Is Burgundy Worthwhile?

Posted by Keith Wallace

Wine educators constantly find themselves in a neutral zone defined by advocating too strongly for certain wines while damning others with less than faint praise. Or, in my case, of practicing what I preach – to remain open to all wines regardless of region or varietal.

That being said, and at the risk of being branded a philistine, it’s time to admit that after years of trying I don’t “get” Burgundy. The sometimes exorbitant price tags for Grand Cru wine that is less than grand, which can be outdone by those bearing a simple communal designation. The laissez-faire attitude to production coupled with a zen-like obsession with terroir seems at odds with what writer Hugh Johnson refers to as the “..Alice in Wonderland” hodgepodge of regulations. Maybe it’s just wending through a forest of gumpy wines where one can never be sure of what to expect when the cork is popped.

Perhaps these ambiguities are the attraction for those who have found vinicultural nirvana. There is an innate charm in the unpredictability of wine, and I’m not suggesting assembly line “correctness” that would drain the meaning and pleasure from drinking. But neither do we need the equivalent of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride through the vineyards of the Cote d’Or.

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