Wine Behind The Photo #5 Santenay

Santenay was the final village we visited as part of our two weeks holiday in Burgundy, 2017, and the reason I am writing about it now is because I have just opened a bottle of what we bought that day. Now, just over 3 years later, we are reliving these past memories as we share a tasting with our neighbours using FaceTime. But first, back to Santenay in 2017.

It was just after lunch, mid afternoon, and we drove the few miles to Santenay from our base in Meursault, taking the narrow road through the miles and miles of vines and passing through the more famous village ……. and more expensive ……. of Puligny Montrachet. The tasting room of Domaine Mestre Pere et Fils is in the centre of Santenay in the market square and we were welcomed and offered a tasting of their full range of red and white wines.

Thankfully I wasn’t driving today and so could taste the lot, and I took full advantage of 3 reds and 6 whites, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay respectively including a number of Premier Crus. One of the things I was looking for was to find a wine that was made from vines bordering Chassagne Montrachet vines so that the terroir would be as near as damn-it the same as much more expensive wines. This is always a good tactic in France and I have succeeded doing this especially in Chablis. Anyway, I failed this time but still found an extremely good value wine in Premier Cru Beaurepaire 2013 which I bought and loaded into my cellar app VinoCell.

The full range!
The tasting
The decision

And so forward to the present, we opened a bottle as part of our FaceTime social interaction with close neighbours, now 3+ years later. On first opening it this wine was really acidic, but it subsided within a few minutes. I had been chatting to my sommelier friend Danell at Vinthropology earlier about the role of aesthetics in wine tasting and had said that I find it quite difficult to separate the sensory from the cognitive, because immediately I tasted this wine, I think of the day I first tasted and bought it in Santenay. I also have nearby Meursault as my benchmark for Burgundian chardonnay so tend to make immediate comparisons. I found this wine to be slightly oaked and possibly having had malolactic fermentation too. It was however a typical Burgundian Chardonnay with butteriness, light vanilla and maybe peach too. That’s about as far as my palate sends sensory signals to my brain! But I do wonder if it needed more time for all of the flavours to develop? Too late, all gone!

More tales like this in my new book published on Amazon …. It’s Not About The Wine. Find it on the Amazon site of your own country.

Categories: Burgundy, Wine

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8 replies

  1. Congratulations on the publication of your book!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post and oh! those names. They cling to the tongue as the wine does. This article took me back to my very first wine tasting in France. I didn’t really know what I was tasting/drinking as my excitement at being there was at such a pitch. I was young, but already knew that wine was going to be part of my life and I could have been drinking ribena for all I knew, but to me it tasted of ambrosia. I have always had a drawback at wine tastings though, as my sense of smell was badly damaged in a car crash in my teens and it has never recovered so I miss much of the fragrance. Anyway, thanks for a lovely trip down memory lane and a reminder of what fun France can be, and will be, post-covid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m looking forward to a tour of English vineyards ……. Winbirri, Gusbourne, Stopham ….. they don’t quite sound as good yet but their wines are brilliant 🍷🍾🍷🍾


  3. I chuckled at your comment to Girl in Niagara – ‘red wine that would strip the varnish off most furniture.’ I think most of us fall into that category, so thank you for furthering my education and I hope your neighbors don’t read your blog! The flavors you describe for the bottle you opened are exactly how I want Chardonnay to taste. My question today; how do you know when is the right time to open? We have a tendency to keep ‘special bottles’ too long and have spoiled more than one sensory visit to a beautiful place and time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Suzanne thank you for your most welcome comment. My neighbours know fine well what I write, we all get on great, in fact it’s my birthday today and they’re coming round for a couple of bottles, but …. it’s a premier cru Pommard for me …. and a basic Rioja for them 🤣. Judging a wine for readiness is complex, first ask the winemaker, second know your grapes countries and regions. So, I know that Chenin Blanc is long ageing but especially if from Savennieres in France. Then, Chardonnay from the Côte d’Or is long ageing, so is Chablis but less so, and less again from most but not all of Australia. Easier to explain if we were tasting together. I grade wines on a personal 5 star scale where 5 star means ageing quality. And, I always buy at least 6, then open one per year to test them

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting post Dr. B. I’m still thinking about the miles and miles drive along vineyard lanes. That wine and experience are now forever intertwined in your brain creating magic from the sensory. Lovely!

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    • I think that “memory” is the real stand-out feature essential to wine appreciation. We often have these neighbour wine tastings which have been a saviour of our sanity during Covid lockdowns. But a real feature of them is that our neighbours have zero wine memory, they have never visited vineyards, never explored different grapes or countries and so having a wider conversation on the aesthetics of anything we are tasting quite impossible. Mostly they drink very cheap red wine that would strip the varnish off most furniture! Nothing wrong with that and I don’t criticise them for it, but it is a significant difference between us regarding the cultural experiences we can easily share to engage with some people, but with others it’s a complete void, despite the fact that everyone drinks wine.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re absolutely right about that Dr. B. Wine is a fascinating beverage. The history, the science, the natural elements, and sensory appreciation all play a wonderful part. You’re quite right in your assessment of wine drinkers. They are as prolific as the beverage itself. I suppose appreciation is up to each individual’s preference and palate, though I will say I enjoy the sensory awakenings and the many memories that come with the first sip. Thank you for your reply.


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