Hot off the Shelf: Don’t Forget About Burgundy

Chris Meeske of Mission Wines picks two favorites from the fabled French region

France’s fabled vineyards of Burgundy have given rise the finest Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines in the world. With nearly 100 separate appellations, if you haven’t committed to memory the names of individual growers (there can be as many as 80 from one vineyard), it helps to talk to a wine pro who can recommend specific vignerons.

Chris Meeske, president of Mission Wines in South Pasadena, is one such pro. With 25 years in the business, a decade of which he spent as the head sommelier at Patina, the experience of tasting wines from the same producer over consecutive years means he’s come to know names he can trust to deliver a quality wine, even in less favorable vintages.

Here are two of Meeske’s Burgundy picks:

Mission Wines

Photography by Jonathan Cristaldi

Chris’ Pick: Louis Jadot 2012 Domaine Gagey Ladoix “Le Clou D’Orge,” Burgundy, France ($40)
The Grapes: “100 percent Chardonnay”
The Story: “Produced by one of the most well-known and respected houses in Burgundy, this comes from the village of Ladoix in the Cote de Beaune. The vineyard borders Premier Cru vines on the northern end of the foot of the Corton hill, not far from Grand Cru vineyards in Corton and Corton Charlemagne.”
Tastes Like: “Corton-Charlemagne Light. On this east-southeast-facing slope, the fruit is exposed to the sun’s first morning rays and the resulting wine shows lots of minerality and verve—very fresh.”

Chris’ Pick: Domaine de Montille 2011 Beaune 1er Cru “Les Greves,” Burgundy, France ($90)
The Grapes: “100 percent Pinot Noir”
The Story: “De Montille produces classic, terroir-driven wines with elegance and finesse. Les Greves is named for its gravelly soils, and De Montille has one of the best parcels, in the heart of the slope. The wines are textbook Burgundy: pure, transparent expressions that age beautifully.”
Tastes Like: “The 2011 has a dense core of bright red fruit framed by elegant, structured tannins. With a little of that earthy, sois bois character in the nose, it reminds me of walking in the forest after a spring rain—when it used to rain.”

Mission Wines is expanding to create more space for tastings and inventory—so drop by and ask about those wines from Burgundy you heard about here on Hot off the Shelf.

redarrow Mission Wines, 1114 Mission St., South Pasadena, 626-403-9463