Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wine Blogging Wednesday #39: 2004 André Bonhomme Viré-Clessé

The Story: What better way to learn about wine than to share experiences of particular category of wines with people from all over the world? Hence commences my first Wine Blogging Wednesday (WBW). WBW is the perfect wine tasting: pick a particular wine theme, let everyone choose a wine(s) that represents the theme, and let everyone, from wine novice to expert, share his or her experience with the wine that was chosen. The only improvement would be if all of the bloggers could taste the wonderful-sounding wines they have chosen for the event. Alas, I will have to wait until Web 3.0 for that enhancement.

For WBW #39, Neil from the excellent Brooklynguy's Wine and Food Blog has chosen the theme "Silver" Burgundy. Neil has suggested that we choose the more affordable affordable Burgundies of Côte Chalonnaise and the Mâconnais.

Taking Neil's suggestion to heart, I ventured out to Moore Brothers and asked the salesclerk to suggest a Mâconnais under $25. As is usually the case at Moore Brothers, the helpful clerk quickly had a suggestion after I gave him my criteria. He selected the 2004 André Bonhomme Viré-Clessé ($23). The helpful clerk told me that without Bonhomme, none of the Mâconnais appellations would exist. Deciding that I could do no better than to choose a Mâconnais from the so-called master of the Mâconnais, I purchased a bottle and returned to my apartment eager to participate in my very first WBW.

The Region: The Mâconnais region is in the southern part of Burgundy, west of the river Soane. This particular wine carries the appellation Viré-Clessé, which is in the northern-most part of the Mâconnais district.

The Grape: Like most white wines from the Mâconnais, this wine is a Chardonnay. As the shop does for all wines it sells, Moore Brothers provided me with a handy tasting note for the wine. From this tasting note, I learned that one third of the cuvee is aged in oak, which sounds good to me because I like buttery Chardonnays that are not too oaky.

The Look: Moderately golden.

The Aroma: I am unable to pinpoint the aroma of this wine. It does have a powerful aroma, but my untrained palate cannot figure out what I smell. If I had to guess, I would say I smell floral (lilies, perhaps) with a hint of lemon.

The Swish: I am disappointed with my first taste. The wine seems extremely thin; I do not taste much going on. Fortunately, as my glass warms up a bit, I begin to enjoy the wine more and more. I am fairly certain that there are floral notes. I taste apples and a splash of lemon, too.

The Verdict: I was thrown off at first by this wine because it is very subtle. As a wine newbie, I think I am turned off by wines that are not "in your face." I need to remember to be patient and learn to enjoy the nuances of wines produced in the Old World styles. I need to remember to keep challenging myself with subtle wines as my wine education continues. I also need to remember that when I want a great Chardonnay, to look for something from André Bonhomme because this wine was terrific.

Thanks for choosing a great WBW theme, Neil!


Brooklynguy said...

hey eddie - thanks so much for participating. i'm glad you enjoyed your foray into the maconnais. moore brothers - i like 'em too, but isn't it just like a wine salesperson to sell you a bottle for 23.99 when you tell them you're looking for something under 25? they didn't have anything for $16? whatever..that's my rant. i like your honest and self effacing approach to your tasting notes - don't invent something if you;re not sure. it's fine to be not sure. but please don;t be too self effacing because there are very few of us bloggers with expertise in wine that comes with anything more than tasting a load of it, and you can do that with time. your palate seems trustworthy to me, for whatever its worth...thanks again for participating

Eddie H. said...

Thanks, Neil! I agree about the whole $25 and under thing with the saleclerk. However, to his credit, I just accepted the first wine he suggested-- I should have picked out a less expensive wine on the rack and asked him how it would compare to the one I bought. Thanks again for your support-- it's nice to hear from someone I see as an "expert" that my palate is trustworthy. And great work with WBW #39!

RougeAndBlanc said...

The fun (and sometimes cruel) thing about wine drinking is that when (and if) you find a cheaper and better wine than the previously tasted, it will be another boatload of joy.

Thanks for sharing and I am glad there is another NYC blogger who find and taste wine from local retailers.

Eddie H. said...

Yup, I agree. And while it's no fun to feel like I could have done better with a less expensive wine, it's a good learning experience to sample wines from different price spectrums. Next week, I'll have to try a Maconnais in the $15 range.

David McDuff said...

Nice write-up, Eddie. I guess Neil will have to deal with some duplicates when he works through the summary, as I wrote up the 2002 version of the same wine, along with the Vieilles Vignes cuvee from the same year.

Eddie H. said...

Thanks, Dave. I just read your tasting note of the 2002-- great writing. I did not post my experience on day 2 of the 2004 Andre Bonhomme Vire Clesse, but I agree that it improved after a day. Thanks again for your comment.