From £32.50, £279 per 12 ib, €40.13, HK$380, $54.95, 5,880 yen, CA$62
Lay & Wheeler were just one of 13 UK wine merchants holding tastings of the 2012 burgundies this week in London (such a great opportunity to taste that I noted it lured leading French wine writer Michel Bettane across the Channel for a second year running.
At the end of their tasting in Glaziers Hall L&W (now owned by Majestic) showed a table of older vintages. I have added my tasting notes of the seven wines, from 2008 to 2011, as 'standalones' to our database. (An eighth, a red Lamarche Hautes Côtes de Nuits, was too reduced to describe.) If you want to see them all, tick the 'Standalone only' box in the tasting notes search and choose 16 January as the Date of publication.
The older red burgundy that really stood out for me for both quality and relative value (a rare combination in Burgundy) was this Dom de Montille, Les Sizies Premier Cru 2010 Beaune. When I tasted it at this stage two years ago, I liked it enough to give it 16.5 but it has aged beautifully, and a little faster than I expected, to such an extent that I thought it worth 17 now and reckon you could start to drink it already if you value youthful purity. I loved how it manages to combine richness and transparency. No more than medium-bodied, it has real freshness and a bit of liquorice perfume as well as a hint of raspberry fruit. It could not be anything other than burgundy and is so much the better for it. This is all the more impressive since the vines in the de Montille parcel in the Sizies vineyard are apparently relatively young. Well done winemaker Brian Sieve (who is such a good student of the English language) and Étienne de Montille! See the excellent map of exactly where de Montille's vines are (at the foot of the slope in quite clay-rich soils) here.
(I have to say that the cellars of the Château de Puligny-Montrachet, where the de Montille wines are stored and administered, are some of Burgundy's least glamorous. On the northern edge of the village surrounded on two sides by vineyards and on the others by the handsome parkland of the château itself, these capacious modern buildings look like a frozen-food packing plant.)
I must say I am seeing more and more delicious wines from the vineyards around the wine town of Beaune, both red and white. The Beaune appellation was particularly successful in 2012 (see our guide to coverage of 2012 burgundy - we have more than 1,350 tasting notes in the system so far) and yet the wines don't command the price premium that the more fashionable appellations do.
According to Wine-searcher.com, the wine is currently available from no fewer than 11 different retailers in the US (including by the half-bottle), seven in the UK, four in France, two in Hong Kong, and one each in Canada and Japan. As usual, most British merchants hedge their bets and sell only by the dozen bottles in bond, but good old Four Walls Wine is offering it by the single bottle.