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Burgundy – A Matter of Timing

Posted on 12th October 2010 by JN Wine


Burgundy – A Matter of Timing

“Every wine has it’s time; you just need to make sure you drink it when it’s ready.”

On a recent trip to Burgundy I think I had something of an epiphany. In the past, I will admit, I have found red Burgundies difficult to get to grips with. It seemed to me that being able to choose an enjoyable bottle of red burgundy required an encyclopaedic knowledge of producers, vineyards, vintage conditions, a healthy wallet and a temperature controlled cellar – so why bother?

Well, I think this trip convinced us all that it is absolutely worth bothering because the good stuff is absolutely delicious. Yes, Burgundy is complicated but a little bit of knowledge goes a very long way.

Number 1 – the producer. My favourites of this trip were Tardy et fils and Nicolas Rossignol. These wines were extraordinary, expressive of terroir, concentrated, balanced and made with real passion. Vincent Girardin (my love affair with white Burgundy started with his wines) reds were also lovely, more approachable in their youth and very appealing.

Number 2 – the vintage. Nicolas Rossignol expressed this perfectly – every wine has it’s time; you just need to make sure you drink it when it’s ready.

If you put these 2 things together, suddenly the whole business becomes a lot easier. A great winemaker can make a good wine every year – but each vintage comes with its own character. Some producers make wines that are styled for earlier drinking hence the importance of knowing your producer. Vintage guides can be off putting to say the least and even if you bought a wine from the ‘best’ vintage you might be disappointed. Wines with the potential to mature for a long time can be pretty unappealing in their youth. 2005 is a case in point. The message from Rossignol and Tardy was to wait – the wines going through an adolescent phase but will come out the other end as engaging adults! Buy them now and cellar them for another few years. 2007 was a completely different story, these wines from all the producers were really very pleasant and ready to drink (coming to a JN store soon). 2006 is just starting to open up; they’re getting interesting now and will continue to develop for another few years. We even have some Tardy wines from 2003 and 2004 which are nicely mature and worth investigating.

In some ways the complicated nature of Burgundy is very refreshing. Mass produced, stylistic branded wines are non existent here and they really do reflect the time and place they were grown and what could be lovelier than that?

Nicolas Rossignol, fine wine online. Jean and Guillaume Tardy, fine wine merchants

 Nicolas Rossignol

 Jean and Guillaume Tardy

Wines by Nicolas Rossignol and Jean Tardy

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