Burgundy Less Traveled

Posted by CrushWine

When Simple and Rustic = Perfect
2007 L&A Lignier Burgundy Passetoutgrains
Playful, Delicious, Gulpable

The L&A Lignier domain owns over eight hectares of land, over half of which is Côte de Nuits premier or grand cru - impressive holdings in some of the most hallowed Pinot Noir vineyards in the world...

With all that, why even bother with little old Gamay?

To be honest, the question comes across to us a bit like asking "Why bother with mottled heirloom tomatoes?"

Why mess around with the farmers' market, with heritage breeds and vegetable esoterica? The answers to these questions, when framed this way, are obvious.

Wine, exactly like food, has a diverse and complex history, and there is an almost tangible joy in exploring and discovering the vinous road less traveled. "Passetoutgrains" is a centuries-old tradition, a blending of Pinot Noir and Gamay from vineyards up and down the Côte d'Or that creates wines that are simple, honest - humble... yet undeniably genuine and delicious.

These are wines that have an intimate scale, that are joyful and versatile. The very fact that this tradition has survived the centuries means that it must speak to something essential in us.

It doesn't hurt that these are among the most value-laden wines in all of Burgundy proper, making even plain old "Bourgogne Rouge" and Cru Beaujolais seem a bit pricey. This is for sure one of the greatest value reds of the summer - our parcel will disappear quickly.

The 2007 Lignier Passetoutgrains is a wine that speaks to a time before all the hype over star chefs, cult wines, sleek and glitzed-up meals.

You can't eat wagyu in a jacket and tie every night - there are occasions when the simplicity, the rusticity, the intimacy and purity of the ordinary are perfect - occasions when a Grand Cru, or even a serious 1er Cru just requires too much energy... when the combination of Pinot Noir’s sophistication and Gamay’s convivial bright fruit and freshness makes for a really enjoyable, really refreshing little bottle of wine.

Occasions like last Sunday afternoon in Central Park, or a couple weeks ago when a friend stopped into the neighborhood well into the witching hour, or anytime burgers are thrown onto the grill, impromptu.

The style at L&A Lignier is one of suaveness and deep, layered fruit, yet everything is buoyant, bouncy, refreshing. The 2007 vintage offers the wine a great vibrancy, coaxing surprisingly concentrated black cherry fruit out of the Pinot Noir, along with great spice and plenty of rich, dark earth elements.

The Gamay (which generally makes up aboUt two thirds of Passetoutgrains blends) lends everything lift and energy, a sort of playfulness and suppleness that drives easy drinking behind the Pinot’s silkiness and structural framework.

We are huge fans of these kinds of wines; wines that deliver simplicity with a sense of ease, a sense of graciousness and comfort. We are obviously not alone; the resurgence of interest in the great cultural diversity of food and wine has opened the doors for many unique and forgotten treasures like Passetoutgrains.

This is a wine that is both perfectly relevant today as well as exceedingly affordable refreshment. At today's pricing, we recommend taking a case to have on hand for the rest of the summer and into fall and 2011.

To place your order, please reply to this email or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Ian McFadden
Director, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits

2007 Lucie & Auguste Lignier Passetoutgrains

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