I’m always on the hunt for interesting wines on restaurant wine lists. A few weekends ago I found the violet- and truffle-scented 2010 Domaine Colinot Irancy Les Mazelots at bistro Laloux in Montreal. This delicious red tasted of fresh cherries and minerals, and though smooth, it had the structure to age.
Laloux’s list was the kind I like to find in restaurants — short and carefully chosen, with off-the-beaten-path selections that are excellent values. Laloux’s reflected the taste preferences of the restaurant’s young, energetic wine director, David Vincent, who persuaded us that this lovely red from Burgundy was versatile enough to accompany both Nova Scotia sea bream with smoked bacon and magret de canard. He was right.
Pinot Noir from the grape’s home, Burgundy, is more popular than ever. Sadly, those from the well-known red appellations have become very expensive, which is one reason to start exploring less-prestigious areas like Irancy.
This village appellation in the far northwest part of Burgundy was created a little over 10 years ago. Only about 10 miles from cool Chablis, Irancy has similar weather, and Kimmeridgian limestone and clay soils loaded with fossilized sea shells, so the wines have a similar taste of minerality.
Surprisingly, this wine isn’t 100% Pinot Noir, as most red Burgundies are. The blend includes a tiny percentage of the rare historic varietal, César, which was first planted here by the Romans in the 2nd century. Irancy is the only village appellation in Burgundy permitted to grow this grape that adds color and structure to the wines.
The small domaine is a family enterprise. Anita and Jean-Pierre Colinot and their daughter Stephanie are descendents of Jacques-Germain Soufflot, the architect who designed the famous Panthéon in Paris. Their 12-plus hectares (or nearly 30 acres) include several of the appellation’s best lieux-dit — these are vineyards known by a traditional name. Les Mazelots is one of them.
There’s just one problem with this wine. It’s hard to find in the United States, though it’s on the list at several famous Michelin-starred restaurants in France. Ask your wine shop if they can get it. If not, Montreal is a great weekend destination. Quebec’s well-stocked SAQ wine shops offer it. And of course, you could head for Laloux — the 2010 Domaine Colinot Irancy Les Mazelots is still on the list.
Photo: 2010 Domaine Colinot Irancy Les Mazelots and Stephanie Colinot. Credit: Courtesy of Domaine Colinot