The good thing of being back as a Sommelier / Wine Buyer for a restaurant is that I get to taste great, and often expensive wines that I usually had difficulty to taste when I was working in retail due to their high price and low availability.
The reason why is that when you buy wines for retail, unless you are invited by the importer or distributor or even the winery itself to a tasting, you rarely get to taste or even open these rare gems reserved for the most fortunate and wealthiest.
However, in restaurant, and that is the greatest thing about it, as Sommelier, it is your duty to taste most wines and more especially the rare and expensive ones to ensure their quality, keep and serve them in the most ideal condition and make sure that they are not corked to enhance the experience of your customers. It is even better when it is not a wine from your own wine-list but a wine brought by the customer himself (or herself) from his / her own cellar.
It's at this precise moment, after presenting the bottle to the customer, uncorked the bottle, poured a little bit in a extra glass on the side to "avine"* the decanter, avined the decanter and right before decanting the wine, that you can have that delicious sip of this incredible wine, which you may never been able to find again or afford or have another occasion to taste. If it taste good, then you can decant it, serve the customer and put what is left in your glass away in a safe place to enjoy it later to witness the evolution of the wine.
It is usually during that divine instant that one realize that there are good wines and GOOD wines. The following wine from this very established winery from the Côte de Beaune is definitely a great example of what some the best vineyards and producers in Burgundy have to offer. It is on my wine list and very proud of it.
I invite you to go to their website to find more about this unique Domaine where history and traditions converge under the attentive and skillful craftsmanship of the de Montille family since 1750's. For more info go to: http://www.demontille.com/
2007 Domaine de Montille Volnay 1er Cru "Les Champans" Côtes de Beaune Burgundy France
Suggested retail price HK$650-$680 or about US$75-$82
In the glass, this wine shows a light, crisp, see through, youthful red cherry color. The nose offers fragrant aromas of bright, red wild cherry with attractive mineral, earthy and floral notes. The palate is light, delicate, feminine with racy acidity and vivid flavors of wild red, sour cherry intermingled with earthy, mineral hints and even more refreshing acidity and a present yet integrated tannic structure leading toward the long, cleansing finish. Overall, I found the wine light and extremely bright, yet really flavorful and rich but not in an opulent or ripe way. Long and balanced, in my opinion, it definitely deserves more than some of the ratings that I saw in different magazines and websites. Good thing is that I do not go by the ratings and don't let myself get influenced by them, only my palate decide, and I love this wine.
Some may find it too light and sour, with too much acidity and lack of richness and fruit opulence, but in defense for the wine, 2007 was a better vintage for whites rather than reds overall in Burgundy. Yet, to me, 2007 for reds shows a lot of purity, freshness and balance. 2007 is definitely less opulent but better than the out-of-the-ordinary-and-unbalanced 2003; less complex than the extraordinary 2005 and less ripe and hot than the 2009. It is also not as nice as 2006 which somewhat, in my opinion and despite what the wine-press was saying about it (see my post "Follow the wine press or not?"), was a much better, consistent and brighter vintage than the so acclaimed 2005 vintage, which was more opulent, fleshier yet less balanced or characteristic or even traditional (in my opinion) by Burgundy standards. However, 2007 is definitely better than 2008, which was overall an inconsistent vintage, in my opinion, offering ok but not great Burgundy wines for most of the wines that I tasted (reds or whites). Overall, due to the lack of ripeness, some may downgrade the 2007 vintage, but so far I tasted some very interesting wines from this particular year, and this De Montille Volnay is a very good proof of it.
* The verb "Aviner" in French consist of the action of pouring a bit a wine in the decanter prior the decantation, to rinse the decanter from any possible dust and other residues and to allow for the aromas to impregnate the decanter.
LeDom du Vin
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