Joseph Drouhin Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2018, $29

What’s the Deal?

“No one drinks Burgundy anymore,” has become something of a refrain in wine circles these days, in reference to the ever-soaring prices of Pinot Noir from the famed Cote de Nuits.

No one diminishes the regions importance: in fact, its esteem has only gown in the past few decades. Unfortunately, its prices have grown even more. Premier Cru wines that in recent memory were $65 are now double that; triple if the producer is notable; quintuple if it’s one of the bold-name wineries. And Grand Cru wines? The cheapest bottle at the BCLDB is this baby at $260. $260!

But here’s the rub: you’ll never truly understand Pinot Noir if you don’t expose yourself to its spiritual home. And that where this wine comes in.

What’s in the Bottle?

This is as entry-level as you get with real Burgundy, and it’s actually quite a compelling deal. Let’s start with what you don’t get: any sense of a particular vineyard. Hardcore Burgundy fans will wax about the difference between the villages of Vosne Romanee and Morey St. Denis, or which sections of the huge Clos Vougeot vineyard produce the best wine. We’re not in that territory here€”this wine takes grapes from a dozen different vineyards€”none of which are going to be Grand Cru.

But here, you have an impeccable producer€”Joseph Drouhin, who made the single greatest bottle of wine I’ve ever had, the 1985 Chambertin Clos de Beze€”to bring a level of consistency and polish, so you get an a sort of standing-room ticket into what all the fuss is about.

In this case, it’s a lovely, restrained vibrancy that’s all bouncing red fruits: tart raspberry, some wild strawberry, maybe even some cranberry. And then just a hint of earthiness and saddle leather that tells you you’re in Burgundy. It’s all very restrained€”in fruit, in oak, in everything. 

Should I Buy It?

Well, obviously I’m a fan. This wine feels like it should be in the $40+ range, given that I can’t think of an under-$30 Pinot from Sonoma or Oregon that can encapsulate those regions they way that this one does.

Not everyone will like it. The diehard Meoimi drinker will wonder where the fruit and power is, but even if it’s not their cup of tea, they’ll at least know what Burgundy is trying to be all about. And that’s super valuable for anyone who’s interested in building their palate.

Then again, there will be those who will be enchanted by this wine: those who will come back to it the next day, try it with different foods. If you’re one of those poor souls, you’ve unfortunately been bitten by the Burgundy bug. Best start mining Bitcoin.