I am still alive, not so this wine

I must start with an apology. I apologise for not writing any Elitistreview posts for far too long; unsurprisingly I have an excuse. Two months ago I had a fit and collapsed into a quivering heap on the floor right on top of my left foot and ankle. I totally buggered them. So for the last two months I’ve been in so much pain I have been unable to concentrate on anything for long enough to write a tasting note.

Moreover, I have been prescribed an awfully large amount of morphine and Tapentadol to deal with the pain. Sadly, taking these leave me as mentally incapacitated as someone who drinks minor classed-growth Bordeaux on a regular basis. With my mind crippled by pain and sodding awful drugs, together with the spectre of depression lurking about because of these, taking to the keyboard and writing with my usual degree of humorous invective was simply right out.

However, I thought, after such a prolonged silence, I should gather all my strength and write something to let you know that Elitistreview still lives and expound on a subject I feel strongly about.

Burguet Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes 2005Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes ‘Mes Favorites’ 2005, Alain Burguet

I feel a close association with this producer as he was one of the people my blind-tasting team and I visited on our first trip to Burgundy, nearly two decades ago. Back then he made good, but distinctly rustic, Burgundy. He was certainly a jolly nice chap and that, combined with the quality of wine, made me a regular customer of his – this old vines cuvée especially.

I always thought his wines would best be drunk young, as the obvious Brett in them, leading to massive bottle variation, as well as his oxidative wine-making style would not lend themselves to making age-worthy wines. Even though his sons have cleaned things up considerably in recent years, The Editor and I were sensible and responsible enough to drink most of the six bottles we bought within six months of us receiving them.

Sadly, one bottle of it somehow made it into our long term storage cellar, and was only returned to us a couple of weeks ago by a kind friend who braved the chaos of our cellar to get us a case of general drinking wine.

Alas, this bottle showed that Burguet wines of this period were still not made for ageing. It shows pronounced oxidised notes on the nose, together with the stinky, unpleasant characteristics of Brett. there was some fruit on the nose, but even that seems more than a little rotten and generally shagged out.

The palate was oxidised, full of nasty Brett, with only the tiniest remnant of rancid fruit, a cruel mockery of the delicious fruit it possessed in its youth. This wine provided no pleasure at all, indeed we did not finish our glasses. The less than sanitary wine-making which included a lot of oxygen contact has made this wine dead and not worth drinking. Indeed, it is hard to see how anyone could find this wine worth drinking, not even an alcoholic in extreme desperation. Like the vast majority of Burgundies today, this was for drinking young and it should have disappeared down our throats seven years ago, when it was very nice, rather than into our long term cellar, only to emerge to give us a very bad time.

It is possible that now that M. Burguet’s sons have almost completely taken over the wine-making the wines might be cleaner, and that after having dragged their cellar management from the 19th into the 21st century, they might have done enough to make the wines better able to age. But why bother? The most recent Burguet wines I have tried have been delicious and why take the risk of losing that? Most modern Burgundy, of any quality level, is simply made to give most pleasure soon after release, so that is when you should drink it. Cellaring all to often is an exercise in perverted self-punishment, which ends up hurting not just you but whoever you choose to open the bottle for.