Events — 21 May 2013
Burgundy Wine Week 2013 Kicks Off With Grand Tasting at Orsay

Blog: Burgundy Wine Tasting 2013

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With more than thirty different wines from the region, the 2013 Burgundy Wine Week kicked off in style on Monday evening in one of the Upper East Side’s most esteemed restaurants. The banquet room, sitting on classic French brasserie Orsay’s second floor, would play as the tightly packed host for the special evening, attended by roughly 100 guests. With the dulcet tones of live guitar and percussion playing in the background and a handful of the restaurant’s delectable passed around food samples, the setting was ideal to experience some of the finest distributors and winemakers from the Burgundy region.

The area of Eastern France is home to different varietals like Rose, Chablis, and Chardonnay- but Pinot Noir grapes, which contribute to the production of dry red Burgundy wine, are the region’s most notable. Home to some of the most expensive wines in the entire world, the Grand Opening Tasting would be an interactive and informative two hour session that would give a great deal of background on the wines of Burgundy and allow us to make tasting distinctions between the region’s appellations. Admittedly upon our arrival, the confines of the space appeared to be a bit daunting with a collection of guests sipping on wines and casually chatting in the center of the room. But as we began to taste around the room, our misconceptions were put to rest as we were never forced to wait more than a few seconds for the wine representatives to acknowledge our empty glasses.

With two full hours on our hands, we were fortunate enough to taste just about every wine that the Grand Tasting had to offer. Beginning with sparkling wines, we sipped on favorites like the “Sparkling Brut Rose” and the “Ruby Sparkling Brut Rose” from Paul de Coste and the “Cuvee Marie Ambal” from Veuve Ambal- each of which was crisp and refreshing and proved to be an ideal respite as temperatures inside the room began to rise. As we moved onto the white wine selections, we stumbled upon what would be our hands-down favorite of the Grand Tasting- the Saint Lion “Bourgogne Aligote,” a deliciously tasteful warm weather wine with bountiful notes of melon and citrus. The smooth, clean finish leaves a nutty, lingering aftertaste that simply yearns for a repeat pour. And repeat we did- several times. Perhaps best of all was the affordable $15 per bottle price, which all things considered, is a veritable steal for such a tasty wine varietal.

While most of the wines being poured were relatively reasonable and ranged from $15 to $25, we did manage to taste some delicious, super- premium wines priced in the $105-$160 range. The complex and soft 2005 Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru “Les Cazetiers” ($95) and the utterly outstanding fruit flavors comprising the 2006 “Clos De Vougeot,” were each standouts as tannin heavy, bold reds. But our dedication to our wallets always comes into play when considering wines and we found true value in the $19 “Moulin A Vent 2009,” a wonderfully violet colored rich red wine, that couples floral aromas with just enough of a kick of spice that suits it for ideal pairings with hearty and flavorful meat dishes. Candidly though, we found it outstanding to simply drink on its own.

Although the 2013 Grand Tasting may have concluded, Burgundy Wine Week is just getting started. We gained a certain appreciation for the truly unique and distinguishing characteristics offered by the region’s many wines- most of which we had never tasted before. As the week progresses, tastings will be held at dozens of local restaurants and wine stores in and around Manhattan. And if Monday night’s event was any indication of what to expect all week long, there are going to be a lot of long New York City nights that end with purple stains on the corners of our lips.

- Jane Van Arsdale

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