If you look closely at the label for Sylvain Langoureau’s Hautes Cotes de Beaune Rouge you will see written in gold letters, Clos Marc. Clos Marc is a four-acre vineyard that sits above St. Aubin. The vineyard belongs to a friend of Sylvain’s who had bought the property and wasn’t sure if the vineyard was at all viable. They nicknamed the vineyard The Jungle for it had been terribly neglected and overrun by weeds. Sylvain agreed to help his friend try to nurse this vineyard back to life and after a couple years, the vineyard was once again thriving. I just love happy endings! Sylvain’s 2010 Hautes Cotes De Beaune is an Old World charmer. It is light-bodied, labeled at 12% alcohol, and is a drinkable-now Pinot Noir that is less about power and more about delicate aromatics. The fruit profile is saturated with tart cherry with a good measure of puckering cranberries. The savory, saliva-inducing acidity makes it sing all the more at the table. Again, this isn’t a flashy wine; it is honest and pure. I had a glass last evening with a cornmeal crusted pizza with sausages and mushrooms. The 2010 Clos Marc’s freshness and acidity cut through the fat of the cheese and sausage. This is how wine should marry with food and not compete. If you were to imagine a roadside restaurant in Burgundy where coq au vin was the house specialty then you would expect to be served a wine like the Langoureau Hautes Cotes De Beaune.
Nearly finished here and I can’t believe that I haven’t yet pointed out that by the case the 2010 Hautes Cotes De Beaune from Langoureau comes in under $20. It may be hard to believe, but believe it! TWH imported the ’08 and it sold out almost immediately. We bought double that for ’09 and that sold out instantly. The 2010 has just landed and though we have purchased what we did for ’08 and ’09 combined, based on what I know of our savvy, discerning customers, I wouldn’t bet on the ‘10 being around for long either. —Anya Balistreri