I’ve been reading a new wine forum, Wine Berserkers, it is quite a fun place. People there seem generally enthusiastic and knowledgeable about wine, and they are a friendly lot too. One of threads I followed was a request for recommendations for sub-$50 Burgundy that is very Burgundian. The fellow posting had little experience of Burgundy and wanted to compare them with the wines he normally drank. Several people said that Burgundy can be quite expensive and that there are lots of different styles made, but we ended up recommending an excellent and well-priced example. You can read the thread if you want to know more.
This discussion reminded me of one of the polls I posted on here: which French wine region produces the best value wines? There were a couple of votes for Burgundy, which I thought was a bit enthusiastic. However, recently I’ve tried some really good Burgundies which have been bargain-tastic. Many people may disagree with this, but I feel that if you can get serious quality for less than £30 (which is about the $50 limit requested on the Wine Berserker thread), then that is a bargain in my book. So here are my suggestions for red Burgundies that provide a lot of of pleasure for not so much money.
Wine of the moment is certainly the [link2post id=”321″]Pernand-Vergelesses Premier Cru Ile des Vergelesses 2005 from Domaine Chandon de Briailles[/link2post]. I loved its beauty, refinement and poise. You can buy this attractive wine for £24.95 (or £23.50 if you order 12 bottles, which can be mixed) from Lea and Sandeman. Note: five days after posting this recommendation (and two days before I could afford more) this wine has sold out. Bums.
If you like your Burgundies to be slightly more heroic then you cannot go far wrong with [link2post id=”369″]Comte Armand’s Auxey Duresses Premier Cru 2005[/link2post]. A bold wine with lots of ripe fruit and a serious tannic structure. I feel it will age well for such a minor appellation. Also from Lea and Sandeman this costs £23.50 (case discounted to £21.50).
Some of you might be thinking that these villages are unheard of and so you might desire a more well-known village of origin; Nuits-Saint-Georges is a good place to go. The 396″]Premier Cru Richemone 2005 from Alain Michelot is very good, very Nuits-y expression of Nuits and a steal at £28.93 from Lay and Wheeler. Too expensive? Then how about Alain Michelot’s Nuits-Saint-Georges Vieilles Vignes 2005, an affordable taste of quality Nuits for £18.93 also from Lay and Wheeler. Just five pence under my price limit is the 2006 Nuits St Georges Aux St. Juliens from de Montille, a named vineyard at the village quality level. Like all de Montille wines this is elegant and refined, but this one is quite accessible and with very attractive fruit. £29.95 (or less if you buy a case) from Berry Bros.
If you know where to look you can find wines from highly regarded producers at a good price. I love Domaine Dujac wines and their ‘Fils et Pere’ range gives you a good taste of their style without breaking the bank. I think the Morey-Saint-Denis Fils et Pere 2006 is a damned-good wine, proper Morey of class and refinement for £28.50 (with a discount for unmixed cases) from Berry Bros.
Comte Armand are another flash producer, and they produce this well-priced wine from a more famous appellations than Auxey Duresses. The 2006 Volnay is a structured example of this village and again I feel it will age well. £25 (minus an unmixed case discount) from Berry Bros is a good price for a characterful Volnay.
Owning Dominique Lafon wines is normally a very pricey business. However, you can get his charming and fruity, if not stunningly profound, 2006 Monthelie Premier Cru Les Duresses Rouge for a surprisingly affordable £29 a bottle. This is a Burgundy that you can happily drink and enjoy on any occasion.
Berry Bros also sell the excellent wines from David Clark; he has minor appellations but he is focussed on producing the best wines he can from these vineyards, so treats them with more love and attention than most Burgundians treat their very finest Grand Crus. His 2007 Bourgogne Rouge is £18.35 (with a discount for unmixed cases), you’d be hard pressed to find a more compelling Bourgogne for less money than this.
Whilst we are on the subject of Bourgogne Rouge, Alain Burguet’s 2005 ‘Pince-Vin’ is a good performer at this quality level, and 2005 is a top vintage which should be quite mature and ready to drink by now. £20 a bottle from the Wine Society. The wine you really want from M. Burguet is his Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes ‘Mes Favorites’, this is one of the best village wines you can buy. When I popped a 361″]bottle of 2003 just after Christmas our lunch guests were compelled and charmed. It wasn’t in the slightest bit over-blown which can be a problem with some 2003s. At £29 a bottle from the Wine Society this falls a mere pound under my price limit, but it is worth every penny.
There we have it: an array of twelve different red Burgundies all of which are very reasonably priced for the quality they deliver. I suppose some might think my £30 upper limit is too high for these to be real bargains, but I’m afraid if you do you are wrong. Sadly wines of real quality are expensive these days, not only because of the limited production and high demand, but also the British peso weak pound has made all of our purchases from France at least 30% more expensive. These wines are as good as they get for as little as they get.
If either of my readers can suggest anymore bargain Burgundies then please leave a comment.