Last week I sang the praises of the 2005 burgundy vintage; this week I'm offering a guide on how to get hold of it. The cautionary note on the table at O W Loeb's January burgundy tasting was referring not to the quality but the availability. Buyers this past week have been voting with their plastic for the compelling arguments in favour of the 2005 vintage. By far the best argument is the sheer sexiness of the wines, reds especially, in 2005. Buy a case, squirrel it away for a few years, and these wines will dazzle when brought out for special occasions. So keen was the restaurateur Andrew Edmunds he enthused: "You'd have to be an idiot not to spend a few thousand on these reds." Er, quite.
But this isn't Casino Royale and you don't have to flex your financial biceps quite like Bond just to faites vos jeux. Speaking of muscle, there's been a welcome move to six-packs, with one merchant, Howard Ripley (HR), offering all wines in half-dozen boxes. There's a range of prices, from relatively affordable to ionospheric, but though it'll never be cheap, burgundy hasn't suffered from the price hikes that afflicted bordeaux 2005 last year.
There's no shortage of stylish white burgundies in this category. The Bourgogne Blanc Les Grandes Coutures from Franck Grux, £113.25 (all prices per case unless stated otherwise), Haynes Hanson & Clark (HHC), 01451 870808, including VAT and duty, is an unmissable poor man's meursault. Equally affordable, the Rully Maizières, Vincent Dureuil-Janthial, £109, O W Loeb (OWL), 020-7234 0385, is classy and complex, the Billaud-Simon Chablis, £84, incl duty, Charles Taylor (CT), 020-7928 8151, creamy, rich and minerally. Both Saumaize-Michelin's opulent Pouilly Fuissé Les Ronchevats, £135, CT, and intensely concentrated Les Courtelongs, £139, CT (both incl duty), are irresistible. For sheer class, Guy Roulot's peachy-rich Meursault Les Tillets, £270.45, HHC, and Jouard's Chassagne Montrachet Les Chaumées, £120 (6), HR, are outstanding.
Looking at "house red burgundies", I would single out a juicy bourgogne rouge from De Montille, £120, Berry Bros (BBR), 01256 340123, a fragrant, soft Savigny-Lès-Beaune 1er cru Les Narbantons, Jean-Jacques Girard, £130, CT (incl duty), and Bruno Clair's supple, pure Marsannay, Les Longeroies, £130, Justerini & Brooks (JB), 020-7484 6400. Some of the best values are at village level, especially in the hands of producers of the calibre of Fourrier, Sylvain Cathiard, Mugneret-Gibourg and Dujac. Which? The fragrant, classy Fourrier Gevrey Chambertin, £96 (6), HR, £185, Goedhuis (GD), 020-7793 7900, Mugneret-Gibourg's classic Vosne-Romanée, around £220.50, HHC, Cathiard's outstanding Vosne-Romanée, around £330, BBR, Lay & Wheeler (LW), 0845 4501589, and Dujac's silky Morey-St Denis, £220, BBR, £235, OWL.
For greatness, you do have to step up a gear to premier cru, or grand cru level. The impressive, voluptuous Vosne-Romanée, Aux Brûlées, Etienne Grivot, £440, GD, is one. De Montille's Pommard premiers crus are outstanding, notably the delicate, raspberry-scented Taillepieds, around £480, LW, while Cathiard's Nuits St Georges, Aux Murgers, around £450, BBR, LW, is pure richness and finesse. Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier's Clos de la Maréchale, £355, HHC, £360, BBR, £375, J&B, is a success, as is Prince Florent de Mérode's Corton Clos du Roi, £177, HR. Domaine de la Vougeraie's Bonnes Mares, Grand Cru, £330 (6), BBR, is intense and hugely impressive. With more producers to declare, this vintage will run and run.
NB: Unless mentioned , add duty and VAT once the wines are bottled and delivered this year or next.Reuse content