Reflecting on Burgundy and Bordeaux

In the aftermath of last week's Burgundy versus Bordeaux Debate (and in an apt display of Gallic cultural influence),  James Wills, our Premier Crew Wine Advisor, repaired to a French cafe in London's Soho to discuss how Burgundy and Bordeaux influences and practices are reflected in wines produced outside France - specifically New Zealand and Tuscany.


A SuperTuscan Approach to the Bordeaux Blend

Castello di Bolgheri Varvàra
Tuscany, Italy - Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Syrah
This week's first choice is an alternative approach to the Bordeaux blend from a winery nestled in the cellars of a Tuscan castle. As well as Bordeaux varieties (including Petit Verdot) the wine also includes some Syrah.
The Vavara is the 2nd wine of Castello di Bolgheri – a SuperTuscan lauded in the Sunday Times as “rival in quality and terroir to the Lafite of the SuperTuscans, Sassicaia. Fine fruit, elegant tannins, hot and ripe.” The Castle's estate was once the property of one family, but has since been divided into thee main parcels - Tenuta San Guido (Sassicaia), Ornellaia and Castello di Bolgheri.
This is a fine introduction to the Castello – a little more fruit forward and with a higher percentage of Merlot but still racy, classy and with fine supple tannins supporting blackcurrants, earthy plums and mint.

A Kiwi Pinot Noir fit for Burgundian Comparison

Corofin Pinot Noir
Marlborough, New Zealand - Pinot Noir
At a similar price to the Burgundy Pinot Noir that Jancis Robinson chose to support her argument at Monday night's debate, this Kiwi is great place to start a discussion about the relative merits, comparisons and contrasts between the two regions.
Corofin is a new operation from well regarded wine maker Mike Patterson working with is wife Anna. According to Mike, “from our early days here we have always had a desire to start our own small wine business, established without compromise for quality and with complete authenticity”.
The fruit comes from the Dogs Point settlement, known for producing Pinot Noirs with purity, and the wine offers generous red cherry and raspberry notes on the nose, with some development that invites me to allow it to open up before I drink it. On the palate it has bright raspberry purée purity and fresh acidity.

Both wines (along with 4 others) are available in the Burgundy, Bordeaux and Friends mixed case: