Burgundy AOC Simplified
|Burgundy AOC Simplified Pyramid by ©LeDomduVin 2019|
Recently, during a discussion about wine with a few people, wine amateurs, while sipping rosé under bright sunshine (a rare thing in Hong Kong), a person told me: "I love Pinot Noir, but they don't make Pinot Noir in France..., do they?"
I was surprised and it almost broke my heart to hear that, but I didn't judge and kept my cool and ask her a simple question: "Did you ever drink red wine from Burgundy?"
"Yes," she said, and added, "I like them very much".
"Well, the red wines from Burgundy are made with Pinot Noir, that's surely why you like them" I answered
"...but Pinot Noir is not written on the label, that's why I never realized they were made with Pinot Noir," she replied.
And that was the moment, I realized that despite all the wine school, tastings, classes, books, TV reportages, websites, social media pages, etc, etc... widely available in most cities of the world and online, they are still tonnes of people out there that have difficulties to read and understand French wine's labels, and more especially to know which grapes they have have been made with.
You see, back 20-25 years ago, the French were very sarcastic about the fact that most new world wines stated the grape variety on the label (e.g. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc...) for easier recognition of the type of wine, and, to a certain extent, of the taste of the wine too.
And, although I admit that in regions where various grape varieties are blended together, it would be difficult to do (e.g. Bordeaux, Rhone Valley and Languedoc-Roussillon). Yet, in other regions where only one grape variety goes into the wine (e.g. Chardonnay for White Burgundy), it could have been a good idea. Even if not on the front label, at least on the back label (which is now more often the case that it used to be back then).
But, the French are traditionalists by nature, often reluctant to make changes to secular traditions or even to slightly change their way to adapt to the rest of the world. French products, wine included, are all about skill, craftsmanship, regional artisanal culture and traditions, usually the life-long career work of people who have put their heart and passion to craft distinctive products proud of their origins and the country they come from.
Thus, one can only respect the French's protective point of view and conservative approach about making any changes, as they are renown for the origin, quality and durability of their products. Making even the slight changes in France often command time, patience and long deliberations prior to a final decision is made. More especially knowing the French take their work-life balance very seriously (35h working law, etc...) and ate being pushed or rushed on doing something unplanned.
The French dislike indecision, and thus like the people who know what they want and can make reflective decisions rather than hasty action decision. That said, they can make and take quick decisions and help when needed too, as long as it is not right before the lunch or prior to summer vacations (needless to say that nothing gets done in France between the end of June and early September).
You have to understand that France, despite all of its talents and prowess in technologies, medicine, architecture, design, fashion, luxury goods in general, and so much more than that, has remained an old fashion country with a very rural background, definitely coming with the rural, backward, narrow-minded and conservative attitude most French are notorious for.
Funny to think about the cliché of the French being charming, laid back, smiley, with a certain insouciance, "laissez-faire", "laissez-aller" and "joie-de-vivre", even being by definition sexy and fashionable for some, when most likely, while visiting France, you'll find them usually grumpy, long-faced, complaining or making a fuss about something, being opinionated or know-it-all about everything and anything, often pompous and snob in many ways.
Amongst other things, for example, when, in a restaurant, a hotel or even a boutique retail store in France (especially in Paris), who never experienced the contempt look of a posh Maître D', a concierge or a retailer, raising one eyebrow and politely disdaining you with an unfriendly dry "Monsieur?" or "Madame?", simultaneously simulating some sort of respect for you yet questioning your right to exist at the same time.
Yes, the French can be bourgeois, posh, arrogant and unpolite (a behavior they refer to as being sophisticated), as well as being annoyed and annoying, grumpy and unfriendly, dry, sarcastic, proud, abusing on the use of 2nd-degree jokes and metaphors sometimes difficult to understand, and this list is non-exhaustive, but I cannot be all negative about the French, after all, myself being one.
The French are all the above, yes, but they also can be charming, sophisticated, refined, elegant, cultivated, with a taste for luxury and lust, and attention to details, mingled with this innate nonchalance, that almost make them cool and sexy, as well as their "savoir-faire" and traditions in the Art of "la table et du service", "le bien boire et le bien manger" et "surtout le bien recevoir" and their well-educated manners, which often make us love them more, especially when having an endless conversation sitting around a well-dressed table where an array of good food is usually paired with good wines, the way only the French hold the secret of. Surely some of the reasons why the world envies the French way of living, drinking, eating, and kissing too.
And 25 years later, I'm realizing that the topic is still of actuality, like some people, even if somewhat knowledgeable and more than occasional drinkers, still don't know apparently.
So, regarding Burgundy, I told her that although it is a complex and complicated region to understand, I will try to explain to her in a very simple manner via some illustrations (drawings, shapes, graphs, pyramids, processes, cycles, and other visuals) for her (and others) to better understand. And that is what prompts me to write this post.
💥 Work in progress, to be finished soon💥
LeDomduVin (a.k.a. Dominique Noël)