A hearty good morning to all the Wine Spectator forums members. My name is Ciaran. I'm from Northampton, England but currently living and working in Shandong, China.

I first became interested in wine in 2011 when I watched a TV series presented Oz Clarke and James May. Since then, I have become more and more interested in the world of wine and the appreciation of a good glass. There are a few wine bars in my city here in China and some really good wines.

I love tasting wines although I really couldn't give any good tasting notes, I just savour the flavours of each of the different bottles I choose. Currently my favourite wines come from Chile and France. If I may, I'd now like to ask for some advice on storing, opening and drinking a bottle of wine that I have purchased for my 30th birthday next month. I'll try and give you all the information I can about it.

The wine in question is a pinot noir from France. The full name is 'Dufouleur Pere & Fils Cuvee Napoleon 1er Bourgogne Pinot Noir'. It's a 2009 vintage I purchased in a supermarket. I had seen this wine about 2 years ago in a another supermarket and really wanted to try it.
It was 590RMB, about 63GBP, the most expensive bottle I've ever bought,so I really want to enjoy this wine. I currently have it lying on its side in a cupboard in my living room. I am told it's a good idea to keep the cork moist though I don't know why.

To be honest, I am a complete amateur so any other advice on storing, opening, serving and tasting wine shall be listened to and very much appreciated.

Thank you.

Ciaran Bartley
Dongying, Shandong,
China
Original Post
Ciaran - welcome!

You're lucky. Where you live you can buy, sometimes very cheaply, very rare Bordeaux, Burgundy, Barolo, and so many other wines that are hard to get in the States!

Anyhow, here's some basic advice.

1. Don't worry about writing interesting tasting notes, or about writing tasting notes at all. Just enjoy the wine.

2. If you're going to store your wine for any length of time, don't let it get really hot. In other words, don't let it get much warmer than 65F for extended periods. For a few days or even weeks, that may be OK, but you don't want it at temps over like 75F for too long and the higher the temp, the less time you want it at that stage.

And you can always keep your wine in the fridge if you need to. Don't worry about drying out the cork or everything else people worry about. You won't be keeping it there for years anyway.

As far as keeping it on the side, some people think you need to do that because the wine keeps the cork moist. The other end of that equation is that the wine is continually evaporating through the cork and the bottle will eventually be empty.

My advice is not to worry about that. Keep the wine in a relatively cool place until you're ready to drink it. And when you drink it, serve it at a relatively cool temperature, not the ambient temperature of the room.
quote:
Dufouleur Pere & Fils Cuvee Napoleon 1er Bourgogne Pinot

Welcome!

That's solid advice from GregT (as always).

I took a look for your bottle of wine, because I was unfamiliar with the producer. Dufouleur produces a wide range of reds and whites in Burgundy. From what I can tell, they own quite a large number of plots throughout the Côte d'Or and they produce a number of 1er Cru wines.

They also source grapes from other growers and produce a number of AOC Bourgogne wines. These are a blend (or cuvee) of grapes from a number of sources. So they will not exhibit terrior-specific aromatics or taste, but they can still be very enjoyable bottles, especially from a good producer in a good vintage... and 2009 was indeed a good vintage.

AOC Bourgogne wines are meant to be enjoyed at a relatively young age. I don't know how long it is until the birthday in question, but there's certainly no need to cellar that wine for any longer than you already have. However, if it's keep reasonably cool and dark, you can likely store it for another few years.

As for price: it seems expensive for an AOC Bourgogne. I have no clue what the wine market is like where you are, so perhaps that's a typical price, but elsewhere you can get some very good 1er Cru Burgundy from well known and respected producers for that price. If your considering buying a bottle next time, look it up on wine-searcher.com to see what the prices are elsewhere.

Enjoy the wine journey!
If I remember right, Dufouleur Pere & Fils are négociants / merchants with additional wine production in the family (but I´m not sure those are sold under that label).

I had several 1er crus from them many years ago, which were very good. I also bought some Corton-Charlemagne (= Grand Cru) from Dufouleur, which I kept and kept and almost forgot... surely I missed its peak... at some point I decided to leave it uncorked just for sentimental reasons.
I after all opened it about 10 years late. It was deep yellow and had a nice honey smell. Despite being clearly overaged, it was surprisingly pure and clean as a drink - no off notes, more like a fine Tokaji. Quite wondersome.

On the matter of keeping the cork moist - in dry storage conditions and if kept upright the cork may shrink theoretically. At least short term I never had that happening, instead the corks rather seem to get "glued in" to the point where they are difficult to remove cleanly.
quote:
I had several 1er crus from them many years ago, which were very good. I also bought some Corton-Charlemagne (= Grand Cru) from Dufouleur, which I kept and kept and almost forgot... surely I missed its peak... at some point I decided to leave it uncorked just for sentimental reasons.
I after all opened it about 10 years late. It was deep yellow and had a nice honey smell. Despite being clearly overaged, it was surprisingly pure and clean as a drink - no off notes, more like a fine Tokaji. Quite wondersome.

How long did you leave the wine uncorked? So you intentionally let the bubbles escape and oxidized the wine? Or was that a serendipitous accident? It's an unusual thing to do but kind of interesting.
quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
How long did you leave the wine uncorked?


Sorry, I meant to write "unopened".
I just had that bottle for too long in storage... never found the right moment to open it. Then it became kind of late.
No bubbles, by the way, Corton-Charlemagne it was (= white Burgundy).
Hi, again! I'd just like to thank all of you for the amazing advice. Wine is becoming a serious thing for me now so I'm looking forward to learn more about wine and wine culture too.

As for my wine, I'm going to be drinking it very soon with a few good friends. Good wine is best enjoyed shared....sometimes! I also hope to learn a lot from you kind folks. Incidentally, I just bought a decanter. Can anyone tell me about them? I could look it up on Bing but I think you guys are far more informative and awesomer...is that even a word? heh.

Thanks again and have a wonderful day.

Oh one more thing. China has a wine by the name of 'Changyu' and actually, some of them are quite good.

Kind regards,
Ciaran.
Welcome Ciaran

Lots of good advice above so far. Re: sideways/upright. Many of us store bottles over the long term with them on their side so the cork doesn't dry out and leak air, leading to more than ideal oxidation. We also 'stand' older bottles upright for a few days/weeks before opening so that any accumulated sediment can settle on the bottom. For young wines, stored for the short term only, it doesn't matter.

Re: Notes. Taking notes is a personal thing. When first starting out with wine, I started making very general comments and keeping track of what I liked or didn't. This was for the sole purpose of discovering which regions/producers/grapes/blends/vintages.... that I enjoyed, and how to recognize what might be a good wine for me in a retail description or professional tasting note. My recommendation is to make notes on whatever makes sense to you at this point and not worry at all about what others are doing. We go for dinners. Some take notes worthy of WSET final exams. Others just enjoy the dinner. I often start out making fairly detailed notes, which deteriorate to 'YUM' or 'YUM, YUM; somewhere between wine 4 and 8 of the evening.

Welcome to the boards. Enjoy.
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