Calgary Wine Life: A Field Guide to the Wines of Albert Bichot

10 02 2019

By Raymond Lamontagne

Peter has kicked off the 2019 blogging campaign in style, with an intriguing comparison of wine preservation methods that will make a significant contribution to the annals of Pop & Pour science. And me? Well, I’m back doing one of the things I do most frequently on this blog: covering a tasting. This one was a casual drop-in scenario, bypassing the formal sit-down presentation, and on this date that was just fine by me. The frigid weather has left me irascible and more than a little crabby. Fortunately, we’ve got a prescription for those blues… and its not more cowbell. It is glorious, glorious Burgundy.


I’ve mentioned my love affair with Burgundy (and Pinot Noir more generally) enough times on PnP, so I won’t belabour the point here. I had not tried any wines from Albert Bichot before, but I was promptly faced with 15 (!) of them, in a carefully curated sequence of whites and reds, from Chablis to Grand Cru, complete with a bonus round detour into Beaujolais Cru territory. Fifteen! I was titillated and daunted in approximately equal measure. How the hell is a guy supposed to keep these all straight, what with the small pours, limited analysis time, and numerous distractions around the table? I like to meditate on a half-bottle or more, savouring and seeing how the wine develops over time, as one’s palate habituates to the initial impressions. This is another kettle of fish entirely, with a pace more like Whac-A-Mole than a game of chess, although I do have my tricks, particularly a powerful secret weapon: “Beginner’s mind”. This is an application of mindfulness, where one deliberately pays attention to the present moment, concentrating the attention into a laser beam focused only on the wine in the glass, and then seeing what associations are dredged up. With beginner’s mind, you explicitly adopt a form of make-believe in which you imagine that the liquid in the glass is foreign, entirely novel, never before encountered, and see what this clean slate provides. Might sound hokey, but give it a try during a tasting. It’s like a palate cleanser for the brain. All this aside, I will not take much credit for the fact that I WAS ultimately able to keep all these wines distinct in my mind’s eye. This was more testament to the artistry of the 6th generation producer Domaines Albert Bichot. Read the rest of this entry »

Burgundy: White Tasting, Part III

23 04 2012

When you spend hundreds of dollars over multiple months to build a tasting, you stretch out the write-up as much as possible.  To read the introductory entry in this Chardonnay-fuelled marathon, click here.  To read about the jump from basic Bourgogne Blanc to village-level bottlings, click here.  To read about the exciting ascent into the mystical and expensive world of Premier Cru white Burgundy, well, keep reading.


Time to hit up the big leagues.

Now we officially move from the wines that you might pop open on a Friday or Saturday if you feel deserving after a hard week to the wines that you agonize over opening until just the right spot in their drinking window and just the right occasion because you know your budget won’t easily permit a replacement.  The combined retail cost of the flight of 3 village-level white Burgundies was about $180; the combined retail cost of the 3 Premier Crus below is almost double that, $340.  This is why I didn’t buy any other wine from January until April.  In the third flight of the evening we continued to highlight the top white Burgundy villages of Meursault, Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet, and instead of village bottlings made from grapes that could be sourced from anywhere in the adjoining area, we narrowed our focus and opened a bottle from each sub-region made from grapes grown in a particular highly-regarded Premier Cru vineyard near the village in question.  Every inch of land in Burgundy’s famed Cote d’Or region has been analyzed and classified over centuries, and those areas with the best soils, slopes, exposure to sunlight, drainage and growing conditions were isolated as Premier Cru or Grand Cru.  That’s what we’re getting into:  hundreds of years of liquid history. Read the rest of this entry »

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