- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Louis Jadot, Bourgogne Pinot Noir, 2005, $20

Pinot noir has become wildly popular, and wine shops nowadays are awash in the stuff. The problem is that most of it doesn’t much taste like the varietal should — soft and supple, with an invitingly silky texture, and delicate rather than forceful flavors. In some cases, this is because the winemaker has included other varieties in the blend, in others because the grapes have been allowed to become over-ripe. Whatever the cause, far too many pinots today taste cumbersome rather than compelling.

Here’s a wine that delivers on pinot’s promise. It comes from this grape’s traditional home, Burgundy in northern France, and it is 100 percent pinot. (Many wines are not, since regulations permit vintners to use the varietal name even if their wine includes up to 25 percent of juice from other grapes.) Although youthful and a tad exuberant at first, it calms down with time in the glass to reveal a subtly nuanced character, with sensuous red berry fruit enhanced by echoes of incense and spice. Most important, it feels lithe rather than lumbering.

This is one of the first 2005 red Burgundies to arrive on our shores. The vintage has received considerable praise, and the high quality here bodes well for the more exclusive offerings that will appear in the months to come. Basic Bourgogne pinot usually tastes simple at best. This one clearly outperforms the category. Like any good pinot noir, it will pair especially well with virtually any dish based on mushrooms.

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