Andrea Briccarello, of Galvin restaurants, tastes his way around Burgundy with Les Caves de Pyrene.
Burgundy has always attracted me more than any other region in France because of it’s rural heritage and stunning wines.
After years of opening gracious and velvety Pinot Noirs and creamy sumptuous Chardonnays, I was very excited to join a small group from Les Caves de Pyrene to visit this promised land.
The first visit was to Domaine de la Cadette at Vézelay, a very small producer of organic wines. Every wine is handcrafted from 20 year old vines and the wines we tasted in the garden under a relaxing sun were as honest as the producers Jean and Catherine Montanet.
The Melon de Bourgogne was refreshing with crisp acidity and the Chardonnay Chatelaine was pure, mineral and with a clean citrussy finish; the reds were pure but with supple fruit and incredible drinkability.
If you visit Burgundy for the first time, you must pay homage to one of greatest white wine appellation in the world - Chablis. After selling thousands of bottles over the past four years in Bentleys oyster bar, I was glad to meet the people behind the label.
Gerard Tremblay is one of the most important figure in the appellation and after eight generations, still runs the winery as a family business. After trying the whole range in the domaine’s cellar, from the crisp Petit Chablis to the more complex and chalky Grand Cru, we were escorted on the top of the hills to admire the stunning crus that were encrusted like jewels in a crown on the side of the valley.
We swiftly moved the next day to the Côte de Nuits, where two of the region’s most interesting and original characters - Philippe Pacalet and Frederic Cossard. Pacalet is one of the most talented winemakers I’ve ever met; his philosophy is reflected in every drop of his wines.
The next day in Saint Romain, we were welcomed by the eccentric Frederic Cossard in his cellar where precious casks of Pinot and Chardonnay were resting and gaining richness in oak. He is a great maker of real wines where little or no So2 is used, leaving only the true spirit of the wine flowing through a bottle.
A visit to Chassagne was inevitable and the Domaine Coffinet Duvernay was a classic example of great Chardonnay. All the 08s we tried from the barrels were amazing and almost ready to drink, being rich and mineral with lots of layers of fruits and incredible ageing potential.
It was a great experience and I’m glad that I had a chance to have a look at a more noncomformist side of Burgundy; what I’ve tasted and experienced first hand will be remembered for a very long time.