Thursday, September 16, 2010

Anatomy of a Tasting

Today R & I did what many tourists and professionals alike do while visiting Burgundy. We went off to taste wine at 11am!

One of our favorite vignobles or wineries is Michel Gros in the small village of Vosne Romanee, not far from Beaune, along the Route des Grands Crus. Sorry this is not a great map. There are 37 villages along this road, and Beaune is here in yellow; I'd have to do a Burgundy 101 post later; this is a lot of explaining. Burgundy wines are complicated to understand, unfortunately.

Outside the domaine, in the drive, you see that people are hard at work; there is an enormous stone bassin to wash your hands and hose down your tractor~
this tractor was in the drive today; it had no cab, but the orange light goes on when it is being driven, and you see the small rear view mirror at top center of the green bar~
Descending into the Cellar, today with Juliette, we were guided through a series of vaulted subterranean rooms lined with wine barrels, full of wine of course~
each barrel contains the equivalent of about 300 750ml bottles~
other years are already in the bottle and just resting, straight ahead are the older years (millesimes) and to the left are the newer years~
when we arrive at the tasting area, the tasting glasses are usually kept in a basket; this is the exact same basket I bought in Pont a Mousson from the motorcycle-driving shallot guy~
Every tasting is different, depending on what is still available for sale and what is grown by the vintner; the wines are organized by the parcel or the area of the parcel; this is my cheat-sheet today, and I make various notes, including what we tasted in which order, how long to cellar it and if I liked it~
the lineup of what to taste today looked like this~
holding the glass by the foot, you can see the color, smell the nose, and then take a little taste of the wine~
if it is too young, or not agreeable, there is a crachoir, which is where you empty your glass. The pros basically don't drink a drop, they just swill it around their mouth then spit into something like this. Frankly, this wine is so expensive and still great tasting even if it's young, I don't do the spit thing...I just don't drink a lot!
the temperature is moderate but not too cold, and the humidity is usually also high, though we didn't quite trust this device....will it rain soon in this cellar?
there are many other bottles around, not labeled; I found this same zinc tags later in the day and will come home with 12 of them~
the humidity keeps other bottles nice and crusty, undisturbed in a perfect climate, at least for wine~
for the wine still in the barrels, they are labeled here in shorthand for the contents, here half Haute Cote de Nuits something and 1/2 half something else, that will be bottled as Burgundy 2009~
more barrels here; they get "tasted" from time to time and with the top off etc there is some spillage, hence the red wash~
each barrel is corked, though with plastic today, not cork~
and finally, we pass by the office, and make our selection; here is our take today, 8 of these bottles are mine, R bought the rest~
This was what I bought today, from this parcel, 2001 Clos de Reas~

after that, we went down the road for an excellent lunch at the Augerge; still not expensive, $15 for the best salad I have had in a long time, with very little dressing like I want it, and two poached eggs (their "Salade Village".) Burgundy has some of the best food!


  1. Sounds like a lovely way to spend a day. That salad looks wonderful!


  2. I wonder if they would be willing to sell that great Clos Des Reas sign and gate. :)

    The salad has my mouth watering.

  3. Wonderful post Andrea, what a treat to see this fabulous Vintner.

    Art by Karena