I adore Burgundies … good ones … but only some strike a special emotional note that assures them a place in my heart, along with a strong desire for another glass of the delightful nectar.
But what is it that provokes this unique feeling one could define as an emotional connection to the wine? Or in more poetic French: What is a vin d’émotion?
It’s clearly not simple, and I have therefore decided to explore what constitutes a true vin d’émotion. Let’s take a closer look at its essence.
As the name suggests, a wine of emotion is a wine that appeals to one’s emotions, not only to the intellect. The wine follows no standard or formula, and requires time and tranquility for enjoyment. It becomes a unique experience that goes beyond – sometimes far beyond – the simple perception of aromas and flavours and degrees of alcohol: It is the underlying essence of wine that is revealed, in all its splendor and hedonistic joy.
This may sound far-fetched and beyond reach, but in reality I would hazard that most collectors and wine lovers have experienced this feeling sometime in their wine life.
The emotional wine
I have discussed this topic with many tasters over the last couple of years, and while it is complex, it does strike a chord with – especially – experienced Burgundy lovers, who know and understand that Burgundy is a lot more than points and ratings.
An emotional wine should spark energy, induce a feeling of joy and hedonistic satisfaction, and touch you on an emotional level, as opposed to feelings of greatness or being impressed by high numbers of points.
Emotional wines – and this is where it gets more complex – also produce a certain emotional bond to the wine and its vineyard that leads to a deeper, personal experience of the wine.
Emotional wines are often made by vignerons with a strong, individual expression, rather than a focus on technical perfection and control. They could even be wines that are made “close to the edge,” and with less control.
My Vins d’émotion
I have tasted many wines that I consider emotional, but to say they are discovered on a daily basis would be a huge exaggeration.
To get the discussion rolling, I will reveal a few of my vins d’émotion.
The most recent example is from my November trip to Burgundy, where I tasted a tremendous white Burgundy made from Pinot Blanc … or should I say Pinot Gouges.
The Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos des Porrets St-Georges Blanc is one of the very rare whites made by Domaine Henri Gouges from the special variant of Pinot Blanc known as Pinot Gouges, after the estate.
The 2014 vintage of this wine, with its airy, intense, complex, hazelnut bouquet, vivid minerality and citrus-infused fruit, made the Winehog take off and almost hit the roof of the charming old house within one of the Vosne clos.
This airy and complex sensation really surprised me – thrilled me – with its fine notes and adorable expression.
To be honest, Pinot Blanc (or Pinot Gouges) has never before elicited strong passion or craving from the Winehog. But in this case I wanted to squeeze every last drop out of the bottle, and then call Gouges to have more delivered! A true vin d’émotion.
The experience with the Pinot Gouges really got me thinking, as Henri Gouges is not the first producer I normally think of when I want a vin d’émotion.
I do like the Gouges wines, but for me they are not normally emotional wines or wines of passion, and they often appeal more to my intellectual side.
So I started to think about producers that regulary create emotional wines, where the experience and consequent infatuation are likely to occur.
The first name that popped into the Winehog’s brain was Domaine Bizot in Vosne-Romanee.
Jean-Yves Bizot produces wines that float above and alongside other Burgundies, giving my enjoyment of pinot room: room for the ultimate hedonistic pleasure, the “I want more, I want it now” feeling; the feeling of depth, terroir, yet also the feeling of weightless and effortless enjoyment.
Yes: Jean-Yves Bizot and Domaine Bizot do make vins d’émotion.
In the future I will award the vins d’émotion with the Winehog heart below .. as a signal of special qualities.