vintage of the century, 2005, only further cemented 2004's reputation as the dirty stepchild (apologies to wonderful stepchildren everywhere waiting their turn for the shower).

Such vintage declarations can open or close the window for buyers. Where 2005s soared in price out of my reach, many 2004s were dumped at sometimes incredibly low prices. If you know me, I loaded up on selected 2004s from good producers and vineyards.

Tonight I needed something a little special. For some people, that would mean spending $50, $100, or more. For me, $15 will do. So this Voillot Volnay Fremiets. It has a beautiful translucent ruby color. At first, the aroma shows some herbaceousness. Then with a few minutes, a gorgeous perfume of cherries, flower petals and old wood spice emerge, gaining depth and intensity with more time in the glass. This is nice Cote de Beaune Burgundy, but the profile also suggests something light and delicate from here in Oregon.

The flavors and texture follow the aroma. There are soft, silky fruit flavors with fine tannin and toothsome acidity, delicate and light but so pure and lengthy. Fans of big cabernet, or pinot noir for that matter, would fret the lack of volume and decibel here. But this is what pinot is about to me. Immediately pleasurable, surprisingly complex and refreshing, easy to match with food (maybe not steak) and so tasty you can't help pouring yourself another glass.

What more do you want? This is a special wine, perhaps a small storefront off the main drag but all the better for it.

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