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Burgundy versus Piedmont 19/09/2004 (TNB)

Slow food Edinburgh organised a big wine event recently in the splendid setting of the Botanic Gardens where we tasted seven pairs of wines, each pair consisting of one Piedmont wine and one from Burgundy. These always strike me as broadly comparable wine regions and (having had a small role in the organisation) I hope everybody found something interesting in the comparisons.

I don't think seasoned winos will have learned very much at the macro-level, but the individual wines were mainly of high quality. We had only one pair of whites, given that this isn't really a Piedmont speciality. Even so a St Veran versus a typically unassertive yet decently concentrated Arneis illustrated the Italian predeliction for undemonstrative whites.

On reds, I think Dolcetto versus Beaujolais is interesting. I've been known to call the former "thinking man's Beaujolais" because of the slightly more serious air that Dolcetto's tannins give the wine. To my mind you have to go to one of the Beaujolais Crus (like the good Dubeouf Fleurie we had) to match the Italian competition. And what of Nebbiolo's from Barolo and Barbaresco versus Burgundy? The former are generally harder work and lack the immediate appeal of good Burgundy. What the two areas have in common is the tremendous perfume of the best examples that when you find first-rate examples you are drinking some of the very best red wine in the world.


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