Pataille BourgVintage isn’t usually first on the list when I’m shopping wines, but there is no overstating its importance. A great growing season is the cherry on top after the requisite work has been done in the vineyards—however reactive. I culled a couple affordable older vintages, carefully searching closeout bins across SoCal to see just how long-lived a regional red wine—appellation Bourgogne contrôlée—could be.

2007 was a challenging vintage in the Côte d’Or, with early heat spells in spring and a cool summer that threatened rot and mildew—some of the best producers were forced to reduce volume, sorting out affected grapes for days before they pressed the best selections. With the mixed vintage report I found a lot of interesting closeouts from 2007.

One of the best values I found, under twenty dollars, was clad in a non-descript periwinkle label—2007 Domaine Sylvain Pataille Bourgogne. I drew out six ounces to rest comfortably on the kitchen countertop while I analyzed for color. As the red wine stretched its legs there was a clear ruby sheen with medium intensity and slight rim variation in the glass. After thirty minutes—about as long as I could patiently wait—I fetched the glass, sniffed, and found an effusive perfume of aardbei thee (Dutch strawberry tea), over new shoe leather and damp oak. It was simple, without the floral nuance, but making up with its surprising grip on primary red fruits that were steeped in earthy intrigue.

Not disappointed but was hardly wowed until the following night. The very same Pinot Noir had really made itself at home twenty four hours later, opening up, the flavors were deeper, the finish was longer, the body, more sultry. It had my attention.

The 2007 vintage was given a passing grade by critics and importers. That vintage provided me with the best experience and value overall—maybe they didn’t give bottles like this a second sip. It’s a shame that Domaine Sylvain Pataille cannot be found easily but that’s also what makes it special—it’s worth searching for.