Matt and Michael Attend a Red Burgundy Wine Tasting of 12 Wines at Somm Cellars on 9/28

Michael and I had the distinct pleasure to attend a red Burgundy tasting recently at Somm Cellars, a lovely wine shop located in Waterline Plaza on the Upper West Side at 59th street and Riverside Blvd. As the sheets with the list of wines shows, the vintages were from 2010 to 2020.

Red Burgundy is a favorite of ours and it was with anticipation that we looked forward to discovering some older vintages than we normally don’t get to taste.

As there were about 30 people there, a couple of people were pouring. We actually started with a 2021 Bourgogne which was not on the list, but we noted it as 1A. It was definitely very young and probably needed more time. The fact that it was just a Bourgogne (meaning the classification was from a generic Burgundy wine and not from a specific area in Burgundy, that would require it to be designated as a village AOC).

We worked the list backwards, starting with the #11 wine, a 2010 which we rated to be the lowest (5 on a scale of 10) according to my own personal preference. Bear in mind my rating could change depending on what order I’ve tasted each wine or just my preference that day. I liked the 2011 and 2012 better as I rated them 7.5 and 7 respectively. The 2013 was a challenging year and was not a likeable as the ’11 or ’12 vintage. 2014 was decent and poured from a Magnum, so it probably was aging a bit slower than a 750ml bottle.

I have a soft spot in my palate for any Morey St. Denis. So, I rated the 2015 my third highest at an 8. It had a bit more fruit than the prior vintages and the weather was hot so that probably helped give it a more fruit forward profile than the older vintages I tasted.

A note here from Michael, who agrees with me most of the time, but does not have a numeric scale, but he definitely agreed with me on the 2015, which had some very nice fruit up front, and a reasonable finish.

Then, with a different pourer, we started in the opposite direction with the 2020, which was a hot year, and a really dark purple color, and was 13% alcohol.  I liked it very much with a 7.5, while Michael did not really like it. See what I mean – we don’t always agree!

The 2019 was my favorite! The vintage had a 30-50% loss of yield because of frost. This made the grapes that remained more concentrated, thus more complex and for my palate much more interesting. I gave it an 8.5. (BTW, I had this a second time, and I loved the funky nose of this wine after it had been opened a bit longer). Believe it or not, Michael agreed with me that this was the best wine of the night!

The 2018 was very nice. It was a hot and dry year with a lot of sun and an early harvest. This was a 7.5 for me.   Overall, I rated this the 4th best wine of the night, while Michael rated it the 3rd best for him.  The 2017 was blessed with perfect weather, and had a nose similar to black tea, and was very approachable to drink now, but it didn’t quite do it for me, and I rated it a 7, and again, Michael agreed with me.

Finally, my second favorite was the 2016. It was a cold and rainy year with cold nights, producing lower acidic and was a very clean tasting wine.  I think this gave the wine its character and made it more interesting for me than most of the other vintages. I gave it an 8.25. Michael also agreed with me and rated this his 2nd best choice of the tasting.  Admittedly, this was the 10th wine he had tasted in the evening, but we did spit from time to time, and so we were still pretty clear eyed at that point, and with some water in between tasting each wine, we still were able to discern the differences in each of the wines. At least, we thought so?

We learned how important the weather is for the vintage and how it determines when the wine is harvested, how thick or how thin the grapes are, how structured are the tannins, and how soon you might want to drink the wine, or how long you might want to put it down to see how it ages and tastes over time.

The other thing we learned from this tasting is that both of us tend to like slightly younger wines that are fruit forward, fresh, energetic, have a bit of a funky nose, with a long finish. We particularly like it when each time you sip the wine again and again, the taste continues to change ever so slightly!

Want to read more about what we each thought of each wine? Click here for Michael Gansl’s tasting notes and click here for Matt Plociak’s tasting notes.

Michael Gansl Holds First Wines Of Reason Wine Tasting Event With 9 California and Oregon Wines

We tasted nine wines plus we started with a Sharffenberger Sparkling wine from Mendocino, California to open up our palettes.

The goal was to compare the Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from the Sonoma Coast, Santa Barbara, Paso Robles/Sta. Rita Hills and the Willamette Valley/Oregon and understand the expression of the two varietals in each region, and compare their similarities and differences.

It was a great evening for all, and I could tell which wines people enjoyed most, by seeing how much or how little was left in each bottle!

Want to learn more about what wines we drank? Click here for our tasting list and click here for a tasting notes worksheet.