Burgundy on a Budget

When a person thinks of Burgundy (France), dollar signs start dancing in their heads (not enough money to buy the sugar plums!). Every visit I make to my favourite wine shop (for those in Toronto, it's Summerhill), I always find myself in the Burgundy section, never remembering how I got there! I think it's a gravitational force. Looking at the beautiful wall of Volnay, Gevry-Chembertin, Aloxe-Corton, Pommard, Meursault (I'll just stop now because I feel my mouth salivating), my eyes start to glaze over as I think about how yummy these must be. These are all regions that I've read in books or heard people talk about when discussing "fine wines". I suddenly get very depressed because these wines often start at $40 and go up and up...and up. Once in a while I'll splurge and purchase something a tad out of my price range. However, as soon as I bring the bottle home, I don't dare open it because I know how much money was spent! I just stare at the bottle, day-dreaming of the glorious elixir that's inside. Funny, the definition of "elixir" is: a sweetened, aromatic solution of alcohol and water containing, or used as a vehicle for, medicinal substances. Yes! This is totally what I believe in. Using an "elixir" to help oneself get through the work week could be considered medicinal, or a problem. But I digress. =)
Tonight, I got together with a couple of girlfriends and we headed to a small wine bar called Carens Wine and Cheese located in Yorkville, here in Toronto. It was a small, intimate place with a decent wine list that didn't cost a lot of money (a glass of wine cost anywhere between $8-$15). What really impressed me this evening was a glass of the Louis Jadot Bourgogne Chardonnay. It was a fantastic "elixir" to have on a Wednesday evening. Normally, a wine from the "old world" (Europe basically) won't state the grape variety on the label because the wine is supposed to express the region itself. Lately you'll see a lot of old world producers put the varietal names on their wines for the "new world" countries (like the US, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia).

Louis Jadot Bourgogne Chardonnay $19.95

This wine was simply delicious! There was a hint of oak, but not too much. There was still a lot of fruit both on the nose and on the palate. The finish was nice and longer than what I expected. A beautiful expression of how oak and Chardonnay work together as a team. I think I have found my new "house" wine. Those that are ABC (Anything-but-Chardonnay) should give this wine a try...it just might pleasantly surprise.

Two things to keep in mind when looking for a Burgundy wine:
1) If it's white, it's Chardonnay
2) If it's red, it's Pinot Noir

Of course, there's Beaujolais which is in Burgundy but considered a separate region when talking about wines from this part of France. The primary grape grown in Beaujolais is Gamay.

Here's another tip:
If looking for a wine from Burgundy but don't want to pay a whole lot, look for a label with the word "Bourgogne" on it. Bourgogne is the French word for Burgundy and it means that the grapes used to make the wine can come from anywhere in the Burgundy region.

If ever in doubt about what to buy, whether it's Burgundy or Beaujolais, keep Louis Jadot on the mind. It's a very reputable producer with lots of different wines to offer. They have a pretty nice website too.