For links to all our articles and tastings notes on Burgundy 2014, see this guide.
This is a slightly longer version of an article also published by the Financial Times.
The week before last was Burgundy Week in London when so many young 2014 burgundies from good addresses were shown by almost two dozen UK wine merchants that several prominent French tasters came over to London to take advantage of this unique annual opportunity to get to grips with a vintage.
After supplementing my impressions from Burgundy itself by tasting my way through the offerings of nine of the more experienced burgundy specialist importers (Julia and Richard covered the rest) I remain upbeat about the 2014 burgundies. In broad brushstrokes, the whites are exceptional and there are many charming reds that will provide burgundy lovers with considerable if relatively short-term pleasure.
Given the upward trajectory of burgundy prices, I was particularly looking out for relative bargains, and was delighted to mark about 60 of the hundreds of wines I tasted as ‘GV’ for good value – with 10 of these judged VGV (very good value), or even VVGV. I was helped, admittedly, by the fact that the 2014 harvest was more generous than any of the immediately preceding ones (except in Volnay, Pommard and the parts of Meursault that were also devastated by summer hail), and by the fact that the euro has weakened since last year.
We are also helped by the ambition, determination and sophistication of today’s younger producers. Virtually all of them are technically qualified, have travelled the world and, unlike previous generations, communicate with their peers, continuously measuring their achievements among themselves.
There are also new producers coming onstream all the time, most of them yet to establish a reputation so unable to charge a premium for their wines. A good example of a very young producer is Chanterêves (originally called Chanterives). This ‘négociant-vinificateur' in Savigny-lès-Beaune is run by Tomoko Kuriyama, who trained in Germany with skilled producer of Burgundy grapes Paul Fürst. The other half of the team is Guillaume Bott, who by day makes wine at Domaine Simon Bize, now alas without its eponymous figurehead. The Chanterêves wines, particularly the whites in 2014, have a delightful, I am tempted to suggest Japanese, delicacy about them. I was particularly taken by Chanterêves 2014 Bourgogne Blanc (£108 Flint Wines) that almost smelt of spring blossom. I also loved the much more serious Chanterêves 2014 St-Romain Blanc (£180 Flint Wines), a really substantial, long wine that clearly demonstrates the potential of this appellation once regarded as virtually off the map.
(To keep all things equal, I have tried to give all prices as the equivalent of for 12 bottles in bond, although many merchants now offer wines in six-bottle cases, which I for one applaud. Please forgive me if UK allocations of some of these wines are already sold out. I have pushed the FT deadline as late as I possibly could, but quantities are always very limited in Burgundy. Perhaps try another wine from the same producer? Do take full advantage of advice offered by merchants, but make comparisons between them.)
One fortunate side-effect of climate change for burgundy lovers is that some appellations in which grapes once struggled to ripen are now able to deliver fully ripe grapes most years. St-Romain (see above) is certainly one of these, and St-Aubin, once regarded as definitively inferior to the most famous white-wine villages Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet, should now be regarded as virtually their equal. Many is the fine white from St-Aubin nowadays but prices have yet to catch up.
No fewer than five of my GV whites are St-Aubins, two of them from the gifted winemaker Olivier Lamy of Hubert Lamy, notably Hubert Lamy, Derrière chez Édouard Premier Cru 2014 St-Aubin (£220 Goedhuis) and, even more concentrated, Hubert Lamy, Clos de la Chatenière Premier Cru 2014 St-Aubin (£250 Lea & Sandeman). But I was also impressed by the St-Aubin value on offer from Fernand & Laurent Pillot (Lea & Sandeman) Marc Colin (Goedhuis) and Benjamin Leroux (Howard Ripley) – and, from my November tastings in Burgundy, from Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey and François Carillon.
And among whites, Chablis remains underpriced relative to classic Côte d’Or white burgundy. I thought the wines of Adhémar et Francis Boudin (Lea & Sandeman) were generally underpriced.
