Not enough to go round

Surging demand gives Burgundy a nice problem, says David Longfield
27 August, 2008
Page 23 
Suddenly Burgundy appears to have a problem similar to that of the Champagne region - surging demand for a very limited supply.

Indeed, sales volumes in 2007 across the Burgundy region exceeded 2007 vintage volumes by 10 per cent, according to Pierre-Henry Gagey, president of the Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne and also president of one of the region's biggest producers, Maison Louis Jadot.

Burgundy exports half its production. The single biggest market, the UK, now takes 70 per cent of white Burgundy exports. New areas such as the high value Russian market and Asia are also demanding more across the board.

But Gagey says it would be a mistake for the region simply to supply more wine to those markets where higher prices might be gained in the immediate term.

"The pleasure in life is to strive to get better, to discover new people and the new generation," he says. "We need to educate these people, and that's a long-term project."

BIVB communications director Anne Parent agrees. "Burgundy is sometimes not easy to understand," she says.

"It is not just a label and a grape variety - it's finesse, complexity, sensuality. People are trying to find authentic products and they want to understand Burgundy."

The talk at the annual BIVB tasting at Lord's Cricket Ground in north London in January was of how the 2006 vintage would compare to the celebrated 2005s.

In short, the whites from 2006 are very strong - well illustrated by the southern Mâcon wines and in Chablis at the northern extreme - but the quality is also particularly noticeable in the Bourgogne Blancs.

The general consensus is that 2006 reds will provide good short- to mid-term drinking while the powerhouse 2005s mature slowly.

Evidence here backed this up, with fragrant fruit, elegant style and easy tannins the norm for the '06s.
----=== Wine highlights ===Cave de Viré - medium-size co-operative in Viré, producing 26,000hl including half the production of AOC Viré Clessé; average age of whole vineyard is 42 years.
  • 2006 Bourgogne Blanc ??? Delicate on the nose but shows crisp, juicy and elegant style with a buttery mid-palate and gently tapering finish.
  • 2006 Viré-Clessé Le Virolis ???? Expansive, rich lemon and buttered toast character. Bright and crisp with minerals opening out on the mid-palate and persisting through a good length finish.

    Domaine Auvigue - family-owned 5ha estate in Charnay les Mâcon, also buying in from 20ha; all handpicked.
  • 2006 Saint-Véran, Moulin du Pont ??? Solid stuff - full, focused citrus with grassy, toasty hints. Open and friendly, balanced and complete.
  • 2006 Pouilly-Fuissé, Les Chaillaux ???? Intensely mineral nose, interwoven with lemon and hints of hazelnut. High-toned with keen acidity and elegant lines, well-balanced and promising good ageing potential.

    Domaine Feuillat Juillot - 5ha in Montagny lès Buxy, 12 of them 1er Cru.
  • 2005 Montagny 1er Cru ???? Scented fruit nose with soft, spicy wood hints. Plenty of fruit nicely weighted and balanced across the palate, opening out to a juicy mid-palate of melon, green plums and fresh grass.
  • 2004 Montagny 1er Cru Les Coères ????? Delicious stuff - nicely developed and balanced, perfect now but will continue to improve for up to five years.

    Domaine Pascal Bouchard - family producer in Chablis, no connection to other Bouchards.
  • 2006 Chablis Vieilles Vignes, Grande Réserve du Domaine ????? Rich and generous, evenly weighted and packed with fruit, supported by a mineral core.
  • 2006 Chablis 1er Cru Vau de Vey, Romain Bouchard ???? Bold and structured with smoky minerals backed by crisp acidity and juicy citrus mid-palate.

    Maison Albert Bichot - based in Beaune, founded in 1831 by Hyppolyte Bichot and now owning 70ha, mainly on its six Grand Cru and six 1er Cru vineyards.
  • 2006 Bourgogne Chardonnay Vieilles Vignes ??? Fresh, open, full of green apple, pear drop, fresh-cut grass. Crisp to taste with a clean finish, well balanced overall.
  • 2006 Chablis Grand Cru Moutonne Monopole, Domaine Long Depaquit ???? Cracking stuff. A little restrained but slowly reveals its character on the palate, mineral with subtle vegetal hints. A traditional classic.

    Domaine Jean-Jacques Girard - Savigny-lès-Beaune based, family-owned, 12ha estate; nine months in oak, a little new.
  • 2006 Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Les Vergelesses Rouge ??? Good, creamy richness with red cherry, black cherry, blackcurrant and spicy wood notes. Juicy and moreish, balanced by lively acidity leading to a good finish.

    Domaine AF Gros & François Parent - Pommard; very good across the board with some superb wines, and particularly notable for the forward fruit on the 2006 reds.
  • 2006 Chambolle-Musigny Rouge ???? Rich and opulent with ample tannin and plenty of black cherry, blackcurrant and plum fruit and a juicy, fruit-packed finish.
  • 2006 Vosne-Romanée Clos de la Fontaine Monopole Rouge ????? A little shy on the nose but the palate is beautifully structured with deep layers of complex black fruit lingering under a soft blanket of ripe tannins.
  • 2006 Vosne-Romanée Aux Réas Rouge ????? Tremendous weight of velvety black fruit, rich and powerful but subtle and expressive with a long future ahead of it.

    Maison Louis Max - 22ha in Mercurey, two-thirds red, plus grapes bought from more than 50 growers, mainly Côtes de Nuits and some 1er Cru Beaune.
  • 2005 Clos de Vougeot Rouge ???? A complex and brooding wine with plenty of fruit character on a tightly-structured palate. Develops to an elegant finish.

    Bourgogne Parent - Pommard; Anne Parent is the 12th generation and first female winemaker.
  • 2006 Corton Grand Cru ????? This is rich and expressive with great acid balance and a long, subtle finish. Generous and very approachable yet wonderfully complex, despite its youth.
  • 2005 Pommard La Croix Blanche Rouge ??? Spicy, peppery aromas. Rich and velvety on the palate with blackberry, black cherry and black pepper. Firm acidity keeps the palate juicy with only a dusting of balanced tannin, and the new oak is well integrated.

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