Friday, June 7, 2013

Burgundy Dinner at Bistro Vivant with Negociant Extraordinaire Jeanne-Marie de Champs, USA

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Jeanne-Marie de Champs, Negociant in Beaune, Bourgogne at Bistro Vivant, McLean, Virginia 

Jeanne-Marie de Champs, Negociant in Beaune, Bourgogne was in town (Washington DC area) and I had the chance and the pleasure to meet her at a dinner at Bistro Vivant in McLean, Virginia. It was a delightful evening. We enjoyed a delicious five-course menu, prepared by Chef de Cuisine Ed Hardy, paired with five Burgundy releases from Jeanne-Marie de Champs’ Domaines et Saveurs.

Jeanne-Marie de Champs and Domaines et Saveurs

During the past decades Jeanne-Marie de Champs has risen from obscurity to stardom among Burgundy aficionados.  Seeing her name on the back of a bottle guarantees quality.

Before 1978, Jeanne-Marie de Champs had no relation to the wine trade and no particular interest in wine aside from the fact that her family owned a small parcel of vines in Sancerre. She lived in Paris and worked successfully in marketing. Jeanne-Marie de Champs was drawn into wine only as a consequence of marriage to a Bourgogne Negociant in 1978.

Pictures: Jake McGuire, Editor and Publisher of DC Style Report, with Jeanne-Marie de Champs and Aykan Demiroglu, Co-owner of Bistro Vivant

Initially, she established a little business within her husband's company in Beaune and continued to work part-time in Paris. On the strength of Jeanne-Marie's taste for quality and sharp eye for growers on the rise, her little department soon became a major undertaking and in 1994 she established it as an independent company: Domaines et Saveurs, apart from her husband's business. Under French law, she is a "negociant en chambre," meaning that, unlike brokers, she buys wines from her producers and, unlike ordinary negociants, she buys finished wines rather than lots to blend herself. Today, Jeanne-Marie represents more than 70 winemakers, including 3 producers from Bordeaux and a Champagne producer.

Pictures: At the Dinner

Jeanne-Marie: “As a negociant I look for several aspects: First, I look for good farmers – my winemakers have to be good farmers. Second, I look for winemakers who use natural yeast and do not rush the wine. Third, I look for non-fined, not filtered wines.”

Bistro Vivant

It was a lovely evening with great wines and food, all well-orchestrated by Bistro Vivant Co-Owner Aykan Demiroglu and General Manager Shannon Paretzky. Bistro Vivant is Bistro/Brasserie in the heart of McLean in the greater Washington DC area.

Picture: Aykan Demiroglu, Co-owner of Bistro Vivant and Chef de Cuisine Ed Hardy

Previous winemaker dinner at Bistro Vivant:
Dinner with Owner/Winemaker Eric Bonnet of Domaine La Bastide Saint Dominique, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France/USA

The Vineyard

The event was initiated by The Vineyard Wine Store in McLean. The prices below are The Vineyard prices for single bottles.

Wining and Dining

Picture: 5 Wines

Duck Breast, Frisee Salad
Early Virginia Peaches

Chateau de Raousset Chiroubles 2011 $22.90

Chateau de Raousset is situated in the commune of Chiroubles within the Beaujolais region of Burgundy. The chateau itself is to be found between the villages of Fleurie and Morgon, with a vineyard area of 35 hectares in 3 different appellations - Chiroubles, Fleurie and Morgon.

The Wine Enthusiast: Showing a mineral-driven structure and firm tannins, this is a Beaujolais that needs to age. Rich and juicy, its perfumed red fruits currently cut through dry tannins. 88 Points

Smoked & Grilled Octopus
Romesco Sauce and Pickled Ramps

Domaine Rapet Pere et Fils  Bourgogne Aligoté 2011 $18.99

Aligoté is the second most popular white grape variety in Burgundy after Chardonnay, though it lies a long way behind in terms of planted area, with 1,700 hectares against 12,800 hectares. Typically, Aligoté is planted in the poorer vineyard sites at the tops and bottoms of the slopes. The grape ripens early with moderate yields and produces wines high in acidity that can be drunk young. Traditionally, the cocktail kir is made by adding cassis to an Aligoté white wine.

Based in the village of Pernand Vergelesses, Domaine Rapet Pere et Fils can trace its history back as far as 1765. The Estate comprises 18 hectares of vines in the villages of Pernand-Vergelesses, Savigny les Beaune, Aloxe Corton and Beaune. Domaine Rapet Pere et Fils is now under the control of Vincent Rapet and his wife Sylvette, who manage the estate with a keen eye to nature.

Alaskan Halibut
Spring Morels

Domaine Marc Colin Chassagne Montrachet Les Encegnieres 2011 $61.99

Marc and Michèle Colin started Domaine Marc Colin in the late 1970s, with vineyards from the Colin and Ponavoy families. Today, Caroline, Joseph and Damien, three of their children, lead the domain which extends over 19 hectares in the villages of Saint-Aubin, Chassagne-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet and Santenay.  Their eldest child, Pierre-Yves, was involved until 2005, but has taken out his share of the vineyards to make his own wine.

The reds come from St-Aubin, Chassagne-Montrachet and Santenay. But Domaine Marc Colin is much better known for its white wines. These include no less than eight bottlings of premier cru St-Aubin plus Puligny- and Chassagne-Montrachet and their associated grands crus.

Joseph takes the lead in the vineyards. Joseph farms as organically as possible but refuses to be hamstrung by dogmatically following any viticulture or winemaking philosophy. He wants the wine to speak of the vineyards from which they come.  Harvesting is manual. Damien takes the lead in the cellar. He uses only wild yeast. 50% of the production is exported to over twenty countries.

The Lieu Dit “Les Encegnieres” is a Cardonnay vineyard planted on argilo calcaire soil. The wine is aged in French oak for 10 months before slight filtration and bottling. The vineyard is located just below Batard Montrachet on the border with Puligny.

This is a rich wine, elegant with floral notes.

Suckling Pig Roulade
Pommes Duchesses, New Basil Pistou

Domaine René LeClerc Bourgogne Rouge 2009 $32.99

Domaine René LeClerc consists of 12 hectares in and around Gevrey-Chambertin, producing Gevrey-Chambertin Village, Clos Prieur, Lavaux St. Jacques 1er Cru, Champeau 1er Cru, Combeaux Moines 1er Cru, a small amount of Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru and a Bourgogne Rouge, which we tasted. In recent years, René Leclerc has gradually passed on the winemaking and management of the domaine to his son, François. A traditionalist like his father, François also brings personal experience from work in Oregon and his own vision of what his vineyards can achieve. The 15 hectares domaine is known for its old vines – 50-80 years average age – and a lush, fruity style of wine. Only small amounts of new oak are used; a maximum of 20-25% for most wines, and 50% for the Grand Cru, so that the emphasis remains on the expression of terroir through old vines.

Burghound 84-86 Points: A perfumed and very pinot nose displays only traces of warm earth that also characterize the round, supple, forward and already accessible flavors that culminate in an attractively delicious and mildly rustic if not overly complex finish.

Vivant Cheese Plate

Domaine René LeClerc Gevrey Chambertin 2010 $49.99

Charming notes of red raspberries and bing cherries, delicate flavors are supported by fittingly soft, fine-grained tannins.

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Ombiasy Wine Tours: Bordeaux Trip Coming up in September 2013

Dinner with Owner/Winemaker Eric Bonnet of Domaine La Bastide Saint Dominique, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France/USA 

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