Flowers go with truffle, Rully Village AOC

Rully AOC, Vincent Dureuil-Janthial 2011

Region: Rully, Côte Chalonnaise, Burgundy, France

Grape: 100% Chardonnay

Price: around 25 euros / 35 dollars

rully

I made a first visit to my favorite wine spot in Paris with a few family members for a quiet evening of wine and cheese. We started off with this wine, following the advice of the bar’s owner. It’s from the Cote Chalonnaise, a sub-region of Burgundy between the Cote de Beaune and the Mâconnais. It produces both red and white wines and has five Village-level appellations including Bouzeron, which produces Aligoté and Rully where the wine we had was made. Besides the village level appellation, Rully also has 23 “Premier Cru” climates, mostly in white. As far as the Cote Chalonnaise goes, Rully has a pretty good reputation. The white wines especially are well reviewed and can sometimes be compared to Cote de Beaune products. The village is also known for its 14th century castle that you can visit while going on a wine tasting tour of the region.

Château_de_Rully_(71)_-_1

Eye: medium lemon, light green hints

Nose: Clean, medium intensity. Lemon and honeysuckle, lots of other flowers I can’t identify

Palate: dry, medium acidity, medium plus body, medium alcohol, medium finish.

Lemon notes hit first before moving on to lots of floral aromas. I can detect honeysuckle but there are a lot of other white flowers and plants in the mix. It’s actually pretty standard for Rully wines that usually give out a lot of “fleurs de haie” (hedge flowers) notes. I’m terrible with flowers because first I can’t recognize a lot of them, and second, I only know the French word. Tipical “fleurs de haie” for Rully would be aubépine (hawthorn) or acacia.

The wine feels very round without being “fat” like some Cote de Beaune wines, it’s a very smooth, well-made product with a body on the fuller side of medium and a decent finish.

Food pairings: Great wine for light dinner fare like cheese and cold cut plates. We had it with a plate of cheese and some truffle ham. The truffle ham was to die for.

Overall opinion: Great wine, good ambassador to another supposedly lesser part of Burgundy, a more floral style that’s an interesting change of pace. Definitely a good quality product for a Village level wine. This particular producer has an excellent reputation and produces a couple premier crus in Rully and other Cote Chalonnaise AOCs, I’ll try to find some because if they are step up from his Village wine then they will definitely be enjoyable.

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Burgundy : it’s the terroir, stupid !

I’ve written a bit about Burgundy history and how it relates to wine production in the region. Let’s move on to the lay of the land. Burgundy is located in north-eastern France, the map below shows the administrative Burgundy region within France.

Modern region of Burgundy

Modern region of Burgundy

Actual wine country within Burgundy is obviously smaller than that and can be divided in five separate regions:

– Chablis, northernmost and to the west

– The Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune form a narrow strip of land, 40km long and between half a km and 2km wide, that runs north to south on east-facing slopes. Together those two regions form the Cote d’Or (Golden slope or Golden Hill). This is the heart of the Burgundy wine country.

– The Côte Chalonnaise is further south

– The Mâconnais is south of the Côte Chalonnaise, at the border with the Beaujolais region.

wine-map-burgundy

As I mentioned when writing about the big monasteries and the classification work their monks did of the various vineyards of the region, one of Burgundy’s main characteristic is the high number of terroirs. Around 1300 different terroirs are actually cataloged and recognized in Burgundy. A terroir is a specific tract of land whose characteristics makes it, and the wine produced from it, distinct from any other. Those characteristics are a combination of soil composition, climate, drainage, elevation, sun exposure,…

Logically if Burgundy can have more than a thousand terroirs it must mean that all those factors can significantly vary on their own. Well, for once logic is respected; there are around 400 types of soils in Burgundy, depending on the relative amounts of limestone, clay, sand and gravel for each parcel. The fact that vines grow on slopes also adds to the diversity because drainage and sun exposure will vary depending with the elevation.

Burgundian wine-makers are extremely attached to this notion of terroir, a good illustration can be found in the way wine is sold. In Bordeaux, the wine will be named after the producer with the “Chateau” as a brand name whereas in Burgundy, wines are named after the location of the vines used to make the wine. Burgundy wines thus carry the name of the village, the region, or sometimes the individual tract of land from where they come from. The producer’s name is usually on the back of the bottle, not on the front label.

Bouvier Marsannay Le Clos

The climate in Burgundy is continental with a healthy dose of unpredictable: cold winters, hot summers, rain, hail, frost and high variance from a year to another. I would personally go as far as calling the weather miserable since Burgundy created the concept of frozen mud that makes winter there such a delight. More importantly from a wine production perspective, it’s the unpredictability and high variance potential of the weather that’s important because it means that wines from the region can vary considerably from vintage to vintage.

Once again, I’m long winded, I get carried away and I write too much, here’s what’s important

–          Burgundy wines are rooted in their specific and varied terroirs

–          Irregular weather make them vintage dependent