Wine and cheese from Burgundy, France

Wine and cheese from Burgundy, France

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By Bob Lipinski

Burgundy, a historic wine-producing region of France, is located in the central eastern part of the country just southeast of Paris. Burgundy is one of France’s six major wine-producing regions, making red and white dry wines, along with dry sparkling wines. Most red wines are produced from pinot noir grapes and most white wines are produced from chardonnay grapes. Approximately 80 percent of wine produced there is red.

Burgundy has a lengthy wine-making history that dates back nearly 2000 years. Some of the world’s most famous wine villages and vineyards are located in Burgundy, and many can trace their origins back to the Christian monks of the Middle Ages. One district of great importance is the Côte d’Or or the “golden slope” of Burgundy. It is divided into two sectors: the Côte de Nuits (north) and the Côte de Beaune (south).

I recently had the opportunity to taste the wines of Domaine Faiveley located in the Côte de Nuits, which was founded in 1825 by Pierre Faiveley. The winery owns approximately 330 acres of vineyards and produces nearly 50, dry red and white wines. My tasting notes follow:

“The first duty of wine is to be red. The second is to be a Burgundy.” — Alec Waugh, 1898–1981, British novelist, “In Praise of Wine,” 1959

2013 Bourgogne Blanc: Clean, crisp bouquet of pineapple and citrus. Overtones of almonds and green apple in the mouth.

2013 Gevrey-Chambertin: Deep cherry-colored with a full, rich bouquet and flavor of black cherry, black currant and spices; powerful and structured with a firm tannic backbone and ever-present earthy notes.

2013 Mercurey Blanc: Light yellow in color with a bouquet and taste of citrus, apples and butter. A sort of minerally flavor is present with a great finish and lingering aftertaste.

2013 Meursault “1er Cru Blagny”: Light lemon color with a fresh bouquet of grass, almonds, lemons and green apples. Light-bodied with a pleasing flavor of pineapple, lime and pear.

2013 Nuits-Saint-Georges “1er Cru Aux Chaignots”: Ruby-colored with a bouquet of blackberry, blueberry, violets and cedar. Dry, medium-bodied with plenty of fruit, hints of black pepper and oak.

Burgundy also produces some fine cheeses, most of which are considered farmhouse with strong, rustic aromas and flavors. Recommendations are:

Aisy Cendré: A thin disk-shaped cow’s milk cheese with a creamy white interior and soft texture. It is very strong smelling with a tangy flavor. The cheese is cured with marc and then stored in grapevine ashes (or cendré) until it matures.

Bleu de Bresse: A cow’s milk cheese with a dusty, white exterior, sometimes foil wrapped. Small wheels or cylinders with a velvety and creamy texture. In 1950, Bleu de Bresse was developed to compete with the Italian gorgonzola.

Bouton-de-Culotte: A goat’s milk cheese from the Mâcon area. It is made into shapes resembling “trouser buttons,” which is soft when young but becomes dry and crumbly with age. It has a grayish-brown exterior with blue specks and a pale yellow interior, with a strong peppery and nutty flavor.

Époisses de Bourgogne: A cow’s milk cheese with an orange-brown, edible rind (which is washed in white wine or marc); pale yellow interior; disk-shaped. It has a strong, spicy, pungent, tangy flavor, sometimes flavored with black pepper, cloves or fennel. When aged, hints of ammonia arise. The cheese has been made in the small town of Époisses since the late 1700s.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written nine books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine & cheese; sales, time management and leadership. He can be reached at boblipinski.com or boblipinski2009@hotmail.com.

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