Shana Speaks Wine

Wine Marketing Consultant and Journalist

Drinking out loud. 

What's In Your Suitcase?

I pride myself on my packing skills and can pretty much go anywhere with just a carry-on. Over time, I've learned how to edit so it's just myself and a bag on a plane. When I see people in the airport with an entire luggage train, I wonder, what could they possibly be carrying?

On a recent Friday night, one of my favorite wine stores, Le Du, hosted a last minute tasting of Burgundy wines from producer Benjamin Leroux of Maison Benjamin Leroux and Comte Armand.  Apparently, he was in the country for a visit and had a ton of wine with him - did the shop want to host a tasting? Forget the extra pairs of shoes, that's the kind of overpacking I want to do.

When we arrived, the tasting was well underway and a crowd bunched around a table lined with 11 wines. Seven of the wines were available in the store plus four "bonus" wines, two of which were  premier crus.  I wasn't able to note all, but below are some highlights.







Maison Benjamin Leroux Auxey Duresse Blanc 2010
Pale yellow in the color, the nose showcased some citrus fruits, slate, minerality and a twee bit of oak.  With the first sips, the wine showcased a moderate acidity and similar flavors to the nose.  The slight bit of oak persisted, which I personally found a little off-putting. However, it was restrained enough to not be confused with a California chardonnay.

Maison Benjamin Leroux Chassagne Montrachet Abbaye de Morgeot 2010
With this wine, lime is the name of the game:  lime fruits and limestone notes dominated the glass. There was more minerality in this one than the Auxey Duresse and the oak was absent. Again, the wine expressed a moderate acidity and was wonderfully balanced; here's a beautiful example of a white Burgundy.

Maison Benjamin Leroux Volnay Mitans 2010
Black cherry, strawberry, violets and bit of ash were immediately noticed when we smelled the wine and after sipping through, the fruits came through again.  It was traditionally light bodied structured with moderate tannins.  This was a very elegant wine - a real pinkie lifter.

Comte Armand Pommard 1er Cru clos des Epeneaux 2010
"Purple" was the first word that came to mind with this wine.  Black cherry, plum and violets joined green pepper, rosemary and other herbaceous notes in the nose.  On the tongue, the fruits burst with bing cherry, blueberries and super-ripe plums.  The herbs planted themselves back into earthy notes and  you could taste the all the vineyard components with each sip.  Truly a stunning wine.

Comte Armand Pommard 1er Cru clos des Epeneaux 1999
This is the oldest Burgundy I have ever consumed and was a prime example of how a wine ages.  Fruit was almost nonexistent in this wine and instead earth, tobacco, ash and a muskiness pervaded. An odd scent of sour milk also wafted through, though it was muted. On the tongue, I had to dig around for a bit to find traces of violets and overripe plums. The noticeable tannins gave this wine quite a bit of structure.  Crazy-complex and a good indicator of what its younger sibling is going to taste in a few years.

Keep tasting, friends...