Burgundy Wine Tasting 2004

Mistral was the hosting restaurant for the 2004 "Exceptional Burgundy Experience", located in Boston, Massachusetts. The speakers were Bertrand Devillard, owner of Domaine des Perdrix, and Antoine Vincent, the winemaker at Chateau de Fuisse. Mistral has an unassuming entrance on the street, and can easily be missed if you aren't looking for it. Entering, you realize what a gem was hidden behind that doorway. The restaurant is a comfortable blend of elegance and rustic decor, with twig-made seats at the bar and linen tableclothes in the dining room.

Antoine and Bertrand

We began with a Cremant de Bourgogne by Louis Boillot, a brut grand reserve sparkling wine. It was light and creamy, delicate flavors with a slightly nutty finish. A perfect start to the afternoon.

Burgundy, France has been long considered the creator of the finest wines in the world. The reds are made with the Pinot Noir grape, while whites are made with Chardonnay. The soil in this region has a seashell base, which gives the pinot noir a distinctive flavor. The climate can be rough, so only the finest winemakers can struggle through the difficulties to make this sensitive grape ripen properly and to craft the grapes into a fantastic wine. Centuries of trial and error have helped winemakers develop the exact techniques needed for the combination of grape and location.

Burgundy is learning tricks from the new world wineries, though. It is only recently that they have begun taking off leaves early - as Bertrand pointed out, "in Burgundy, we're not used to doing that." August is often a very wet month, which can harm the quality of the grapes. They were lucky in 2004 that the vintage was salvaged by 6 weeks of nice weather before harvest.

Burgundy is now exporting over 50% of its output to non-French locations, which is a new record. Part of what is fuelling this growth is the pair of exceptional vintages in recent times. Bertrand explained that in his 37 years of experience, this had never happened. Part of the success is due to the new techniques the Burgundian winemakers are taking on. He talked about how the best wines would come from those who worked with their grapes properly - "Those who sorted out grapes which were not totally mature; those who waited for maturity and sorted out by quality will have fabulous wines."

Antoine spoke about the whites created in Burgundy, which are always created from the Chardonnay grape. He said that 2003 was an exceptional vintage for whites, that nobody had seen such a fine crop of fruit. "Concentration is one thing," he explained, "but the balance is the elegance. The balance between the concentration and the acidity. The ripeness was there - we had to focus on the levels of acidity". He then talked about how 2004 was a great vintage as well, with nice acidity that let the natural terroir of the grapes shine through.

Bertrand had brought a sample of the 2003 Musigny grand cru Burgundy, due to be bottled in 2-3 months. This was of course lovely, with a medium rose-purple color, a bright cherry flavor and smooth, medium tannins. The finish was long and lingering.

Now, on to the main tasting!

Set 1 - Chablis
Set 2 - Pommard, Beaune
Set 3 - Four More

Learn More about Burgundy
Learn More about Pinot Noir

Master Wine Event Listing

All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.