Monday, November 5, 2012

Puligny Montrachet Winemaker Dinner with Sylvain Bzikot, Domaine Bzikot Pere et Fils, at Jacques Imperato’s Mediterannee Restaurant in Northern Virginia, USA

Picture: Doug House, Jacques Imperato, Christian G.E. Schiller, Olivier Daubresse and Sylvain Bzikot

Doug House, the dynamic owner of Chain Bridge Cellars, a wine store in the greater Washington DC area, says that wines from Bourgogne account for about one third of the store’s turnover. Of course, Doug has an excellent selection of Bourgogne wines, is very knowledgeable when it comes to Bourgogne wines, travels frequently to this part of France and likes to bring Bourgogne winemakers over to the Washington DC and Northern Virginia area. This time, it was Sylvain Bziket, owner and winemaker at Domaine Bzikot Pere et Fils from Pouligny Montrachet, who came to the greater Washington DC area.

Pictures: Singing with Sylvain Bzikot at the End of the Dinner

Doug chose Jacques Imperato’s Mediterranee Restaurant in Northern Virginia for this winemaker evening. Great choice! It turned out to be a fantastic event.

Bourgogne Classification

The Bourgogne classification is terroir-oriented. A specific vineyard or region will bear a given classification, regardless of the wine's producer. This is opposed to Bordeaux, where classifications are producer-driven and awarded to individual chateaux. The main levels in the Burgundy classifications, in descending order of quality, are:

Pictures: Doug House, Sylvain Bzikot and Olivier Daubresse

Grand Cru wines are produced from a small number of vineyards in the Côte d'Or and make up 2% of the production of the Bourgogne, at 35 hectoliters per hectare. The origins of Burgundy's Grand crus can be found in the work of the Cistercians who, among their vast land holdings, were able to delineate and isolate plots of land that produced wine of distinct character. There are 33 Grand Cru vineyards in the Bourgogne.

Pictures: Doug House

Premier Cru wines are produced from specific vineyards that are considered to be of high, but slightly lower quality; they make up 12% of production in the Bourgogne at 45 hectoliters/hectare.

Village appellation wines are produced from vineyard sites within the boundaries of one of 42 villages. Village wines make up 36% of production at 50 hectoliters/hectare.

Regional appellation wines are wines which are allowed to be produced over the entire region, or over an area significantly larger than that of an individual village.


Puligny-Montrachet is in the Cote de Beaune part of the Cote d’Or, situated six miles south of Beaune. The village was originally called just Puligny until 1879, when the Montrachet section was added in homage to its iconic Grand Cru vineyard, Le Montrachet.

The famous Le Montrachet, Batard-Montrachet, Chevalier Montrachet and Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet sites were officially awarded their own appellations – and Grand Cru status – in the late 1930s. The first two of these are divided down the middle by the commune boundary between the Puligny and Chassagne villages. In 1984, the INAO (the government body responsible for the French appellation system) officially demarcated and classified the land around the village into 17 Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru vineyard sites.

The Premier Cru wines are designated Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru + vineyard name, such as Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru Les Folatières, or may labeled just Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru, in which case it is possible to blend wine from several Premier Cru vineyards.

All in all, there are 114 hectares of Puligny-Montrachet Village vineyards, 100 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards and 21 hectares of Grand Cru vineyards in Puligny-Montrachet.

Domaine Bzikot Pere et Fils

Sylvain Bzikot has owned and managed the Domaine Bzikot Pere et Fils – now in the third generation - since 1991. Sylvain does not speak any English, but I was able to converse in French with him. He is a very funny and entertaining guy. 

Pictures: Annette Schiller, Ombiasy Wine Tours, Sylvain Bzikot and Christian G.E. Schiller

The Domaine Bzikot owns land in two premier cru vineyards - Les Perrieres and Les Folatieres. The vineyard area totals 14 hectares. The vines are on average 40 years old.

Sylvain told us that his family comes from Poland and moved to Fance in the 1930s. Winemaking began in the 1950s. When Sylvain entered the picture in the 1990s, all wine was sold to negociants. It was under him that  Domaine Bzikot started to bottleand sell directly  their wine.

