“Pretty” is nice, soothing, harmonious, agreeable, often delicate, and easy to grasp. But it doesn’t have depth, complexity, or mystery. Lately, I’ve been tasting too many pretty Pinots—mostly from Oregon, a few from California. Who decreed that Pinot Noir must be all fresh, perky,preened, and perfumey like a show dog—I call them poodle wines. They’re enough to make me give up on Pinot Noir.
While in the depths of despair about “Pinots these days”, I spotted one from Fixin on a restaurant menu, and I jumped at it. Fixin (pronounced fee-sin) shows the more rustic side of Burgundian Pinot Noir. Tough but delicate, if the winemaker manages to tame the tannins so you don’t have to lay it down for 10 years, a Fixin usually delivers. And for the price, the Mongeard-Mugneret is a bargain.
Fresh, vibrant red raspberry and cranberry aromas predominate, but lovely background aromas of freshly turned earth and subtle herbal notes give this wine depth. There is enough flesh on the the palate to keep the California fans from complaining too loudly and plenty of acidity to make your cassoulet sing. The finish is lengthy for Pinot Noir.
Fixin is a lesser known appellation in Burgundy bordering the better-known Gevrey Chambertin. There are good bargains to be their found because of its lesser reputation.
Wine reps are always describing Oregon Pinots as “Burgundian”. Nothing could be further from the truth. A good Burgundy is no “poodle wine.” Sure it will be fresh but it will have plenty of earth, mushroom, truffles, barnyard, or just plain funk to give it some gravitas.