Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard, Bourgogne Rouge 2009
Available at Wine Geeks Armonk
Approximate retail cost: $27
French Wines: Bourgogne a Ses Charmes!
There are days when a simple Bourgogne rouge strikes me as too rustic, and, heureusement, there are French wines such as the Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard, Bourgogne Rouge 2009 to remind us that even in the entry-level Bourgogne category, there are diamonds in the rough. The Bourgogne appellation allows blending from 1 to 300 communes in Burgundy. Since the grapes are often sourced from such disparate sites, they rarely express the characteristics of a specific site, such as Nuits-St.-Georges or Pommard. Fontaine-Gagnard draws from only two well-regarded sites (75 percent from Volnay and 25 percent from Chassagne) and exceeds expectations by delivering a wine that has charm as well as structure. I’ve had numerous premiers crus with less overall appeal.
The 2009 vintage itself was bliss to the vignerons throughout Burgundy after the trials of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 vintages. In 2009 there was barely any rot to speak of, therefore chemical treatments were minimal, and since hail only affected a handful of vineyards, there was no real threat there either. While 2009 may prove to be a splendid vintage, it offers the extra benefit of being accessible early on, so that one doesn’t have to wait for several years of bottle age in order to enjoy the wine. This is where the pretty and accessible Bourgogne rouge, in a good vintage, has a natural edge over the pricier premiers and grand crus.
The Fontaine-Gagnard is generous with its fraise du bois, sagebrush and lovely crushed-clove spice elements. It is medium bodied, with an elegant and refined texture. Knowing the producer used older, neutral oak offers clues to this elegance, since older oak gradually imparts more mellow flavors during the barrel aging. This 2009 will open beautifully in your glass and defy your expectations of a simple Bourgogne.
Serve all red Burgundies and pinot noirs in general in balloon glasses, so that they can open up gently and their charms are not missed.
Enjoy with classic pairings such as salmon, duck or pork, and root vegetables and luscious sauces.