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Wines Above $40

It's Valentine's, Buy Someone Some Burgundy

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I suppose you could spring for the usual rosé Champagne or box of fancy chocolates, but why not a bottle of Burgundy instead? I can't think of any good reason. Also, I was at the Frederick Wildman Burgundy portfolio dinner at WD-50 the other night, where I was filled with poppin-fresh Burgundy info (also with chef Wylie Dufresne's rather odd squab with butternut-squash noodles and cream soda gelée).

If the love of your life likes white, one option is to ditch him or her and find someone who likes red; another, possibly less traumatic, would be to pick up a bottle of the 2005 Domaine Christian Moreau Valmur Grand Cru Chablis ($70), which is spot-on in its Chablisiennity: a wine with volume but no oppressive weight, the wet cobbles/chalk scent characteristic of some (good) wines of the region, and crisp, mouthfilling fruit. Also mighty darn nice was the focused, intense Château Génot-Boulanger Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru La Garenne ($55), a whole lot of words to name a wine that tasted so pure it seemed to rise past words entirely.

If your friend/spouse/alien controller likes red, well then, you're already living the good life, but for a modest outlay you can make them happy with something like the 2005 Potel-Aviron Moulin-à-Vent Cuvée Exceptionelle ($27), all fragrant black raspberry and liveliness, and yet another argument towards investigating the sadly underrated world of cru Beaujolais. If you're feeling a tad more flush, on the other hand, the 2006 Domaine Humbert Frères Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Poissenot ($125) was for me the wine of the night, a very pretty G-C that you'd almost want to take on a date instead of drink, except that it's a bottle of wine and that would be conversationally depressing as the night wore on. Instead, pour yourself (or your best pal) some and enjoy its complex layers of licorice, smoke, wild berry and crisp tannin. It went pretty fabulously with the Wagyu skirt steak Dufresne cooked up. I wish I could say the same for the peanut butter "pasta" (that's right) he served with the steak, but then everybody knows that peanut butter pasta doesn't go with Burgundy. Right?

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Run with chefs and wine experts in the Celebrity Chef 5K and dance all night at Gail Simmons’ Last Bite Dessert Party during the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.