Anthony Rose: Burgundy can offer an array both of delicious and charming reds'
Saturday 04 February 2012
If you stick to buying your wine in supermarkets, chances are you haven't yet tripped over a great Burgundy. Burgundy is not something supermarkets tend to excel at. Its small-scale, artisan products can be pricey, infuriatingly inconsistent and difficult to pin down, but the idea that you have to be on a city slicker's bonus to afford it is wide of the mark.
Take the 2010 vintage now being offered for sale by specialist wine merchants throughout the land. Yes, you can pay through the nose for the pukka grand cru stuff if money is no object. But you might be surprised to know that you can also pick up some really good, affordable 'house' reds and whites in the £8-£15 range.
Compared to the certainties of price and brand name in Bordeaux, not to mention its much greater volumes, Burgundy doesn't cut it in quite the same way. Disillusionment with Bordeaux, which lost favour after the exorbitant pricing of many of its 2010s, has helped shift the focus to Burgundy. In a good-to-excellent vintage like 2010, Burgundy can offer an array both of delicious and charming reds.
Of all the world's top wine regions, Burgundy is arguably the most vintage-specific because its climate is marginal for grape growing.
Every year, the weather has a major say over style and quality. While the hot summer of 2009 brought a generous, crowd-pleasing vintage with ample flesh on the bones, 2010 is altogether more lithe and toned. The summer was cool and wet, so much so that there were fears for both quantity and quality. But glorious sunshine at picking time made up for it, and Burgundy's best winemakers made excellent chardonnays of concentration and freshness and pinot noirs full of vivid red-berry-fruit purity and elegance.
At this stage, most of the cask samples shown in London last month have yet to be bottled and delivered. But growing demand for Burgundy's limited quantities makes an early shop advisable. In fact, despite Burgundy's image as a little bit pricey, the ironic truth is that most of the very best wines are sold even before they're released.
Broadly speaking, the cheaper house Burgundies can be drunk over the next year or two. The finest premier and grands cru reds, and whites, will reward cellaring for five or 10 years. Thankfully, most wines can be bought in packs of six – if you're unsure but feel like dipping a toe in the water, why not club together and share? For my picks of the vintage with over 100 delicious wines, plus specialist stockists, check out anthonyrosewine.com.
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