Joseph Faiveley Bourgogne
Producer: Joseph Faiveley
Grape variety: Pinot Noir
Found at: Willow Park Wines and Spirits and Co-Op Wines and Spirits (or see Liquor Connect and enter your postal code)
Price: $15.99 – $17.99
About the region: This week we’re staying in Burgundy, but are now turning toward its black grape variety: Pinot Noir. Virtually all red wine from Burgundy is made from the Pinot Noir grape, so even if you don’t see the grape variety being mentioned on the label of a bottle of red Burgundy, it contains 100% Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is known as the “heartbreak grape” since it has a thin skin and grows in tight bunches of small berries, which makes it prone to rot and therefore difficult to grow. Similar to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir was originally planted in Burgundy and (in my humble opinion) succeeds better in Burgundy than anywhere else in the world. The halmark characteristics of Pinot Noir are low tannins (the astringent stuff in red wines that makes your mouth feel dry) and high acidity. Burgundian Pinot Noir will display red fruit favours (e.g., cherry, raspberry, strawberry) as well as vegetal and savoury notes, especially as the wine matures. The complexity of red Burgundy and the high acidity make this one of my favourites.
If you think of Southern Alberta as vast stretches of land with farmers owning thousands of acres of land, as far as the eye can see, Burgundy is the exact opposite. As an example, one of the largest and most famous vineyards in Burgundy is the Clos de Vougeot, which is a mere 125 acres, which in turn is shared by over 80 producers. So every producer owns a few rows of vines at most, with the rows to their right being owned by a different producer and the rows to their left being owned by yet another one. This is the case in most of Burgundy’s best vineyards: most producers own a limited number of rows of vines in vineyards spread out across Burgundy.
Since Pinot Noir is difficult to grow and because of limited supply and large demand, Burgundy Pinot Noir is expensive. Several high-end Burgundies will run you 5 figures per bottle. We’ll stick to the entry-level wines though…
About the wine: Domaine Faiveley has been around for the past 186 years and its vineyard holdings are among the largest in Burgundy. In December 2004 (at age 25), Erwan Faiveley took over the controls from his father, François. Since taking over, Erwan expanded the domaine’s vineyard holdings and started making changes to the style of wines. Under François, the wines had been more reserved and austere. Erwan’s main objective was to make the wines more accessible. The changes he instigated included lowering yields in the vineyards, installing a grape-sorting table in the winery, and holding back the release of selected wines until they are ready to drink. The 2007 vintage is the first where the reds fully reflect the changes that Erwan put in place.
Their entry level wine provides good value and is a good reflection of what Burgundy has to offer. There’s redcurrant, black pepper, mushroom, and forest floor on the nose. On the palate, there’s above-average acidity, low tannins, red cherry, and cranberry. It’s light-bodied, elegant, and quite pretty.
In Susanne’s words: Easy but not slutty. I like it.