At the other end of Burgundy, the Mâconnais has produced many a fine white in 2014, partly thanks to the crisp acidity retained during the long, cool summer, and partly thanks to the increased poise of the best winemakers. I have listed some particularly sophisticated examples below.
And then, between the Mâconnais and the Côte d’Or is the Côte Chalonnaise, where there are now, fortunately, more and more seriously accomplished producers. Jean-Baptiste Ponsot (imported by Flint Wines and nothing to do with Laurent Ponsot of Morey-St-Denis) is one of them and he seems as gifted with reds as with whites. This is a great example of a domaine that has emerged out of an old family habit of selling off all the grapes to bigger bottlers. In 2014 it is his white Rullys that stand out, but his reds are better balanced and have riper and more beguiling fruit than most.
Other Chalonnaise bargains spotted included Paul et Marie Jacqueson, La Pucelle Premier Cru 2014 Rully Blanc (£140 Lea & Sandeman) and a plump, only mildly rustic red Dom des Moirots 2014 Givry (£102 Howard Ripley).
At the bottom end of the red-wine price range, a well-made Bourgogne Rouge can offer some of the best value. As usual they are very varied in style and quality but I really enjoyed several that seemed gently made to showcase the early-maturing charms of the vintage, including Justin Girardin 2014 Bourgogne Rouge (£69 H2Vin), Lebreuil 2014 Bourgogne Rouge (£98 Flint Wines), rather more serious than most Nicolas Rossignol 2014 Bourgogne Rouge (£120 Lea & Sandeman), and, from rising stars, Gilles Duroché 2014 Bourgogne Rouge (£132 Flint Wines) and Georges Noëllat 2014 Bourgogne Rouge (£150 Flint Wines).
Among Bourgogne Blancs, the standout example for me was Domaine Bernard Moreau 2014 Bourgogne Blanc, the only 2014 wine so far bottled by the talented Alex Moreau of Chassagne. It is absolutely stunning for £140 a dozen from Flint Wines. His wines are also imported by OW Loeb and Lay & Wheeler.
And from one of the posher merchants, Rémi Rollin deserves special mention for his 2014s. Rémi Rollin, Sous le Bois de Noël et Belles Filles 2014 Pernand-Vergelesses Rouge (£150 Justerini & Brooks) is an underpriced delight, as is his Rémi Rollin, Sous Frétille Premier Cru 2014 Pernand-Vergelesses (£285 Justerini & Brooks).
And the moderately-priced Domaine Castagnier is a welcome, exclusive addition to the array of fine 2014 burgundy offered by Berry Bros & Rudd.
For more bargains, see Burgundy 2014 – some bargains and for a guide to our 1,500+ tasting notes see Burgundy 2014 – the guide. Details of likely retailers outside the UK can be found on wine-searcher.com.
SOME 2014 BARGAINS FROM THE MÂCONNAIS
Prices given are per dozen bottles in bond from the UK importer at whose tasting I tasted the wine. Wines will be delivered later this year in some instances.
Christophe Cordier, Clos du Four 2014 Mâcon-Milly-Lamartine (£110 H2Vin)
Christophe Cordier, En Faux 2014 St-Véran (£110 H2Vin)
Dom Clos des Rocs, En Chantone 2014 Pouilly-Loché (£135 Flint Wines)
Dom Clos des Rocs, Clos des Rocs Monopole 2014 Pouilly-Loché (£135 Flint Wines)
Bret Bros, Domaine de la Soufrandière, Les Longeays 2014 Pouilly-Vinzelles (£165 Berry Bros & Rudd)
Dom Daniel Barraud Sur La Roche 2014 Pouilly-Fuissé (£180 Lea & Sandeman)
I took the picture above at the Goedhuis tasting held at the Philip Mould gallery on Pall Mall, usefully close to Lea & Sandeman's concurrent tasting at 67 Pall Mall. Benjamin Leroux can be seen tasting thoughtfully.