Burgundy Premier Cru Sangria

You open a Burgundy Premier Cru expecting a light-on-its-feet, delicate, Pinot Noir. Instead, your wine is an over-extracted, oaked abomination instead. What is a person to do? Keep drinking it without enjoying it (and lament the waste of money), or pour it down the sink and open something decent instead. Both courses of action are not very attractive.

A good solution is to salvage the wine by making a sangria out of it. The fruit and soda water dilute the oppressive nature of the wine and you end up with something joyful instead. A good sangria takes a little time so you still need a replacement for the day. But you can at least pat yourself on the back for having salvaged the situation by partly turning wine back into water.

Apples and oranges are obvious ingredients and I added some peach as well. Sweeteners and brandy are optional (I opted to omit them). Given the mixture some time to take off the harsh notes of the original wine and serve. To remind yourself what this wine could have been, serve in a Zalto Denk’Art glass with ice and a metal straw.

Cantillon Grand Cru Bruocsella Brut

I have always been partial to Cantillon’s Grand Cru Bruocsella, an unblended 3-yeard old lambic. Perusing the bottle list at Moeder Lambic Fontaines on an October evening in 2021, my eye caught a bottle of Grand Cru Bruocsella Brut. At a time where an endless number of lambic variations (fruits, barrels, non-traditional blends etc.) compete for the spotlight, having a carbonated version of this (mostly) still beer seemed intriguing to me. It would reconcile the mellower, aged, character of an old unblended lambic with the effervescence of a Geuze.

The label shows a variation of the regular Grand Cru Bruocsella label, emphasizing a different drawing of the Town Hall of the Grand Place against a dark background. This beer was brewed in 2015 and bottled in 2019. Two barrels of old lambic were blended and refermented in the bottle to produce it, although it is not clear how this fermentation in the bottle was achieved given the old nature of the lambics involved.

That this is not your regular Bruocsella became instantly clear when it poured with a lot of foam despite a doing a gentle pour. The beer is orange gold, translucent, with some lacing that gradually disappears from the glass. Aromas of wood, brett, and oranges. Grand Cru Bruocsella is tart with bitter grapefruit notes, and quite astringent – noticeable barrel notes. Its finish is on the shorter end of the spectrum, with a tannic, bitter aftertaste. Not sure if this is an example of “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.” Not the most complex Cantillon but a very interesting spin on a classic.