Bargain Burgundy

In response to my post [link2post id=”1606″]Burgundy is best[/link2post] someone commented that Burgundy at the bottom of the pile is not as good as Bordeaux for the same money. I couldn’t agree less. I think Burgundy is a bargain relative to Bordeaux.

Some wines I’ve had recently demonstrate this very clearly. Today I popped a bottle of Domaine Arlaud Morey-St.-Denis 2001 that cost me a mere twenty-one pounds. It was quite lovely and would have only improved with another five years in the cellar. It’d easily hang about for longer. The 1503″]Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin aux Echezeaux was a pound more expensive than this, but was a terribly good bottle of village wine that provided a lot of pleasure. Armand’s Auxey 2001 was a bargain at less than seventeen pounds a bottle; my next-door neighbour lapped it up ad asked where he could buy some.

These are three producers who make very good wines at very affordable prices. They also have more basic fare than these wines that are all perfectly drinkable. They, and other people like Jean Boillot and Robert Chevillon, make excellent wines that are real bargains in the thirty pound-bottle price bracket. If you are willing to work a bit and find out which producers are good, rather than simply buying dull negociant rubbish, there is an embarrassment of riches at perfectly affordable prices. This is even true for those on incredibly restricted incomes (like me) as long as you would rather choose quality over quantity. Elitist Review is all about quality.

This brings me on to the price of Bordeaux. I am not sure exactly what Bordeaux you can buy for twenty notes, but I doubt it will be as good, and certainly not as lovely, as a well-chosen bottle of Burgundy for the same price. Even if you move up to the thirty pound price bracket there is no chance of getting a serious producer in a good vintage. I would much rather drink Armand Clos des Epeneaux 2001 than Lynch-Bages 2001 (two recent purchases, thirty-five pounds a bottle) for the same money. The Armand is clearly a much more serious, far more charming and seriously more age-worthy than even this (super-)fifth growth claret in a dull vintage.

Burgundy is a bargain. It is also much nicer than claret. Buy Burgundy.

  • Matthew

    I find lynch bages drunk young to be a poor drink. And would not doubt that the Armand would be a much better buy. I find this chateau overpriced and much prefer to drink second wines of the big chateaus at this age.

    Recently I purchased some 96 Cissac for £9.50 per bottle. This was what I classify as a bargain. And at almost 10 years old at its peak of life.

    I think the wines you are reviewing are fantastic and will be making notes and trying some.

    For me wine is fantastic. Buy wine.

  • David Strange

    The price for your Cissac may have been low, but Cissac is an awful drink; so hard and charmless. I used to be forced to drink it endlessly at Oxford and I grew to hate it. I particularly hate the way it dries out as it ages and loses all of its fruit.

    Lynch-Bages, on the other hand, is a good Claret. I agree it is better old than young, and I am not sure 2001 has the stuffing for ageing long term. It should be an acceptable random drink one day. A chum reports that a bottle of the ’82 drank last weekend was lovely.

    I really don’t see the point of Claret unless it is of the quality that goes for fabulously large amounts of money. I don’t have fabulously large amounts of money.

    Finally, I couldn’t agree more: buy wine! Lots of it, ideally, after all it is good for you.

  • Matthew

    The benefit of the changes in wine production and good summer of 96 meant that there is still plenty of fruit in the 96. Lean as most haut medocs are but there is a balance of softened tannins.

    Better balance I find is in the perfume of margauxes and fruit of st juliens. Especially clos du marquis – an excellent wine 95% of its parent chateau las cases and a bargain never exceeding the 30 – 40 pound mark. Sarget du gruaud larose and moulin riche are also noteworthy for pleasant drinking when young. For first wines at reasonable prices duhart milon, armailhac always provide good balanced drinking for me.

    Although I am always buying carruades for its balanced excellent style.

    With Lynch Bages I dont disagree the production and quality are excellent and I have also tried the 82 and it was fabulous (a very generous gift). But friends have commented that later years have a tendancy to put too much fruit in pushing it towards a jammy flavour with not enough alcohol.

    Can I ask where you get your burgundies from as locally I have very few good wine merchants specialising in burgundies.

  • David Strange