- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Vincent Girardin, Bourgogne Cuvee Saint-Vincent White, 2006, $23

Buying Burgundy can be a challenge. With red wines (made entirely with pinot noir grapes) or whites (made with chardonnay), the quality in the bottle often has little to do with the information on the label - or, for that matter, the price tag. No famous wine region disappoints more often. At the same time, no region offers greater thrills.

The simplest Burgundies, labeled as Bourgogne, disappoint most often. Usually made with grapes coming from marginal vineyards, they frequently taste shrill and sour. Yet a few transcend their lowly status to remind you why buying Burgundy is worth taking the challenge. This white Cuvee Saint-Vincent does just that. It outperforms not only its appellation but also most of the wines made with chardonnay elsewhere. Good white Burgundies offer ripe, usually autumnal fruit flavors augmented by mineral undertones. Those stony nuances, so pronounced here, give the wine a level of complexity usually reserved for Burgundies costing considerably more. Delicious now, it shows the potential to become even more compelling with two or three years of bottle age, and it will be a delightful partner for medium-weight poultry or seafood dishes.

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