Claude Manciat - Marie Pierre Bourgogne Rouge 21

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It's always challenging to grow grapes and make wine in Burgundy. It takes tremendous dedication and an iron constitution to deal with the annual myriad of potential obstacles and pitfalls -- especially when it comes to the infinitely fussy Pinot Noir.

Burgundy's last few growing seasons and harvests have been increasingly difficult, punishing growers with a seemingly endless array of severe weather-related maladies. Along with these difficulties, the never-ending demand for these wines has kept prices rising for years. The good news is that the Bourgogne appelated bottlings still offer a way to enjoy Burgundy at very reasonable prices.

Bourgogne (Burgundy in English) appellated wines are the perfect way to enjoy Pinot Noir from Burgundy without spending a fortune. Wines with the Bourgogne designation are sourced from vineyards across the broader Burgundy region rather than specific villages or vineyard sites. This fits perfectly with my classic AWM mantra of finding a top-tier producer and drilling down to their entry-level wines. These entry-level bottlings are made with the same love, attention to detail, and quality as their more prestigious and pricey counterparts, allowing you to savor the unmistakably classic character of Pinot Noir from Burgundy at a very reasonable price.

Marie Pierre Manciat is the owner of Domaine Manciat-Poncet. Having taken over the Domaine from her father, Claude Manciat, she continues the family's multi-generational winemaking legacy in Burgundy. Marie-Pierre has significantly increased the family vineyard holdings over the years, and her property in the Mâcon winds across dozens of sustainably-farmed prime vineyards.

The Bussière vineyard in the heart of the Mâcon is planted entirely with Pinot Noir and is one of Marie Pierre's most recent additions. Facing the iconic Vergisson rock, this vineyard features a unique microclimate that successfully nurtures the super-finicky Pinot Noir plantings. The soil here is rich in limestone and clay, greatly enhancing the wine's minerality and freshness. Marie-Pierre's meticulous approach to viticulture and winemaking allows this one-of-a-kind terroir to shine!

You may remember the Clos Noly label from Marie-Pierre that I've prominently featured over the last seven or eight years. That was the original wine my late friend Craig Baker and I sourced from Marie-Pierre -- named after the family's most famous vineyard. Well, the Clos Noly vineyard and part of the surrounding area have been elevated to Premier Cru status, so we can no longer use Clos Noly for our second label project. Happily, as an homage to her father, Marie-Pierre chose "Claude Manciet" as the new label.

Marie Pierre's Claude Manciat Poncet Bourgogne is a surprisingly savory example of Pinot Noir from southern Burgundy. In your glass, this earthy light-bodied gem reads more like one of its pricier cousins from the Cote du Nuits in the north. Notes of cherry, plum, and forest floor open on the nose, leading to a focused palate of red berry wrapped in savory spice and nicely lingering hints of cherry pit.

Although light in color, this Pinot packs enough of a punch to stand up to grilled chops, lighter cuts of steak, and crisp-skinned roasted game birds. We'd also love this spicy Bourgogne with grilled tuna, salmon, and pork tenderloin. The ample structure will serve well for cellaring, and this will improve very nicely over the next 5-10 years. For maximum immediate enjoyment, decant for aeration or run through an aerator a couple of times.


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