Friday, 21 October 2016

Good burgundy doesn’t need to break your bank

Following the success of Bourgogne Week in London, the Bourgogne Wine Board was pleased to introduce Bourgogne Week to Hong Kong, comprising a series of Burgundy wine tastings over five days. I attended the ‘One day for Bourgogne Wines’ tasting with over 100 wines from the latest vintages (2104 for white and 2013 for red) from 20 exhibitors.

Mentioning Burgundy, most people will think DRC, one of the most expensive wines in the world. As a matter of fact, Grand Cru, the appellation where DRC belonged, only contributed to 1.3% of the entire Burgundy wine production. Most of the wines in the market are from the Regional (51%) and Village (38%) appellations. The ‘One day for Bourgogne Wines’ tasting pretty much reflected the market. Most of the wines featured were from the Regional and Village appellations. No wonder Amaury Devillard, the spokesperson of Bourgogne Wine Board, emphasised that Burgundy wine is affordable and can be enjoyed every day.

I agree with Amaury. The overall quality, especially the white wine, at the tasting was good. They were balanced, with ripe fruits and supporting acidity. Most of the whites were from 2014 vintage, an excellent year according to the harvest report. There were no major hiccups during growing season and the grapes ripened to full maturity. Most of the wines I tried were retailed between $180 and $300 per bottle, certainly a price that won’t break the bank. A bit of research revealed that 2014 was confirmed to be a fine vintage for Burgundy white from various critics including Jasper Morris MW and Decanter.

Vintage 2013, in contrast to 2014, was much more difficult that challenged winegrowers. It was cold in spring and a violent hail storm hit on 23rd July. Some of the reds at tasting might be lean, but nevertheless ripe with fresh acidity that made them pleasant to pair with mild flavoured dishes.

Burgundy is one of the wine regions where vintage variation is significant. Because of improved viticulture practice and winemaking techniques, a difficult vintage these days does not necessarily equate to bad vintage. Yield might be small but vigilant and responsible winemakers could still produce good quality wine, which was not the case just 20-30 years ago. When we sip Burgundy, whether it is the style we prefer or not, we just have to remember that behind every bottle was a lot of dedication and hard work.

A few outstanding wines from the tasting are:

Domaine Christian Moreau, Chablis Premier Cru, Vaillons 2014, from Altaya Wines,
Domaine du Chalet Pouilly, Saint-Véran 2014, from Dream Wines,
Domaine du Clos Salomon, Montagny Le Clou 2014, from The Juicy Grape,
Domaine Jérôme Sordet, Saint-Romain Sous le Château 2013, from CCF Wines,
Domaine Saint-Jacques, Rully Premier Cru Marissou 2013, from Burgundy Wine Co Ltd,
Domaine Samuel Billaud, Chablis Premier Cru, Monte de Milieu 2013, from The Juicy Grape

Domaine Bachey-Legros, Santenay Les Charmes 2013, from CCF Wines,
Domaine Colinot, Irancy Les Cailles 2013, from Burgundy Wine Co Ltd,
Domaine du Château de Meursault, Savigny-Les-Baeaune Premier Cru Les Peuillets 2013, from Kerry Wines,
Domaine Faiveley, Beaune Premier Cru Clos d l’Ecu 2013 from Altaya Wines,
Moillard, Côte de Beaune-Villages, Vieilles Vignes 2013, from Kedington Wines

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