I just spent an evening in the company of 18 other wine lovers from around Chicago.
We spent an hour and a half on a tour of Burgundy's most famous white wine, Chardonnay. Tasting everything from a Chablis Grand Cru, to a pair of phenomenal Montrachet, we worked our way through a flight of 10 wines, ranging in price from $24.99 to $86.99. There was not a bad wine in the lot, and I must commend our host Bill St. John. Bill did an excellent job of guiding us through the regions of Burgundy, and through the intricacies of each wine.
For those who are unfamiliar with white Burgundy, it is sublime when at its best. Two phenomenal examples tonight included a Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru AOC 2005 Paul Pernot "Les Folatieres", and a Savigny-les-Beaune 2000 AOC Domaine Leroy. Both were light on oak, well rounded, crisply acidic wines that put California Chardonnay to shame. When you hear people's disdain for overoaked Chardonnay, these are the wines that they hold up as shining examples of what the grape can be.
The seminar was $50 and was well worth the price. It was a seated tasting that included water, bread, 2 stems and literature on Burgundy. Also included on that price was the stellar instruction of Bill St. John. I don't know if Bill's expertise lies specifically in Burgundy, but he was well informed, articulate, and entertaining. It is obvious that Bill has been involved in the wine trade for many years, and that he has an intimate understanding of his own palate.
There is an upcoming seminar in the city on Red Burgundy. If you are interested in the region, and need an excuse to jump start your education, or if you just want to try some really good wine, I recommend it highly. If there is a repeat of this seminar in the future, I will be sure to add it to the events calendar, and to mention it here on the blog.
If you are looking to pick up some White Burgundy either of the two I mentioned above would be wonderful (although a bit on the expensive side). If those don't excite you, I'll be rating everything I tasted tonight on Snooth at some point in the near future.