Or, how I spent my Tuesday.
There was a small gathering at RN74 in Seattle to taste and learn about the wines made by Francois Labet. There was a full range of wines for tasting from the fresh, affable Bourgogne Chardonnay VV to the aristocratic Clos Vougeot Vieilles Vignes.
Lunch began with a selection of French cheese and ended a good while later with espressos and sugar dusted cruller. The meal began with cheese to emphasize that Burgundy’s wines go with food as you like. There may be more “ideal” pairings for wines of a certain weight and character, but you should not feel beholden to the rules just because.
The Chardonnay’s shared a common thread of lightness due to lifted acidity, aromatics, and terroir. The source of the grapes dictated the wines depth, breadth, and complexity. The dry floral notes on the Bourgogne VV hinted at the 2014 Meursault Les Tillets would reveal. This wine had a concentration of flavors: chalk, cold cream meyer lemon with refined light dry tannins (a surprise). It’s weight on the palate and long silken finish showcased its pedigree.
The Pinot Noir’s were equally nuanced. These wines were paired with a caramelized onion and mushroom flatbread as well as duck confit over a lentil salad with shaved fennel. The flavors of the premiere cru wines from the Los du Dessus des Marconnets and the Coucherais showcased lively red fruits (red currant, cranberry) with mineral driven palates, and finely structured tannins.
The stars of the day were the two cuvée from Clos Vougeot. The Cuvée Classique and the Vieilles Vignes were distinct while showing their shared upbringing. The Cuvée Classique, from 65 year old vines, had big, dry fine tannins with flavors of subois, plum, and black currant on the palate. The Vieilles Vines flavors were another level deeper and more rich. This wine in particular represented the pinnacle of what Burgundy Pinot Noir strives to achieve. The wine was rich and supple with spiced tobacco notes, a mineral driven backbone, and flavors of herbs and plum. This is a big, young wine that will benefit from decades in the cellar. It is a fresh, young wine that is only hinting at its potential.
Overall a unique and lovely afternoon spent with charming company.