Louis Jadot, Burgundy (France) Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2005

Imported by Kobrand, $20

Most generic red burgundies taste fairly nondescript. Made from pinot noir grown outside the more prestigious appellations, they tend to lack both the subtle flavor and seductive texture that distinguishes top-notch wines from this celebrated region. Sometimes, though, especially when coming from a large but conscientious producer who is able to procure grapes from many different vineyard sites, a red bourgogne can surprise and delight. That's just what happens with this wine, made by the highly respected negociant, Louis Jadot. It offers vivid cherry fruit flavors with intriguing earthy undertones, and feels wonderfully silky on the palate. The 2005 burgundy vintage has received a great deal of hype recently, mainly from merchants who have (or will have) expensive wine to sell. But if this simple bourgogne is any indication, the publicity may well be justified.