Interview with Shawn Dore (DWS, Sommelier) Official Bourgogne Wines Instructor

by JJ Buckley Fine Wines

JJ Buckley Fine Wines, the premier fine wine retailer for high-end wine, has partnered with the Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB), in a joint effort to educate consumers about Bourgogne wines throughout the US. To highlight those efforts, JJ Buckley had the distinct pleasure of conducting an interview about Bourgogne wines with Shawn Dore, (DWS, Sommelier) Official Bourgogne Wines Instructor.

When and how did you fall in love with Bourgogne?

Early on in my career I sold wine for a boutique distributor who's focus was Oregon. We had eleven producers. Thus the beginning of my love affair with Pinot Noir. The holy grail for me has always been Bourgogne. Bourgogne has offered me an ongoing discovery of the influence of terroir vs. the human influence. This allure never disappoints.

What is the most challenging request you have received as a Sommelier?

Actually, Bourgogne wines are known as friends of the Sommelier. Wines that can dance with many food pairings. Often they can build a bridge between guests that have chosen very different dishes and want to share one wine. I would say that when the food pairing is very challenging, there is a good option to meet the challenge from Bourgogne.

What Bourgogne wines are you most excited about right now? And why? What would be your best pairing recommendation for each wine?

There have been some incredible recent vintages. Lately I have been enjoying 2009 reds from the regional appellation Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits. Also, reds from Savigny-les-Beaune, and whites from Saint-Aubin and Rully. When digging into the cellar recently I found a 2002 Nuits Saint-Georges, Les Saint-Georges that we enjoyed with duck breast. One of my all-time favorite wine and food pairings is Oysters and Chablis.

What do you currently think is the best value Bourgogne wine?

I think with all the recent desirable vintages, there is great value and fun to explore the Regional and Village Appellation wines. There is interesting development in the Maconnais, with appellations like Saint-Véran, Viré Cléssé, with producers taking a more sustainable approach that is resulting in delicious whites.

If you could only pick one bottle of Bourgogne which one would you select? And why?

Bourgogne offers so many delicious wines that I have a very hard time making one choice. Of course we all want to enjoy the Grands Cru's, the reflection of grapes that are grown on the most desirable sites. A wine I find magical is Bonnes Mares Grand Cru. The yin yang of power, elegance and finesse is forever alluring. With the majority of wine made in Bourgogne derived from two grapes, either Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, the great amount of diversity Bourgogne offers based on terroir (the immediate environment of the vine) makes it a treasure to explore appellations that aren’t as well known such as Marsannay or Ladoix for any wine lover.