Posted by: tomciocco | January 19, 2014

CHITRY: A RED BURGUNDY FROM THE NORTHERN FRINGE

Though its east-west extension is at at times less than a mile across, and rarely exceeds ten, in terms of the north-south direction, the Burgundy region in its entirety extends for over 100 miles, from south of the city of Macon all the way up to Auxerre. This geographical set of facts makes Burgundy one of the most expansive wine regions in the world.

And not surprisingly, the weather and the soil along this long axis varies pretty dramatically, from denser, alkaline clays in the south to friable limestones further north. And as would stand to reason, the southern end of Burgundy is notably warmer and more volatile in terms of temperature and precipitation.  And by the time one reaches the greater Chablis zone (which is detached from the rest of the region as it snakes north toward Paris) a soil type called Kimmeridgian (light and chalky limestone clays) prevails, and despite the association of the name Chablis with austere, flint and steel whites made from Chardonnay, some of the nearby towns and villages are actually given over to the production of the red (made from Pinot Noir of course) versions of these taut and wiry whites for which this this sub-region is justifiably famous.

So in villages like Chitry, the velvety, more rustic dark berry and damson fruit natures of wines that come from places like Beaune are replaced by wines that accentuate a high-toned, rangy-bodied character, paler in color with a minerally, red fruit profile. Chitry has only been classified as a “village” wine since 1993, while the tradition and reputation of its white wine producing neighbor Chablis has had centuries to grow and define itself, But if this particular Chitry is any indication regarding the future of red wines in this out of the way corner of northern Burgundy, the future, just like the wine itself, shines bright.

I matched this very sharp and gregarious Pinot Noir with an appetizer of toasts topped with a finely chopped and cheese and cream gratineed hash of cauliflower, dried savory, sage, and white wine, followed by a true Burgundian classic, Coq au Vin, with mashed potatoes to accompany.

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Giraudon Bourgogne Chitry 2011

Pretty and bright pinkish ruby color. Plucky and minerally aromas of cherry, cranberry, black pepper, carob, cloves, licorice, and dried lavender and rose. The body of the wine is medium-light with a pointy acidity and supple but still quite linear tannins and fresh, clean flavors of strawberry, raspberry, Cornelian Cherry, hay, and sliced green pepper. Long, warm, tart and tidy finish.

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