Steamboat Wine Festival Sipping Sotheby’s Style – Bordeaux vs Burgundy

Sotheby’s brought their world-class status to Steamboat Springs and entertained the lovers of the vine with a thing or two about Bordeaux and Burgundy. The gathering was held at Saddles where once again the food did not disappoint and the views are stunning. The hosts from Sotheby’s were Eli Rodriguez from New York and Mike Hoagland from California. Yes, it was an East Coast vs West Coast kind of deal which is kind of funny considering the East Bank vs West Bank of our wine tastings.

What do you think of when you think of Burgundy? Are you thinking it is a really pretty color? If yes, you might be on the wrong blog. burgundy colors
Rather, it is a region in France and it is known for producing really great Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines.  Now, California and Oregon create some very appealing Pinot Noirs, but this lighter red wine is elevated to a higher level when you drink one from this colorful region. The Pinot Noir grape is the only red varietal grown in the Burgundy region. See map below to acquaint yourself with the region.

Driving this point home was theburgundy_map spectacular sampling of Hudelot-Noellot Nuits St. Georges “Les Mergers” ler Cru 2010 (shown above left).  Using Sotheby’s description, “An outstanding vintage, this is a wonderful example of  the extraordinary quality of fruit in 2010. An enticing, mouth-watering nose gives way to mildly spicy, concentrated, earthy flavors in the mouth.  Juicy and delicious Pinot Noir.” I not only quote them because they are spot on, but because when you are sampling a bottle that is selling for a little over $100 you want to be exact. To learn more about Pinot Noir, check out the following link from Your Wine IQ, here.

Now, what do you think of when you hear Bordeaux? You would be on the right blog if you think a deeper red wine and associate the region of France with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and even Malbec. Now, this is my blog and I would think of the same things but I also think of my red husky aptly named Bordeaux.

So, making sure I give the proper respect and not accidentally misrepresent the stronger wines, I will again post the descriptions of the Chateau Clinet, Pomerol 2004  and the Chateau Gruaud Larose, St. Julien 1998 that Sotheby’s provided on their card.

Via Sothebys:
Chateau Clinet, Pomerol 2004: A blend of majority Merlot, with the rest of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, Clinet is always impressive Pomerol.  Powerful, densely colored and big, balanced with freshness and precision.  One of Bordeaux’s great Right Bank estates.
Chateau Gruaud Larose, St. Julien 1998: As one of Bordeaux’s famed Second Growths, Gruaud Larose is textbook St. Julien: on the nose, a touch of cedar, cherry and blackberry, blended with balanced smoke, fruit and sweet tannin on the finish.  Benchmark Bordeaux, and always built to last.

Both of these wines were excellent. Dare I say, all of the wines presented by Sotheby’s were very good and honestly, better than expected. Yes, we paid for the presentation but they really elevated the experience.  Eli and Mike, look like brothers and finished each other’s sentences and made wine accessible to the masses.  As it should be, it has been around longer than you or I and thus we should experience the stories each glass tells.

Perhaps my favorite part of the experience, is I received some unsolicited validation. Wine is to be enjoyed and I often drink red wine with fish, I pair a wine with the weather, (see Hace Caliente) my goal is to enjoy the complexities of wine and also the simplicities of wine. When I heard these experts, and they are sommeliers and do intense study, lead off with drink what you like and have red wine with fish…I beamed.  I almost did a spit take and I can’t agree more.

You may notice Bordeaux giving the proper sniff to a bottle of red…well, it is actually a Zinfandel and the only grape that is actually native to California.  It is not, but probably more similar to a Burgundy but I couldn’t resist the picture. Besides, as I have said before and will say again,

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