Buying Wine, Random Musings

Kosta Browne does not taste like Burgundy. Get over it.

Kosta Browne is not Burgundy

We are right in the middle of Fall mailing list season and I expect the Kosta Browne Single Vineyard Pinot Noir mailer to hit my inbox within the next month or so. This will lead to the annual threads on and where invariably a handful of Kosta Browne mailing list members will pass on their allocation because “Kosta Browne does not taste like Burgundy.”

Listen, I have room in my cellar for great Burgundies and great California Pinot Noir. I don’t expect them to taste alike, nor do I want them to.

I’m a huge fan of the wines from Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier in the Côte de Nuits. In the 2007 vintage, the wines range in price from about $80 for the Chambolle-Musigny to more than $500 for the Musigny Grand Cru. The wines evoke flavors of mineral, crushed stones, forest floor, mushrooms, flowers, dark fruits and are accompanied with a wall of substantial tannins. They can age effortlessly for at least a decade.

In the fantastic 2007 California Pinot Noir vintage, Kosta Browne released at least eight different wines, ranging in price from $50 for the Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley to $72 for the single vineyard wines like Kanzler, Keefer and Kopen. The wines are lush with hedonistic fruit – raspberries, strawberries, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla are just a few of the descriptors that come to mind. The wines are unapologetically Californian in style, and their fruit forward approach makes them easy to enjoy shortly after they are released.

So back to my original point.

There are very few California Pinot Noirs that deserve to be considered Burgundian in style. If you want a Pinot Noir that tastes like a Burgundy, go shop in the Burgundy aisle at your local wine store.

Do the rest of us a favor and don’t take up a precious and coveted spot on the Kosta Browne mailing list.

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4 thoughts on “Kosta Browne does not taste like Burgundy. Get over it.

  1. Nice post! Love the KB. Reliably delicious every time I’ve tried it. And I agree – domestic Pinot does best when it finds its groove and does its own thing.

  2. Tom, my thoughts exactly. Burgundy should taste like Burgundy. Cali Pinot should taste like Cali Pinot. Each special in their own way, and each delicious.

  3. Mr. Lee, you are so correct!

    I enjoy both CA Pinot and Burgs. 98% of the time they are different styles of the same grape. Sometimes I feel like an outcast. I get the feeling that one isn’t supposed to enjoy both styles. Am I committing a sin if I like both styles? Well… Like you say… Everybody… Get over it!

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