Off the back of a nightmare 2021 vintage, wines are in shorter supply than ever – so prices have gone through the roof.
The wines are unquestionably good. That’s what Burgundy does. But as the region’s wines gradually become ever-more scarce and atypical – and ever-less affordable – how long will wine lovers stick with Burgundy? Will we look back in 20 years and say: that was the tipping point when Burgundy finally lost touch with reality?!
These are just some of the no-nonsense questions we’re posing in this fresh take on a region where bucolic tradition is increasingly on a collision course with fast-moving reality.
We explore the 2021 vintage as a springboard to discussing the bigger picture in Burgundy – in which climate change looms large, as does the issue of pricing (with a bit of mysterious vine death along the way). Stardust gets a mention.
As for the wines – will we see Chardonnay being replaced by the likes of Savagnin, and Pinot Noir being supplanted by Gamay, Syrah, or even Nebbiolo.?!
We grill Burgundy experts David Roberts MW (Goedhuis) and Jason Haynes (Flint Wines), as well as growers Florent Rouve and Caroline Drouhin of Domaine Drouhin-Laroze in Gevrey-Chambertin.
What’s more, we give our verdict on the 2021 wines and give some top tips both from that vintage and more general (but still delicious) drinking Burgundy we’ve discovered lately. (Also some ideas on alternatives to Burgundy.) More details below!
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White: Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon Viré-Clessé 2021 (£250 per case of 12 IB, c£28 per bottle incl. duty and VAT, Justerinis.com): Spiced peach, toasted hazelnut and a touch of struck match on this good value, village white.
Red: Jean-Pierre et Vincent Charton Bourgogne Rouge Champ de Perdrix 2021 (£170 per case of 12 IB, c £19-20 incl. duty and VAT, Goedhuis.com): Made in a funky, natural style with sappy, savoury flavours, perfume and grip
Red: Drouhin Laroze Gevrey Chambertin Dix Climats 2021 (£260 per case of 6 IB, c£58 per bottle incl. duty and VAT, Justerinis.com): One we decided to splash out on, a beautifully fragrant and classic red Burgundy
Plus a few others:
Chablis Jean-Paul Droin 2021 (£216 per case of 12 IB, Goedhuis.com) Leesy, appley, complex and savoury, really good value Chablis with nice typicity
Domaine du Clos des Rocs Pouilly-Fuissé ‘Les Pierrottes’ 2021 (£240 per case of 6 IB, Stannarywine.com) Good tense, mineral and chalky style with apple fruit
Domaine Gérard Thomas et Filles Saint Aubin 1er Cru Murgers des Dents de Chien 2021 (£420 per case of 12 DP inc VAT, Montrachetwine.com) Smoky, fresh and linear
Meursault Jean-Philippe Fichet 2021 (£275 per case of 6 IB, Goedhuis.com) Beautifully reductive, toasty and savoury, a sculpted and classical Meursault
Meursault Les Tillets Patrick Javillier 2021 (£295 per case of 6 IB, Goedhuis.com) Serious, classic and layered with clotted cream and savoury concentration
Jean Noël Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet, Les Chenevottes 1er Cru 2021 (£350 per case of 6 IB, Justerinis.com) Focused, fresh and lifted with roasted nut spice, minerality and great length
Domaine Alain Chavy Puligny Montrachet Les Charmes 2021 (£390 per case of 6 DP inc VAT, Montrachetwine.com) Reductive, oaky, savoury and nutty – slight lack of concentration but still very good
Génot-Boulanger Meursault Clos du Dromin 2021 (£425 per case of 6 IB, Justerinis.com) Classic buttery Meursault with beautiful balance and superb freshness
Meursault Cuvée Tête de Murger Patrick Javillier 2021 (£450 per case of 6 IB, Goedhuis.com) Similar to the Tillets, this is a touch more complex, long and harmonious
Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru Domaine Rapet Père et Fils 2021 (£600 per case of 6 IB, Goedhuis.com) Glazed cream and concentrated minerality
Domaine de Montille Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2021 (£950 per case of 6 IB, Justerinis.com) Wow just wow, so reductive fresh and mineral but also golden, smoky and multi-layered, astonishingly good.
Maranges ‘La Rue des Pierres’ Elodie Roy 2021 (£120 per case of 6 IB, Goedhuis.com) Great value with sappy, warm earth notes and fine tannin, though ultimately a bit light
Tollot-Beau Chorey Les Beaune La Piece du Chapitre 2021 (£145 per case of 6 IB, Justerinis.com) Good value with pretty, crushed bramble aromas and an exotic, perfumed taste
Domaine Lécheneaut Côte de Nuits Villages Le Clos de Magny 2021 (£204 DP inc VAT, Montrachetwine.com) Serious and sappy with hints of forest floor and lovely Côte de Nuits expression
Domaine de Montille Pommard Les Pezerolles 1er Cru 2021 (£695 per case of 6 IB, Justerinis.com) Very smooth and elegant with blackberry fruit, earthy undertones and fine tannin
Drouhin Laroze Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2021 (£460 per case of 3 IB, Justerinis.com) Full bodied, dark and creamy (in the context), extremely seductive
Frédéric Magnien Clos de Vougeot 2021 (£1098 per case of 6 DP inc VAT, Montrachetwine.com) Beautifully smoky and floral, with fine dense tannins and fresh acidity
Domaine Jean Grivot Les Beaux Monts 1er Cru 2021 (£600 per case of 3 IB, Justerinis.com) Gamey, fragrant and Autumnal with wonderfully elegant complexity and length
Bruno Clair Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 2021 (£1780 per case of 6 IB, Justerinis.com) Crazy price but it is stunning, so incredibly elegant and complete, plus the aftertaste goes on and on.
Richebourg Grand Cru A F Gros 2021 (£2400 per case of 3 IB, Goedhuis.com) If you can afford it why ever not – serious, meaty and savoury, needs time to shine, but when it does it’ll be well worth the wait
Savigny Lès Beaune Aux Grands Liards Simon Bize 2021 (Price at time of tasting was TBC, Goedhuis.com) Lifted, haunting and malty. A little funky in a lovely way.
Savigny Lès Beaune 1er Cru Simon Bize 2021 (Price at time of tasting was TBC, Goedhuis.com) A similar style to the above and with fine grippy tannin.
Chambolle Musigny Louis Boillot 2021 (Price at time of tasting was TBC, Goedhuis.com) ‘Proper’ red Burgundy in a meaty, serious style
Recommendations: general drinking
White: Lequin-Colin Bourgogne Chardonnay 2020 (£19.50, Stone Vine & Sun), Elegant and gently toasty with a hint of struck match and rounded apple & pear fruit
Red: Domaine Vaudoisey Bourgogne Rouge 2020 (£19.25, Private Cellar) Perfumed and floral dark fruit, intense and bittersweet but approachable