An elegant pinot noir awaits you in a glass of the 2006 Nicolas Potel Bourgogne Rouge Cuvee Gerard Potel.
Pinot noir is the only red grape permitted to be planted in the Cote de Beaune and Cote de Nuits areas of Burgundy, France. Known as the Cote-d’Or (the golden slopes or hills), pinot noir reaches both its apex and nadir, its most heart-throbbing and most disappointing, a near ransom and a best value from the soil and winemakers of this compact region. The 2006 Cuvee Gerard Potel is personal, pleasing and persistent.
It is personal because Potel works directly with his grape growers to control every aspect of the viticulture. He assumed his father’s negociant business when Gerard Potel died suddenly in 1997. Negociants are buyers of grapes or fermented juice who complete the winemaking, then bottle and market it. They are an ancient and key business in Burgundy, producing some of the most sought-after wines in the Cote-d’Or.
Bourgogne Rouge is the basic red wine of the region. In the hands of a passionate winemaker and from a good vintage like the 2006, it can rise high above basic. Potel’s dedication to excellence includes using fruit in the Cuvee Gerard Potel from organic vineyards and vines ranging from 20 to 86 years old.
Potel sourced his fruit from the legendary villages of Pommard and Volnay in the Cote de Beaune; Chambolle-Musigny and Vosne-Romanee in the Cote de Nuits; as well as the respected appellations of Chorey-les-Beaune, Maranges and Marsannay — not the places where run-of-the-mill negociants go for Bourgogne Rouge grapes.
The Cuvee Gerard Potel is pleasing because Potel sorts the fruit from each bunch, removing inferior grapes after a September 2006 harvest, and than begins a maceration, fermentation and aging process that lasts until October 2007. A mix of new and used barrels and casks are employed to give the wine complexity while minimizing the oak influence.
The result is a bright raspberry color, with more body, fruit aroma and flavor than normally found in Bourgogne Rouge wines. The 2006 Cuvee Gerard Potel has an immediate appeal of black cherry-raspberry flavors with soft tannins and balancing acidity giving the wine a long, persistent and pleasing finish.
I enjoyed the 2006 Cuvee Gerard Potel with roast suckling pig and braised kale. It would also be a delightful companion with veal, quail or salmon, or spring’s arrival of shad and shad roe.
The 2006 Nicolas Potel Bourgogne Rouge Cuvee Gerard Potel retails for about $24.