After a seven-hour flight, which was delayed almost two hours, and a drive almost as long, I reached the tiny Mâcon hamlet of Colonge. I had been invited for dinner by Martine Saunier, a Burgundy importer from California. Her brother Jacques has just converted the attic of the family home, originally built in 1657, into four guest rooms. The Gentilhommière de Collonges has all the modern amenities in a traditional, charming setting.
Martine had promised a good bottle of Burgundy to get over the jet lag. We relaxed in the garden with a glass of Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Bougros 1998. It was showing well, a combination of mineral and honey, well-balanced with a tangy finish.
We washed down some nicely gamy squab Jacques had secured from a local farmer with a bottle of Domaine Leroy Vosne-Romanée Les Genevrières 1990. It was a delicious accompaniment to the bird, with smoke, black pepper and cassis pastille flavors on an elegant, vibrant frame.
After a good night’s sleep, I awakened to a chorus of frogs from the pond in the park that surrounds the house. I took a walk through some nearby vineyards (the appellations here are St.-Véran, Mâcon-Prissé and Mâcon-Villages). The vines there, as in much of the rest of Burgundy, are about three weeks in advance in the growing season. It looks like another August harvest now, but there are still two months to go and a lot can change.
Martine had invited two of her growers to join us for a Sunday lunch. Jean Thevenet from Clessé in the Mâconnais and Nicolas Rossignol of Volnay brought along a few wines to enjoy. A dish of sautéed chanterelles offered a subtle background for Thevenet‘s Viré-Clessé Quintaine Domaine de la Bongran Cuvée Tradition 2003, a rich wine with plenty of honey tones, but good freshness too. The 1997, under the Mâcon-Clessé appellation, was ripe and full-bodied, with honey and acacia blossom flavors.
A pair from Rossignol, the Volnay Chevret 2005 and Volnay Santenots 2002 showcased the two terroirs beautifully. The Chevret was forward and bursting with bright ’05 fruit and a silky texture. The Santenots was more animal and muscular, with great detail.
With rabbit in a red wine sauce, Martine opened a pair from Leroy. The Corton Renardes 1964, from purchased grapes, was bottled under the Maison Leroy label. Rich and powerful, it had animal, spice and autumn leaves aromas backed by sweet fruit. Terrific length and harmony on the finish. The Romanée-St.-Vivant 1991 was still young, yet sported extraordinary aromas of faded rose, cinnamon and sandalwood and a concentrated red currant note.
We finished with two of Thevenet’s botrytis cuvées: the Mâcon-Villages 2000 featured lanolin and honey aromas, a lush texture and butter and cream on the finish. The Mâcon-Clessé 1994, still fresh, showed more caramelization, with honey and spice notes.
All in all, a good start to my trip.
Brian Orcutt — New York, NY — June 11, 2007 12:37pm ET
Bruce Sanderson — New York — June 12, 2007 6:01pm ET
Alex Bernardo — Millbrae, CA — June 12, 2007 6:29pm ET
Brian Orcutt — New York, NY — June 13, 2007 1:30pm ET
Bruce Sanderson — New York — June 14, 2007 2:02am ET
Nik Rasula — Calgary, Alberta — June 14, 2007 8:00pm ET
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions