Navigating through the Cote d’Or can make for a confounding journey with its perplexing number of appellations, vineyards, and owners down to individual rows. Our goal this night was to steer clear of the dead ends and cold paths to find the magic that comes out of Burgundy. Leading the way was our own Chevalier Al Harmann, who has long studied the eccentricities of the region and is familiar with the high and low points. The rendevous was at Bella, a trendy operation across from the renowned architecture of the new Contemporary Art Center. We awakened our palates with assorted hors d’oeuvres and a classically crisp Boudin Chablis 2002 as the group came together. Then it was on to the wines!
We sat down to six very special glasses for study and assessment. Our leader had an array that started from the southernmost vineyard in Givry and proceeded on through Volnay, Nuits St. Georges, Vosne-Romanee and Corton to finally arrive at the famed Echezeaux vineyard. Every glass had different qualities to be coaxed out with thought and time in the stemware. Mysteries were revealed as aromas and flavors changed with exposure and we had the chance to return after trying another wine for comparison.
Slowly yet surely, some conundrums unraveled as each wine had its adherents. The Givry and Nuits St. Georges may have had more simplicity than the others while the Vosne-Romanee certainly was the most controversial with continual changes to encourage further exploration. The Volnay hit all the right notes with fragrant perfume and rich fruit body with splendid concentration, but the Grand Cru appellations of Corton Renardes and Echezeaux found their way to be most favored by the majority of the group. The Echezeaux had spicy bright fruit aromas exploding from the glass. With layers of flavors and structured tannins underneath, this wine showed that it could live a long time if one could keep the cork in the bottle!
After this gallant effort a small reward was called for with a nice meal from Chef Allen Stickell and the staff at Bella. A filling pasta farfalle sated us with a finish of Bella’s signature tiramisu dessert. Congratulations to our Chevalier Al Harmann hosting such a successful evening. Vive l’Ordre!
J.T. Mayer, Vice Chargé de Presse