Bourgogne Pinot Noir: The perfect food wine
The lighter styles go well with salmon and tuna, most are good with chicken and pork, and the most full-bodied versions go well with red meat, mushroom risotto and firm cheeses
Four to try: virtually all red Burgundy is made from the Pinot Noir grape
There are few things finer than a glass of good red Burgundy, in my world at least. If I look back at my more extravagant wine purchases over the past decade, a large proportion of them have come from the Côte d’Or, a small strip of land that makes the finest Burgundy of all. I haven’t regretted buying a single bottle either.
A tasting of Burgundy at Kelly’s Resort Hotel late last year was a reminder of how domaines such as Jean-Claude Ramonet produce exquisite elegant red wines that will age but can also be enjoyed young. While I am a fan of New World Pinot Noir, I have to admit that there is nothing to compare to the very best red Burgundy.
Those guilty pleasures aside, I have also bought plenty of more affordable Bourgogne Pinot Noir or Bourgogne Rouge. In the distant past, the basic appellation Bourgogne Rouge covered all sorts of sins, and needed to be approached with caution. These days, most have changed their name to Bourgogne Pinot Noir, making us aware that virtually all red Burgundy is made from that grape. The majority of them are far more drinkable too. Sometimes these wines consist of very posh leftovers from the best sites, or more often, vineyards located in less-favoured locations. Either way they can offer good value provided you accept that a price tag of €20-€30 can constitute value for money. Generally, I find small estates offer the finest, but I list two below from negociants, larger producers who buy in grapes from multiple growers.
Coteaux Bourguignons is another newish appellation dating from 2012 when it replaced the strange sounding Bourgogne Grande Ordinaire. It is a catch-all name covering the whole of Burgundy and Beaujolais. The red wines can be made from Pinot Noir, Gamay or a blend of the two.
Generally they are less expensive than Bourgogne Pinot Noir, and can offer charming succulent free-flowing wines at a sensible price. Marks & Spencer have one such wine (100 per cent Gamay) for a mere €12.50. The Coteaux Bourguignons below is a pure Pinot from a well-regarded estate.
Two online companies, Burgundy Direct (see burgundydirect.ie) and SIYPS.com usually have a range of Bourgogne Pinot Noir from impeccable sources. Dunnes Stores has a Bourgogne Pinot Noir for €10, or check out your local wine shop or O’Briens.
Pinot Noir is one of the most flexible food wines of all. The lighter styles go really well with salmon and tuna, most are good with chicken and pork, and the most full-bodied versions go well with two local specialities, beef bourguignon or a juicy big entrecôte as well as game, wild mushrooms, mushroom risotto and firm cheeses.
Bourgogne Pinot Noir Couvent des Jacobins 2017, Louis Jadot
Supple and smooth with plump, broad and slightly earthy dark fruits and a nicely rounded finish. Try this with grilled red meats or bean stews.
Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2017, Domaine Jean-Claude Regnaudot
Delicious fresh vibrant dark cherry fruits, underpinned by good acidity and light tannins. Perfect with all sorts of cold meats or try it with chicken and pork dishes.
Stockists: Le Caveau, Kilkenny, lecaveau.ie; Baggot Street Wines, Dublin 4, baggotstreetwines.com; Clontarf Wines, Dublin 3, clontarfwines.ie; Drinkstore, D7, drinkstore.ie; Fallon & Byrne, Dublin 2, fallonandbyrne.com; Green Man Wines, Dublin 6, greenmanwines.ie; Listons, Dublin 2, listonsfoodstore.ie; Redmonds, Dublin 6 redmonds.ie; Worldwide Wines, Waterford, worldwidewines.ie.
Coteaux Bourguignons 2018, Domaine Michel Noëllat
A very stylish pure Pinot Noir with elegant, fresh dark cherry fruits. My bottle went very well with beef cheeks, but try it with pork or chicken dishes.
Bourgogne Pinot Noir Cuvée St Vincent 2017, Vincent Girardin
A very attractive Pinot Noir with ample smooth dark fruits and a savoury touch on the finish. Try it with duck, steak or mushroom dishes.
Stockists: The Corkscrew, Dublin 2, thecorkscrew.ie.