From £120 a dozen (plus duty and VAT when delivered)
Demand for 2016 burgundies seems so far to have been concentrated on the smartest, most expensive, longest-lasting wines but there are some lovely 2016s lower down the ranks too. And they won’t cost you a fortune in storage fees. I have picked out two reds I marked as VGV (very good value) during my tasting at Flint Wines last week. Flint’s private customer business is called Stannary Street Wines and their 2016 burgundy offer is online here.
I loved Jaeger-Defaix, Clos du Chapitre Premier Cru 2016 Rully Rouge and saw it as fine proof that the Côte Chalonnaise can now field wines of serious interest to those raised on Côte d’Or wines. I gave it 16.5 out of 20 and thought it should drink well between now and 2024. The only vendors of it at the moment seem to be Stannary Street (£195 a dozen) and Honest Grapes (£198) in London but earlier vintages, marked equally highly on this site, are widely available in the US, Canada, France and Italy – although prices per bottle vary considerably according to wine-searcher.com. Clearly buying early by the dozen offers the best deal.
My tasting note for the 2016: ‘Lively, fruity and fun with real lift! Exciting and racy. Lots of personality and well made. Well structured and long. Transparent but also hedonistic. VGV 16.5/20 Drink 2018-24’
Red Rully is rarely hefty – the Chapitre vineyard, with its walled Clos pictured on Jaeger-Defaix's website and above from Les Cloux vineyard, is just west of the village – and this is just the sort of red you could enjoy without food, as well as with vegetable and fish dishes. Even fashionable vegan ones.
The small (4.5-hectare/11-acre) Rully domaine is owned by Hélène Defaix, who married Didier Defaix, whose family estate is the 36-ha Domaine Bernard Defaix. All wines are made at their winery just outside Chablis but the transport of fruit (or juice?) doesn’t seem to have done any harm to this Chalonnaise red. Both domaines were certified organic until the annus horribilis of 2016 with its rampant mildew. Red wine production was down 30% in Rully, where only half as much white was produced as usual. But thanks to the even more severe frosts that hit Chablis, along with mildew, poor flowering and, just for good measure, hail, Bernard Defaix’s Chablis production was down by 80% in 2016 (see Time to buy 2014 and 2015 Chablis).
My other VGV chez Flint was Dom Jean Guiton Pinot Noir 2016 Bourgogne, made from fruit concentrated by the tiny 2016 crop. Despite this, Guillaume Guiton has offered his 2016s (including several at Howard Ripley and Stone Vine & Sun) at extremely fair prices. Quite independently, Julia awarded a VGV to his white Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune offered by Howard Ripley at £60 for six bottles. He is based in Bligny just south of Beaune and has vineyards as far north as Pernand and as far south as Volnay.
My tasting note: ‘12 months in old oak, two in tank. Just bottled. Very attractive ripe Pinot fruit on the nose. Really textured but also racy and transparent. Just the sort of Pinot that New World producers would kill for – casually varietal! Not concentrated but a lovely drink with a certain chalky chewiness on the very persistent finish.VGV 16/20 Drink 2018-22’
This is just £120 a dozen from Stannary Street although, like the Rully, you will end up paying more than £10 a bottle by the time the wine is delivered, probably not until after summer 2018 even though these wines are already so much more approachable than grander 2016 reds (wine merchants tend to lump all whites and all reds together in how they are shipped). Duty of more than £2 a bottle and then VAT at 20% will be charged. Then there is delivery – free for orders over £500.
Dom Jean Guiton Pinot Noir 2015 Bourgogne, also marked 16/20 on this site, is currently available in the US, Japan, Australia and the Netherlands while Dom Jean Guiton Pinot Noir 2014 Bourgogne, another 16-pointer and still drinking well, is available from many different independent stockists in the UK from £18.50 and one in France, according to wine-searcher.com.