Thursday, February 7, 2013

WSET III Class Week 3: Burgundy and Alsace

I'm currently enrolled in the WSET Level III certification right now, and thought it would be cool to show everyone some of the things that we are getting to taste. 

The tasting is actually the more difficult part of this class; while I'm taking in so much information I fear my head will explode, it is all pretty straightforward.  Tasting and evaluating on the other hand, is extremely subjective.  I think I have a pretty good palate, but sometimes trying to identify a scent or flavor, to actually attach a name to a sensation you are experiencing can be a bit difficult.   For the exam I'll have to do this blind, right now I at least get the mental assistance of seeing the bottle. 

The whites, from left to right:  2001 1er Cru Chassagne-Montrachet "La Maltroie,"  2010 Hugel Riesling,  2009 Leflaive Chablis "Les Deux Rives,"  2007 Jadot Meursault,  2008 Dom Wienbach Gewurtztraminer, 2002 Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Vendange Tardive "Clos Windsbuhl."

I'll spare you the tasting notes, but the standouts were the obvious ones: the aged Chassagne-Montrachet, the aged Pinot Gris and the Dom Weinbach.   What surprised me the most about the Chassagne-Montrachet was how different the nose and the palate were.  And if it were in a blind lineup with a Tokaj, and a Sauternes, I would have a really difficult time differentiating the V.T. Pinot Gris from either of the other classic dessert wines.  And I don't know what the Domaine Weinbach goes for, but that was something that has gone on my "must purchase" list, and will definitely go in my cart if I ever should be so lucky as to find it in a shop.

This is a shot of the wines lined up in the glass.  Notice the dark coloration of the mature Pinot Gris all the way at the end, and how much paler the Chassagne-Montrachet at the beginning is, despite having a year more age.   And that's its beat up cork, showing far greater wear than one might expect from one that's only 12 years old.

The reds:  A 2010 Clos de la Roilette Cru Beaujolais from Fleurie, a 2007 Jadot from Nuits St. Georges, and a 2009 Leflaive "Cuvee Margot" Bourgogne Rouge.  Again, I'll spare you the tasting notes, but I have to say that the Cru Beaujolais wines are continuing to grow on me.  I also have to add that neither of the Pinot Noirs really blew me away.  I don't know if my palate is coming to prefer heavier, denser wines, if my love affair with Burgundy is cooling, or if these wines just needed a little more time to develop in my glass and that a three-sip tasting just doesn't do them justice. 

Now for the big shout-out:
We are extremely fortunate to have a true wine afficionado and collector in our class.  Without Jim we would not get to experience some of the older selections he has been kind enough to share from his cellar.  These are the two that he brought in this week, the 2001 Chassagne-Montrachet and the 2002 Zind Humbrecht Vendange Tardive Pinot Gris "Clos Windsbuhl."

Jim also has the coolest corkscrew I have ever seen, a combination worm and osso, that pulls the crumbling corks from old bottles with ease and confidence.   Thanks again Jim, and my sincerest gratitude for your generosity in sharing these delights with us.   Without you this class would not have the opportunity to taste such gems, and gain an appreciation of how things mature and change in the bottle over time.  To you, Sir, we raise our goblets (or ISO tasting glasses)!

No comments:

Post a Comment