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Mike and I aren’t usually for organized travel tours but, with our friend and winemaker Ethan at the helm, we decided to give it a shot. Ethan had been studying wine in Burgundy, France for the past few years and became so passionate, so knowledgeable about oenology and the region that he decided to start William Ethan Experiential Art: An educational and culinary adventure through the vineyards, cuviers, cellars, and towns of the Côte d’Or and beyond. When we heard about this tour, we signed up on the spot.
Newfound Wine Knowledge
The better the land, the better the wine.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are basically the only two types of grapes grown in Burgundy (Gamay and Aligoté are grown where the soil isn’t so rich in limestone).
More than any winemaking region in the world, wine in Burgundy is all about the land. A wine’s caliber is defined by the quality of the exact patch of soil the grapes came from. A vineyard is sometimes limited to a few rows of grapes because that mix of soil, pitch of land, and sun it receives may be so perfect that adding more rows could taint the wine.
The reason why Burgundian wine labels are so complex is that you need the name of the region, estate, plot, bottling location, and winemaker to identify the wine (cute names like Red Truck or Seven Deadly Zins don’t cut it). Those who truly understand the wines of this region, know the location
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