Vin ordinaire … try to say it as the French do and you can almost hear the snobbery dripping from your voice. Who wants wine advisor extra … ordinary?
Sometimes “ordinary” simply means “customary,” “usual” or just plain “normal,” something we enjoy every day when everything is going along just fine. Which brings us to today’s featured wine, a tasty, comfortable, and yes, ordinary Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire.
Burgundy’s everyday wine, the generic bottle that folks from Villefranche-sur-Saône all the way north to Tonnerre enjoy at the table with their everyday meal, may be ordinary by name, but it can be extraordinary in enjoyment. Made to go with food and intended to be affordable, it’s the vinous equivalent of the comfort foods we remember from childhood.
As any Burgundy should, the red Ordinaire has some Pinot Noir in it. But unlike the pricey brand, it may blend in other, “lesser” grapes, even Gamay of Beaujolais, which thus makes its way back into Burgundy after Duke Philippe the Bold banned it in 1395. (Geeks will want to know that César or Tressot grapes may go into the red Ordinaire, while the white version may add Aligoté, Melon de Bourgogne and Sacy to Burgundy’s traditional Chardonnay.)
Louis Chavy Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire – Wine Advisor
Some sources argue that “Grand” Ordinaire was originally intended for church use, while the ordinary ordinaire was for the common folk; other references say the term “Grand” is merely a size reference, as grapes for this wine may come from anywhere in the large swath of eastern France that incorporates Bourgogne.
Today’s featured wine advisor, Louis Chavy 2010 Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire, is a blend of 67% Gamay and 33% Pinot Noir. Dark and fresh, it offers red berry scents and flavors, intriguing minerality and crisp, food-friendly acidity. My local $ 13 price approaches the higher end of its range and may stretch the meaning of “ordinary” just a bit, but in my opinion it’s well worth the toll.