Tasting Wine: Can’t attend the S.F. tasting? Try these overlooked Burgundies

Today in San Francisco there is going to be a tasting, called La Paulée de San Francisco, of some of the best wines made in Burgundy. It costs $300 to attend during the day, $1,500 for the dinner. That’s right, per person, not per family, in case you are thinking about skipping the soccer game and bringing Junior and the rest of the clan on a little wine adventure. Even if the price is not daunting, the event is sold out, so never mind.

I went to one of these about seven years ago when someone gave me a ticket, and I really did enjoy tasting many of the wines.

The problem with tasting in this context is that it is very crowded and rushed, so it can be difficult to truly get a sense of the wines.

On the other hand, it presents a great opportunity to taste a lot of amazing wines without having to buy them all, a more expensive proposition than $300 or even $1,500.

Some of you who are reading this might be going to the event, but for the vast majority who are not, you can take this opportunity to create your own “La Paulette,” a mini version of some really good Burgundies.

These wines are not necessarily the wines everyone is talking about, but are some of the sleepers to be found from the region.

Domaine des Malandes Chablis, 2006

I spent a little bit of time with Lynn Marchive, the owner of this domaine, last month. Had I not been enthralled with her wines, I probably would not have gotten to know her, as it can be a bit awkward to insist someone comes into your restaurant for dinner and then not purchase their wine. While all of the Malandes wines, which run the range from petite chablis to grand cru, are excellent, the village-level chablis is an amazing deal. It has brilliant acidity, flintiness, nuts, and traces of honey and caramel. Suggested retail: $25

Domaine Parent Beaune Premier Cru Les Epenottes, 2005

When I hear “Les Epenottes,” I automatically think of Pommard, where it is one of the most prized sites, but it actually reaches into Beaune as well. Anne Parent is the owner and winemaker here, and from what I hear from my trusted Burgundy source, she is making some of the best wines in the region. I tasted a dozen of her wines the same time I met with Lynn Marchive and was equally impressed. Although this wine is relatively young, it is pretty approachable now, with spicy, tobacco-laden brandied-cherry fruit, yet it will age for a good decade or more. Suggested retail: $55

Domaine Henri Delagrange et Fils Bourgogne Haut Côtes de Beaune, 2006

Didier Delagrange took over running his family’s domaine in 2003 after working with father, Henri, for 13 years. The Haut Côtes de Beaune is made from three appellations, Ladoix, Maranges and Beaune, and it blends characteristics from all three. Light-bodied with floral, minerally cherry, cinnamon and clove aromas, and sublime red fruits with bright acidity on the palate, it is a delight to drink. Suggested retail: $23

Pamela S. Busch is the wine director and proprietor of CAV Wine Bar & Kitchen in San Francisco.

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