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17th June 2020 by Rachel Wallhouse
It has always been my intention to write about my love of Burgundy, as a blog for the shop website. Now I sit here and wonder how I condense everything into a blog!! Here goes…
We (my family and I, plus numerous guests) have been travelling to France for the last 18 years, always by car and before decent Sat Nav, a sheaf of maps and route instructions printed out in order of ‘There and Back Again’. Initially it was Serreval in the French Alps, via Lyons (a long slog) but for the last 9 years it has been Ladoix-Serrigny in Burgundy. Wine Country!!
We settled on this lovely Gitê in a very quiet village (except at 4am when a motorbike roars past the house, rattling the windows) because it has a pool, for the kids, a lovely garden, for my wife and I to ‘Chillax’ and most important it allows us to bring Riley our dog. Oh, and it’s in the middle of vineyards, did I mention its Wine Country!!
So, I have chosen six wines that have influenced my interest in wines from this region, and along with tasting notes, I will also talk about my reason for the choices. These are in no particular order…
Le Grappin: Andrew and Emma Nielsen own this winery; they are classed as ‘Négociants’ because they buy their grapes from other growers. I first met Andrew in 2011, when he answered a forum request that I made about visiting some winemakers. Since then I’ve managed to assist in two harvests, 2013 and 2015, and taste in the cuverie in the centre of Beaune for the last 7 years. I have learnt so much from working with them and tasting wines with them. We started to stock their wines from the first visit, and one of only a few stockists outside of London.
The wine I have chosen is their Beaune Premier Cru Rouge, ‘Les Boucherottes’ 2018. This vineyard is situated just south-west of Beaune, close to another famous red Burgundy, Pommard. They use very little sulphur in their production.
Le Grappin. Beaune Premier Cru “Les Boucherottes”, 2018, £49.99- Buy Online
There is a lovely floral note of purple violets at the start, with a touch of woody herbs. Crammed full of black fruits, blackcurrant, dark cherry and blackberries. On the palate, there is bags of fresh acidity, crunchy dark fruits like plum and cherry, hints of floral and herbs too. There is also a stony character, leaving the palate quite refreshed. The tannins are balanced and silky, with a wonderful long finish.
Wines 2 and 3
Jean Fery & Fils: This winemaker is a new addition to my experiences, I first experienced their wines last year on a ‘Boys Burgundy Tour’ over my birthday. They are situated in a lovely village just to the North of Savigny-Les-Beaune, Échveronne, and I will admit it’s one of the prettiest villages I’ve been to.
When we tasted at the cellar, the two wines I have chosen were the standout wines agreed by all three of us.
The vineyards of Savigny-Les-Beaune are on my walk when I walk from Ladoix, up the hill of Corton, past Aloxe-Corton and Pernand-Vergelesses and into the village of Savigny, to enjoy a well-deserved glass of white wine and a slice of quiche. (While hoping my wife will pick me up!!)
Jean Fery. Savigny-Les-Beaune Premier Cru “Les Vergelesses”, 2018, £44.99- Buy Online
Hints of floral aromas, white flower, that are quite delicate. Warmer aromas of spice from light oak barrelling. On the palate there are fruit flavours of apple and apple skin initially, followed by peach and pear. Also, little hints of citrus, creamy, nutty tastes. As the wine opens up, the warm spice aromas show on the palate, hints of cinnamon and clove. It’s very well balanced, with a stone, flinty mineral finish at the end.
Jean Fery. Savigny-Les-Beaune “Sous La Cabotte”, 2017, £32.99- Buy Online
Lots of violets and spice on the nose (Pinot Noir shows its best when served slightly cooler than other red wines), these are followed by fresh red fruits aromas, cranberry, raspberry and red cherry. There is a little smoky note too. On the palate, those red fruits are bursting through, lots of fresh cherry and raspberry notes, a hint of chocolate smoothness. The tannins are quite fine, very classic style.
Wines 4 and 5
While I have been visiting the Burgundy region over the last 10 years it’s mainly been in the summer months, whether that has been for family holidays or to help in harvest. But recently we’ve been attending the St Vincent Tournante, held in late January, in a different village every year. It’s a time when the selected village decorates its streets and houses with thousands of paper flowers and displays. All the surrounding villages bring their statues of St Vincent, patron saint of wine growers, and banners to parade through the host village to be blessed by the church and the Brotherhood of Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin. It’s a great time to join in the festivities, drink wine from that village and eat a fair bit of regional cuisine. The first one we attended was in Mercurey in 2017, we tasted a broad range of wines from different family wineries throughout the day.
Chateau De Chamirey. Mercurey Blanc “En Pierrelet”, 2014, £36.49- Buy Online
Lively and fresh, lemon fresh, hint of grapefruit too. Quite intense aromas initially, there’s also a little honey note in the background. On the palate there’s evidence of a little oak spice, but the fresh citrus notes are bursting through. For a wine that’s already six years old this is showing lots of youthful notes. There’s still the lemon and grapefruit on the tongue, but also a stone fruit note, nectarine. Nice, round finish that lasts quite a long time.
In 2021, I’m hoping to attend the next celebration of St Vincent in the village of Puligny Montrachet, hopefully with a few friends and lots of wine.
Domaine Andre Moingeon & Fils. Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru “La Garenne”, 2017, £47.99- Buy Online
A little more golden in colour, hints of sweet spices and ripe apple on the nose. A slight hint of almond flower as well. On the palate there are more citrus notes of lemon peel, grapefruit and lime zest. As the wine opens up in the glass, there are more buttery notes, baked apple pie with sweet spices. There’s a finish of baked brioche and apple slices.
And, suddenly we are at the end of my choices, thanks for sticking with me. My last choice is from Gevery-Chambertin, this is a village in the north part of the Cote D’Or, nearer to Dijon than to Beaune. There is such a diverse variety of styles and flavours within such a small region, the Cote D’Or is about 40kms long and only 2-3km wide (Though the entire Burgundy region stretches from Chablis in the north to Beaujolais 300km away in the south).
I enjoyed this wine with family over Christmas dinner last year, it stopped me in my tracks, we all commented on its style and flavours, a good conversation ensued about value, atmosphere, food and how the wine can link the all to heighten the experience. Its aromas and flavours are still in my head.
Domaine Marchand-Grillot. Gevrey-Chambertin “En Songe”, 2017, £51.99- Buy Online
Lots more spice and savoury notes on the nose, hints of riper plum and black cherry notes, with a hint of orange zest in the background. Lots of dark cherry and plum on the palate, with a hint of more savoury notes, gamey. Long, smooth tannins and lots of spice at the end, hints of clove, cinnamon and nutmeg. A full bodied, creamy, long finish.
Premium Burgundy Selection by Matt Monk
All six wines included, presented in a smart six bottle box, with full tasting notes. Only £240- save over £20! Buy Online