Saturday, September 21, 2013

One of Burgundy's Greatest Bargains

Standing on the hill of Corton looking southwest (thus, the vineyards are facing southeast), I took the above photo less than a week ago. In the middle is one of the most interestingly shaped vineyard you would ever see in Burgundy. This is the premier cru Ile des Vergelesses in Pernand Vergelesses. It's a tongue-shaped island floating between Aux Vergelesses below and Savigny-les-Beaune above. On this overcast day, perhaps it's not too obvious, but its position on the midslope before the slope steeply angles up and dips down--out of the shadow cast by the massive Corton hill--allows it to receive the maximum light, hence the brighter sheen on its surface.

Because of this perfect exposure, on great vintages and if well made the red Burgundy premier cru Ile des Vergelesses is like an extension of Corton in quality. The fruit is intense and dark, with a touch of violets, and the structure is firm and elegant. These attributes allow it to age well. But the price at under $50 makes it one of Burgundy's greatest bargains.

I was tasting with Lise Pavelot at her family's domaine in Pernand-Vergelesses their wonderful range of wines. The lineup was mainly 2011s, but she thought of revisiting the 2009 Pernand-Iles des Vergelesses as it has been a while since she had that, and for me it's been over a year. We were quite blown away by it. On release it was closed and tight but now its brilliant potential is obvious.

When the Pernand-Ile des Vergelesses is this good then it's easy to understand why many consider it worthy of grand cru status. Lise Pavelot describes it this way:

Illuminated by the early morning sun and caressed by its low angled rays when it lays itself down behind the Bois de Noël hill, where it sweetly comes to rest, the Ile des Vergelesses tends toward velvet, elegance and sophisticated lace.

Pernand-Vergelesses Premier Cru Ile des Vergelesses, Domaine Pavelot 2009 $47.00 (click to buy!)

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