Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
We all know hail. It always seems kind of fun, or at least surprising, those little pellets of ice dropping from the sky and bopping off the pavement.
“Huh,” you think, “Look at that...hail! What the heck?”
People in Burgundy don’t feel quite the same way about hail. I was made aware of this one time a few years back when I went to meet a Burgundian winemaker at his estate. I pulled in and parked next to his car, and did a double take: It looked like someone had attacked the thing with a ball-peen hammer. The hood, roof, trunk, everything was covered in quarter- to half-dollar size divots.
“What happened to your car?” I asked him.
“Hail,” he said, in a tone that would have made Eeyore seem cheery.
Unfortunately, the Burgundians are all fairly despondent at the moment, thanks to a severe hailstorm that hit the region this past Tuesday. Hailstones the size of ping-pong balls decimated vineyards in the Côte de Beaune, with some growers losing up to 90% of their crop. This is particularly disheartening because the region also had to deal with major hailstorms last year as well, and for a small-scale grape grower, losing two vintages in a row is financially catastrophic. So, why not help out by picking up a bottle or two of Burgundy? Here are a handful of the best values from the region, both white and red:
2010 Laroche Bourgogne Chardonnay Tête de Cuvée ($18)
2011 Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc Les Sétilles ($20)
2011 Maison Joseph Drouhin Laforet Bourgogne Rouge ($16)
2010 Maison Roche de Bellene Bourgogne Pinot Noir ($19)
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