I met Sylvain for the first time 2 years ago and wrote about it here: Sylvain Bzikot's Puligny Montrachet, Bourgogne, France

Jacques Imperato and the Mediterrannee Restaurant

The dinner took place at the Mediterranee Restaurant in Great Falls in Northern Virginia, just off Leesburg Pike and up the road from Colvin Run Mill.

Pictures: Jacques Imperato and Christian Schiller

The restaurant, which seats approximately 50 people, serves French Mediterranean Cuisine inspired from the French people who lived in North Africa during the French occupation. French chef/owner Jacques Imperato, who was born in Algeria, was one of the last generation of French Pied Noir, and as such, being French with an Italian and Spanish background. Jacques was trained in France in Classical and French Nouvelle Cuisine.

What Jacques Imperato Served and Sylvain Bzikot Poured

First Course

Escargots sautéed burgundy style with Mache salad and ginger dressing, brunoise of green smith apple

Bzikot Bourgogne Blanc 2010

Tasting notes: Unwooded Chardonnay with lovely ripeness, crystalline texture, and complex fruit and mineral flavors.

Second Course

Sea scallops seared with chervil beurre blanc and wilted spinach

Bzikot Puligny Montrachet Les Petites Nosroyes Cuvee Maison 2010

Tasting notes: This is a very special wine. Doug House: “The Bzikot Puligny Montrachet Les Petites Nosroyes Cuvee Maison 2010 "Cuvee de la Maison" - we couldn't resist the play on my last name - is a wine made by Sylvain just for us!

Les Petites Nosroyes is a superb vineyard that sits next to Henri Boillot's famous 1er cru Clos de la Mouchere monopole within Les Perrieres.

2010 was the first year Sylvan made wine from the small Les Petites Nosroyes well-sited vineyard in Puligny and he was planning to bottle it as a new cuvee. But back in January 2011, I had the chance to taste from each of Sylvan's nine barrels from this site - and fell in love with two of them. After some back-and-forth with Sylvan, his importer Olivier Daubresse, and me, Sylvan agreed to sell us the two barrels I'd chosen and bottle them together in a special cuvee.

By choosing the best two barrels of the nine Sylvain made from Les Petites Nosroyes in 2010, we've assembled a village wine (at a village price!) that delivers 1er Cru weight, purity, and cut. Detailed, intense, aromas and flavors of lemon curd, grilled pineapple, apricot, fresh butter, toasted nuts, and crushed mint arrive in waves in a wine of transparent purity and deep minerality. And the finish is breathtaking - you'll still be tasting the complex, satisfying, flavors two or three minutes later.

I'm very proud of this wine and deeply grateful to Olivier Daubresse and Sylvain Bzikot for giving us the chance to help create such a special and delicious white Burgundy. If you love great Chardonnay - and, especially, absolutely classic Puligny Montrachet - you will be delighted by our new "House wine," made by Sylvain Bzikot, selected by Doug House, and imported to the USA by Olivier Daubresse, all just for you.”

Third Course

Bronzino grilled with chanterelle mushroom and fennel confit.

Bzikot Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru les Perrieres 2008

Tasting notes: A wonderfully complex nose of chalk, limestone, lime, apple, and a bunch of other stuff I can’t name. In the mouth, the wine is super pure and deep with ripe stone fruit, melon, minerals, and emerging nut and fresh butter notes.  Long and very persistent on the finish.  A great wine.

Bzikot Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru les Perrieres 2006

Tasting notes: The nose opens up nicely with air, limestone, apple, chalk, a full-bodied, complex wine, the palate is round and shows good richness and acidity, a wave of apple and ripe green melon flavors, coupled with notes of butter and nut elements, the finish is long and mouthwatering.

Fourth Course

Maine Lobster, sautéed  with a Lobster sauce with shitake mushroom and leeks

Bzikot Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru les Folatieres 2008

Tasting notes: From the largest 1er cru in Puligny-Montrachet.  Apple and stone fruits, a touch of lime skin, fresh butter and hazelnut flavors and aromas all swirl in a smooth-textured wine with just the right amount of acidity at the end.

Bzikot Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru les Folatieres 2006

Tasting notes: Pale straw color, hint of pear, quince - youthful and tight, it has lost a little baby fat and not yet moved into its next phase. Delicious long finish with lemon curd and wonderful minerality.


Passion fruit and blueberry Napoleon, Caramel peach sauce, cigar filled with almond cream and sun dried apricot

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