THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 7 P A R T 2 M A R C H 2 0 1 9 219
them with textiles. These rolls of cloth may cause less pollution than the
burners traditionally lit in vineyards, but it’s an expensive business that
is affordable only in the top vineyards. It apparently took seven people
seven hours to swathe Malandes’ half hectare of vines in Les Clos.2
She notes that “Burgundy prices may have doubled in the last two years
according to the Liv-ex fine-wine index while Bordeaux and Italian wine
prices have increased by only about a quarter”.3 Bad years make Burgundy
stronger than ever.
Pinot noir is a grape with a long history, having been traced back to 4 B.C.
However, it mutates readily and so the best clones must be protected
through propagation with cuttings. In Burgundy about 50 clones are
approved for wine production and most of those have been exported to
found the vineyards that produce good pinot noir in other suitable wine
regions. It is susceptible to frost, particularly late spring frosts, and it needs
a long and steady warm growing season free from heat spells and rain. Crop
yields must be reduced and care taken with the grape canopy to prevent
humid conditions but also to prevent the grapes from burning from direct
exposure to the sun. The potential heartbreaks are many, but when growing
conditions are good, the resulting wines provide the rapturous response
that de Villiers captures in his book.
But, you ask, when a Romanée-Conti sells for thousands of dollars per
bottle (online “bargains” are around $10,000), what is an impoverished
lawyer with a taste for life’s finer things to do? Fortunately, other homes
have been found for pinot noir in this world. Principal ones include the
Loire and Alsace in France; in Germany where it is known as Spätburgunder;
in the U.S. in the Willamette Valley in Oregon and the cooler areas of
California such as Carneros, Santa Barbara County and the Gavilan Mountains;
in New Zealand around Otago and Marlborough; in the cooler coastal
climates of Chile; and here in B.C., especially from Penticton northward to
Kelowna and around Okanagan Falls. When I last wrote on pinot noir there
was only a handful of B.C. winery producers. Now there are dozens who
have this wine in their product lines.
And these wines are (mostly) quite affordable. Here is a sampling. Except
for the two B.C. wines, they are available in the LDB stores, although you
may have to check one of the larger specialty stores for some. The B.C.
wines can be found in private stores or ordered online from the wineries.
JEAN-CLAUDE BOISSET LES URSULINES 2016
A.O.C. Burgundy, France #581411 $25.99
This Burgundy is from the Nuits-Saints-George in the Côte d’Or. The winery
is in former Ursuline convent. Hence the name. Quite young still, this wine