14 January 2015

Tasting and buying wine in Irancy (3)

These were my second thoughts about spending 15 euros a bottle for that Pinot Noir red wine: Why wasn't there a price list? How did I know how much such wines really sold for? Burgundy wines can be very expensive, but what about the little-known Irancy wines?

Basically, I wondered whether the man pouring wines for people who seemed to be his buddies just pulled a price out of thin air when I asked to buy the Palotte wine. Was he thinking he had found two suckers? Did I end up financing the drinking that the group was engaged in? Was it because we had said we were Americans? I hated having those doubts and thoughts.

I thought about it all the next day. Then it occurred to me that I might find some information about Irancy and the Podor wines on the Internet. Duh! We were busy, and I wasn't thinking straight. I had a tablet computer with me, and we had a wifi connection in the gite (it was slow but operational). That evening I connected and started searching.

After a few minutes, I found Stéphan Podor on a web page describing different Burgundy wine areas and producers. It turns out he is the mayor of Irancy! That made me feel better. The mayor of a village is unlikely to be engaged in shady business practices. His reputation would be on the line.

An Irancy wine that we bought for 7 or 8 € in a supermarket in Tonnerre

The man who had been running the cellar the afternoon of our visit was definitely not Stéphan Podor, however. He was too young. Maybe he was the son of the mayor, or an employee. I decided it didn't really matter. I never did find a price list for the Podor wines on the internet though. I did find mention of the Palotte parcel of vines at Irancy, confirming that it was the most prestigious parcels there. That made me feel better.

Until a couple of days ago, I mean. Here it is, and the 2012 Palotte wine is listed at 15 euros. Podor has only an acre in the Palotte « climat » — that's what vineyard parcels are called in Burgundy. The rest of the Palotte vines are owned and worked by other vignerons. Here's the Wikipedia article in French about the Irancy AOC.

Stéphan Podor's price list, found on a web site

I guess my doubts and worries all turned out to be much ado about nothing, and I could again feel good about the whole experience. It was certainly memorable. We opened some of the Podor bottles at different points during the end-of-year holidays, and we realized it was really too young to drink in 2014 or 2015. As I said in a comment to Judy yesterday, decanting it helped. Decanting lets an immature (or any other) wine breathe quickly and takes the any sharp edges off the taste. I still have some 2012 Podor Palotte in the cellar and I'll age it for a while longer.


  1. Glad your worries are over. 15 euro per bottle is steep indeed, especially as you bought it straight from the vigneron. Wonder what it would cost in the supermarket. I suppose you didn't try/buy their Crémant? Crémant de Bourgogne is quite nice, but I prefer the Chenin Vouvray bubbly. Martine

    1. By American standards, 15€ ($20 U.S.) is not necessarily a high price for a nice bottle of wine, but then in the U.S. wine is a luxury product. I don't think we had any Crémant when we were in Burgundy -- we were enjoying the Chablis, Irancy, and other still wines including Passe-Tout-Grains. I think the Irancy that we did buy in a supermarket cost about 8 euros.

      When we go to Jean-Noël's cave down the road, we can buy a very nice blanc doux (Chenin) for about 3 euros.

  2. Never spoil an experience with such doubts. In five years time you will remember the experience but not the cost, which in five years time may seem cheap. I can well imagine they may overprice their wine for Americans, but not for French speaking Americans who are residents.

  3. Gotta love the internet for research. You picked out the creme de la creme in Irancy, I'm impressed. It also made a good story for telling. Most people are honest, thank goodness.

  4. Ken, thoroughly enjoyed your posts. I've purchased many bottles of wine when travelling abroad only to discover, after returning home, that they weren't ready to drink. I'd prefer to let time improve the quality but when I just can't wait (which is often), I've found that using an aerator (Vinturi and others) moves things along quite nicely. TerryM


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?