Burgundy is not a natural place to look for the pink wines that have so seamlessly been absorbed into the wine drinking mainstream over the past few years (see The rise and rise of rosé) but this wine is delicious. I tasted it alongside an equally hand-picked 2006 Sancerre Rosé from Serge Laloue, still pink Pinot from the most conventional French source, and thought the Verdet wine considerably more interesting and better value.
Aurélien (great name, and apparently increasingly popular in France) is the son of Alain Verdet, one of Burgundy’s earliest converts to organic viticulture in 1971. (Verdet, surely a rather appropriate name for a green producer.) Anthony Hanson in Burgundy quotes him as saying 'If you have a headache from my wines I give you your money back'. The Verdets are based at Arcenantt up in the Hautes Côtes, where presumably he has known some pretty lean years in the pre-global warming era. Now – who knows? – the vignerons of the Hautes Côtes may be coming into their own.
Aurélien worked with the widely admired David Duband before taking over the family domaine but he also, like so many ambitious young Burgundians, has his own small négociant business too, which was responsible for this wine.
The beautifully crafted Aurélien Verdet 2006 Hautes Côtes de Nuits Rosé is without doubt made from Burgundian Pinot Noir with all the integrity, interest and dry finish that that entails – no specious sweetness here – but it is racy and sleek rather than in full deep red mode. It would make great summer drinking, either as a bracing aperitif or, probably better, at the table with salads and all sorts of cold dishes. Actually I could imagine it going beautifully, if cross-culturally, with vitello tonnato. Most usefully, it is only 12% alcohol despite having no shortage of flavour and impact.
Unfortunately I can find this wine for the moment only at Jeroboams stores in London at the regular price of £10.95 but currently on offer online at the very fair price of £8.95.
At the same regular price from Jeroboam but reduced to £7.95 in the same summer offer is Dom Gavoty, Cuvée Tradition 2006 Côtes de Provence Rosé, another very worthy representative of its region – perfumed and delicate with a bit of bite at the end, but more suitable as an aperitif perhaps (even if great with aioli) despite its 13% alcohol.
I hope merchants elsewhere will take note of what looks like an exciting if not widely known Burgundy producer.