Last week’s Potensac offer confirmed that demand is still strong for the 2005 French reds. Especially the serious, ageworthy wines with reasonable prices. Though we will continue to see the arrival of the ultra-premium wines from this vintage, the values are beginning to move on to new vintages. I’ll feature a few more down the road, but I would predict in a few months we’ll see the end of these supplies. On that note, 2005 red Burgundy value. There is a lot to be said for truth in advertising. When you can look into, smell, taste a glass of Pinot Noir and say, “That’s Pinot Noir.” There are times when this is one of the most satisfying things that can happen in a day. Every thing else was drudge, or worse it was stress, or worse it was downright sad. But a glass of wine says to you, rather gently, “I’m Pinot Noir.” And that loosens you and soothes you. I almost burnt dinner (bachelor chicken) when I ran to the computer to write the above paragraph. And, yes, though I am married, I still make something called ‘bachelor chicken’. And my wife likes it. We had it twice last week. Which was too much. At this point in time I do not feel comfortable going into the ingredients or recipe for bachelor chicken.

In Burgundy, they have a phrase for certain wines: ‘Tres Pinot’. Very Pinot Noir, or as I understand it: the wine is firing on the levels that, for a Burgundian, define Pinot Noir. When a group of people has a saying that comes from over 1000 years of experience, I tend to think that’s a good saying. In contrast, sometimes they gently disparage a wine for being ‘hard to find the Pinot’. If you press them as to what they mean, they’ll generally respond those wines are overwrought in some way. This Manière is far from overworked with oak or extraction, and it is Tres Pinot by the above definition. I think it may be my favorite 2005 Bourgogne we’ve brought in, and the $18.69 price tag by the case is a great price for Pinot Noir from anywhere.

By now, many of you have sampled some of the Bourgogne wines from this vintage and you realize there is a huge range of quality and style. From the vague $12 wines (that we don’t sell) to the deliciously fruited almost Gamay-like wines, to the more serious ones with more serious prices to the deep, dark wines that are so formidable they make you wonder. Bourgogne is such a weird classification, because it mostly means ‘from Burgundy’, and after that those guys can do whatever they want with it. If I had to guess how the creation of this wine went down, I’d say: Richard Manière went to harvest and found his vineyard full of fruit that he was extremely happy with, and probably said something like, “I am extremely happy with this fruit that is going into my Bourgogne.” He realized he could get good color and flavors without too much extraction, so he was careful. Everything went well, and the wine came out clean and delicious. He put some or all of it into barrel (neutral, no new wood) and let it sit until bottling. At many points along the way he tasted it and remarked, “I am very happy with this Bourgogne.” Obviously there were some other steps in there, and I’m making educated guesses, but my point is that this tastes like pure, unadulterated Pinot Noir that the winemaker was very happy with. That’s the kind of Bourgogne we have here.

Those who jumped on our pre-arrival offer of this wine were very wise, in my opinion. For the rest of us (yes, I waited too), we get one last chance. And this is one of our final chances at value-priced red Burgundy from this vintage. We’ll see the 2006 Bourgognes soon, and that’ll be that.

Those who want to know if this is an $18 bottle that you can lay away, ‘yes’ is my answer. It would prefer another year in bottle at least, but it’s not like the Potensac that really doesn’t want to be opened for at least 5. I think an ideal way to drink a case would be to open 2 to 3 bottles a year over the next 4 to 6 years. If you find it hitting a sweet spot, then take advantage, but this has the makings of a wine that will see happy evolution and doesn’t have the overbearing structure to keep you from enjoying it now. I imagine there quite a few people out there looking for something along these lines. – Ben Jordan

Tasting Notes

Strawberries, cream are both valid here, but this doesn’t actually describe the wine as a whole. It smells like strawberry (somewhat, there’s cherry as well) and it has that nice 2005 creamy texture. So I can honestly say that it has both components in the overall profile without tasting like strawberries and cream. As I mentioned above there is a purity to the Pinot Noir here. And there is definite harmony. I can talk about cherries, spice, mushrooms, whatever, but the best tasting note I can give is that this is Tres Pinot.