The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

From Simple Bordeaux to Sophisticated Burgundy, a Palate’s Journey

Posted on | September 10, 2015 | Written by Stephane Menard | No Comments

Stephane 7.14.15Beginning about fifteen years ago, every time I visited my grandfather in the southwest of France he would open a bottle from my birth year in my honor. I was very lucky to be born in 1982, an incredible vintage in Bordeaux, and my grandfather purchased many cases of this vintage. I was therefore spoiled for many years by some incredible wine from Margaux AC, and with repeated tastings, my palate started to focus on Bordeaux.

I was young, and I was still unfamiliar with wine, so most of the wine I would drink would be some simple Bordeaux AC wines that are a slightly dense, powerful, and easier to approach. It was an easy reference that connected with my adolescence. But as I grew older, my palate grew more sophisticated, and while I began with the Left Bank my palate began to explore the Right Bank. I became more and more interested in great Merlot blends from St Emilion and Pomerol.

In my early 20s, I remember having a bottle of Savigny-Les-Beaune 1er Cru for my birthday and this was a revelation for me. My love for the delicate aromas of Pinot Noir exploded as I found a new world of flavors opened to me—a new life! The following year, my grandfather decided to open magnum of Chambertin 1976 for Christmas. I remember we had a juicy Venison roast made with the Chambertin sauce; this was the first great Bourgogne I ever had and I will never forget it.

I was lucky enough to enjoy this same wine once again with my grandfather this summer, one of the last 1976 bottles that he had left in the cellar. The delicate scents of red fruits, berries, subtle spice and the incredible complexity blew my mind. I lack the few words to describe this unique experience.

Although I am still in love with Pinot Noir I still hold my strong memories for Bordeaux and I will soon have the pleasure to share a bottle of 1982 with my IWM colleagues here in New York City. I look forward to sharing the beginning of my love affair with wine, while revisiting the vintage of my birth year.

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