With their centuries-old tradition, the wines of Burgundy are often superb but rarely inexpensive. And so what passes for value is a relative matter.
For Burgundy, $25 is a very fair price for a wine of real quality, and this 2015 Bourgogne Rouge "Cuvée de l'Oncle Paul" from Jean-Louis Moissenet-Bonnard in Pommard is a fine reminder of what a genuine entry-level Burgundy can offer: a pinot noir with finesse, power, complexity, and character. Named in honor of owner Jean-Louis Moissenet's great-great-uncle Paul Girardin, the grapes are harvested, sorted, and destemmed by hand from 30- to 45-year-old vines, then aged for a year in oak barrels.
The result is a wine that delivers a blast of ruby-hued freshness, but also dynamic flavors that evolve and shift seamlessly on the tongue. The classic aroma of violets hovers in the glass as the wine lands at first sip with a lean elegance. But then it blossoms mid-palate with a fruity pop of ripe cherries, softened by oaky tones of cocoa, and then opens up again with a mouthwatering acidity of red fruit to an earthy, dusky finish that has a structure Pommard is known for. At 13 percent alcohol, it's extremely balanced and food-friendly, good for gamier poultry like duck, dishes with a little spice, or even a simple steak. And when I get to the end of that plate and find myself pouring another glass to sip, as I did with Uncle Paul's red, that is the ultimate vote from me as to whether a wine delivers fair value.
— Craig LaBan