Scraping the Bottom of the Burgundian Pinot Noir Barrel

Pinot Noir from Burgundy can be a very expensive hobby. Most of the vineyards are small and prices very high. It seems you’ll have to shell out at least $50 minimum to start hitting the quality meter otherwise are you scraping the bottom of the barrel? Generally speaking you’ll do better at lesser price points from Oregon, British Columbia and Ontario.

So let us try a Manoir de Mercurey 2014 Mecurey at $29.95. It’s rated by an LCBO Vintages Panel which is often indicative no high scores exist for the wine that can be reproduced in the LCBO Vintages catalogue.

Medium red cherry in colour. Delightful if not elegant aromas of sweet red cherry with lesser notes of cranberry and raspberry. Very light tannins. Unfortunately, there is very little of interest on the palate. At best some cranberry and sour red cherry. A disappointment considering the inviting nose. To put it bluntly it rather falls on its face. I would advise decanting an hour prior to serving which may serve to reduce the sourness and tarty sensation on the palate. Great Burgundians are sensual and not sour.

(Manoir de Mercurey, 2014 Appellation Mercurey Contrôlée, Domaine Gérard Berger-Rive 12.5%, 750 mL, $29.95, LCBO # 508002, Square Media Group Rating 83/100).

We move next to a Côtes de Nuits-Villages. Black cherry in colour with aromas of ripe blackberries, black cheery, mocha and beets. Like the wine above the nose certainly creates a WOW factor. Very stern on the palate however but there is some definite cherry and blackberry in a gentle sort of way. It also has some fairly hefty tannins but a short finish.

This is a decent Pinot Noir but I will leave it at that. I would say this needs a couple of years to soften up but given its lack of complexity on the palate I do not think the wait is worth it. Interestingly enough only a Vintages Panel review in the catalogue.

(Côtes de Nuits Villages 2007, Appellation Côtes de Nuits Villages Contrôlée, Maison Roche de Bellene, Beaune, France, 13%, 750 mL, $29.95, LCBO # 487447, Square Media Group Rating 86/100). 

As a last episode in self flagellation we try a rather low life Appellation Bourgogne Contrôlée which means it is from grapes in the Burgundy region not from a village or a  particular prized parcel of land. Sort of a Walmart of Burgundian Pinot Noir.

A rather light black cherry coloured wine. Rather feeble aroma of blackberry, raspberry and cherry. On the palate a Tiny Tim of tannins. Absolutely no complexity on the palate. Almost as if it has no face even to fall on. Most Canadian Pinot Noirs can kick ass this whimp of a French wine. Why oh why would the LCBO purchase such a wine?

(Bourgogne Maison Dieu Pinot Noir Vielles Vignes 2015, Appellation Bourgogne Contrôlée.  Maison Roche de Bellene, Beaune, France, 13%, 750 mL, $26.00, LCBO # 487447, Square Media Group Rating 72/100). 

A bit of advice you’ll do much better with Pinot Noirs from Meyer Family Vineyards in British Columbia.


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About the Author

Robert Stephen (CSW)
Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he loves The Square. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write." Email Robert Stephen

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