100% Pinot Noir
- When is a French Pinot not a French Pinot? When it’s the Vincent Girardin “Emotion,” of course!
I consider a wine like this a timid step forward for those looking to ever-so-slowly “get their wine-drinking into France,” when they used to drinking mainly Cali Pinot.
The problem I have found is that when people start out their wine drinking lives by starting with New World Pinot Noir and then try to back into the Old World, their main criticism always seems to be that the wines are “weak” and “watery.” This used to really bother me! I would always try to explain about “subtlety,” “femininity,” “restraint,” “savory elements” and “elegance” which is to be found in a large proportion (but not all) of the wines of Oregon and Burgundy.
This in contrast to what seems to be “the norm” coming out of California in the sub-$25 Pinot category, with descriptors such as: “intense,” “heavy on the oak and alcohol,” “off-balanced,” “Mega Purple” and “that feeling you get when you’re being punched in the face by an angry red cherry and then kicked on the ground by a pissed-off strawberry.”
Converting Pinot drinkers doesn’t bother me anymore. I help where I can, but it’s not a paid gig, and don’t consider myself the Mother Teresa of Old World wine. I would rather have people find out for themselves, and if they don’t “get it”…..well….then there’s more for the rest of us.
- The Girardin family has been making wine as far back as the 17th century, which makes Vincent Girardin an 11th generation winemaker. France is deemed an “Old World” winemaking country for a reason!
- Needless to say, ol’ Vincent Girardin has a decent amount of pressure to continue the family legacy and keep producing world class wine! Vincent only actually owns 20 hectares of vineyard space (spread throughout 8 villages in the Southern Cotes de Beaune), with the rest of his grape supply coming from is known as a “fermage” (essentially a minimum 9 year land lease). Because so many of the land rights have been passed down through the generations, this “rent a vineyard” concept is prevalent throughout a great number of French wine regions.
- Vincent Girardin is easily one of the most respected winemakers in Burgundy, with his wines being widely distributed throughout the world….and it’s for this reason that it shocks me that they only offer their website in French, with no available English translation! Google Translate won’t even work on the site, since the whole thing has been built in Flash. And the French wonder why they have a such a hard time selling their wines overseas!!! It comes to something when I can’t go to a winery’s own website to find out the nitty-gritty on their wine!
- Located in the Meursault appellation of Burgundy, France, the Vincent Girardin Estate makes a fairly even split of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, even though Meursault itself is more well-known for its whites.
The Vincent Girardin Estate isn’t certified as a organic/biodynamic winery, but they follow most of its principles. The winery uses zero insecticides or herbicides and all of the compost used in the winery is specially created by a nearby biodynamic farm.
- Meursault contains no Grand Crus, but it can be argued that a great number of it’s Premier Crus (the second tier on the highly flawed French classification system) are more than capable of giving the “big boys” a run for their money.
- All the grape harvest at the Vincent Girardin Estate is done by hand. Vinny also demands that any fruit he purchases from other vineyards is also hand harvested.
- It is thought that when the Romans conquered Gaul around 51 BC, they most likely found the Celts inhabiting what is now known as Burgundy and already growing wine grapes.
Subtle and restrained; but as I said at the beginning of this post, this wine skews more towards the fruit than it does the savory elements (i.e. in the same way that is to be expected from a Californian Pinot). Not that this is Old World dressed up in New World clothing…
The red and black cherry should come as no surprise, with stewed strawberry and raspberry as secondary flavors. Oak is evident but not overwhelming. I also get coffee, licorice, dried herbs, earth, with even a little cola in there. Fairly smooth on the finish and certainly something I would have no hesitation in drinking again…but maybe if I’m taking it to someone else’s house in a bid to subtlety convert them to the Old World.
The obvious pairing would be to go with French cuisine, i.e. pate, duck, game, or charcuterie etc. Also give thought to dishes with complimentary ingredients such as red fruit reductions, mushrooms, truffles, rosemary, thyme, oregano, cloves, allspice and nutmeg.