I’m a huge Burgundy fan, so I’m always looking for delicious wines from this fashionable region of France that have reasonable price tags. The lacy, perfumed 2010 Côte de Beaune Villages from boutique négociant Maison Camille Giroud, which tastes of red berries and exudes elegance, is one I’ve sampled recently that definitely fits the description.
Elin McCoy's Wine of the Week
2010 Camille Giroud Côte de Beaune-Villages
Region: Burgundy, France
Grape: 100% Pinot Noir
Serve with: Grilled salmon with new potatoes, tuna steaks with mild red fruit salsa
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The wine was on the list at Le Filet, a trendy Montreal restaurant with outdoor tables that specializes in fish dishes cooked with Japanese flair. The menu is all small plates, and this light, savory Côte de Beaune-Villages went with just about everything we ordered except the briny raw oysters from Prince Edward Island — proving once again the food-friendliness of wines made from Pinot Noir grapes.
Maison Camille Giroud has a long history, dating to 1865. But the Giroud family decided to sell in 2002 to a group of Americans led by Ann Colgin and Joe Wender, who preside over Napa Valley’s cult Cabernet label Colgin Cellars. They brought in the indefatigable Becky Wasserman-Hone to help revamp and modernize the cellar. (An American, Wasserman-Hone settled in Burgundy in 1968 and now runs her export firm Le Serbet, which represents more than 100 French wineries.) They hired brilliant young Burgundian winemaker David Croix to oversee the wines. Even entry-level bottles, such as this Côte de Beaune-Villages, are superb.
Allure of Burgundy
The in-demand Burgundies that command the highest prices are the region’s premiers and grands crus from the famous Côte d’Or, a narrow, 35-kilometer-long (21.7-mile-long) limestone escarpment that contains some of the most expensive vineyard land on earth. It’s divided into two parts: the northern Côte de Nuits and the southern Côte de Beaune, the source of my pick this week. Reds from the Côte de Beaune-Villages appellation are a step up from those labeled simply Bourgogne rouge, and must use only grapes that come from one or more of 16 villages in the southern part of the Côte d’Or.
The 2010 vintage produced wonderfully silky reds despite the year’s sometimes difficult growing conditions, which included a poor flowering at the beginning of the season, a cool August and hail and thunderstorms in September. Unfortunately, yields were lower than usual, which means there’s less wine from this vintage to go around.
Croix, now also the managing director of Maison Camille Giroud, has never been a fan of new oak and this wine reflects his emphasis on fresh, bright seductive fruit. No, it’s not super cheap. But this 2010 Camille Giroud Côte de Beaune-Villages shows that Burgundies, even at the bargain level, are better than ever.
Top composite photo: 2010 Camille Giroud Cote de Beaune-Villages label and winemaker David Croix. Credit: Michel Joly