Thursday, March 17, 2016

Francoise & Denis Clair Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes-de-Beaune, 2005

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I am a confirmed Europhile. When it comes to Pinot Noir, though, I have recently been more impressed by wines from Northern California--Anderson Valley, Russian River, Sonoma Coast. One reason for my preference is that I have never been willing to spend big money on Red Burgundy. I know: good Northern California Pinot is also expensive, but I have been fortunate to dig out some good values from closeout sales and lesser known wines neglected by auction buyers. Bargains from Burgundy are almost impossible to find.

This Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes-de-Beaune, which sold for about $15 to $20, offers a good example of my experience: it's very good but doesn't quite measure up to Russian River and Anderson Valley wines of about the same age that I have had recently--wines I have obtained for $10 to $15.

The color is beautiful--deep, brilliant crimson with tones of garnet forming at the rim. Fresh, lively aromas of red berries and pomegranate with a hint of cinnamon. Flavors are similar. Good wine, but, for my taste, it lacks the depth and complexity that I found recently in wines from Mary Elke Donnelly Creek (Anderson Valley), Greenwood Ridge (Anderson Valley) and Eric Ross (Russian River). I suspect that some of the difference is related to the clones of Pinot grown in these vineyards as well as the climate and soil. Before I buy, I always check out the experience and philosophy of the winemaker and notes from other drinkers in the community at

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