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Published: Tuesday, 1/7/2003

Good news for burgundy fans

Burgundy lovers rejoice!

Two indisputably classic burgundies, one red, one white, have appeared on our shelves with very reasonable price tags hanging about their necks. Both carry a distinguished name, Antonin Rodet (“roh-day”), that emerged into prominence in the late 19th century; today, the family firm is the largest grower in Burgundy.

From the 2000 vintage - a good year in southeast France - Rodet has shipped us two classic burgundies, a 100 percent chardonnay, Chateau de Rully, and a 100 percent pinot noir, Chateau de Chamirey. Both are elegant wines, big and complex.

The Rully is aromatic, reminiscent of fresh mint and tangy citrus; from these robust scents the wine expands on the palate, uncovering an emphatic character that balances acid and innocence, partly barrel-aged, partly steel. The asking price is $19.

My bias is red, but even so I believe the Chamirey is objectively quite as satisfying as much more expensive and widely renowned burgundies. It is intense, the aroma and flavor as deep and ingratiating as the deep cherry color that may exaggerate one's sense of kirsch in the nose and the palate. It is quite dry, of course, but the spicy fruit that emerges as the wine opens up makes one think it almost sweet, surely rich and redolent of chocolate, with a hint of tobacco. The recommended price is $23, a bargain.


More than 50 years ago the members of the California Wine Institute adopted a voluntary code of advertising standards acknowledging their social responsibility. The provisions of the code applied only to voluntary subscribers, which, I've been told, meant almost all California wineries.

Guideline 4f. says, wine advertising by code subscribers shall not “Use traditional heroes of the young such as those engaged in . . . occupations having a particular appeal to persons below the legal drinking age. (For example, cowboys, race car drivers, rock stars, etc.)”

It was nine years ago, I believe, that I strongly objected to a Mario Andretti label on a special issue of Sebastiani wine. “Well,” their spokesman said, “he doesn't race any more.”

But his name and fame linger on, for fans of one of the country's most popular spectator sports, auto racing.

Now it's no longer Sebastiani or a name on a label, but wines from Andretti Winery, 53 Napa acres. The press release says, in large letters, “Oh Yeah, He Also Races Cars.”

I saw an Andretti label on the wine list in an area restaurant recently.

It bothers me as much now as it did then to see a sports figure popular with young people using his name and fame to sell alcohol.

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