Much of the last few weeks has been taken up with tasting, and then writing, for a special supplement the Financial Times are publishing this Saturday in which I present my 250 best wine buys. I've never felt so close to RSI, which is strange since my recent update of the Oxford Companion to Wine (due out sep 06) probably demanded even more of my fingers.
For this feature, aimed principally at British readers buying wines for the coming holiday season, I tasted thousands of wines and as widely as I possibly could – not just the fine wine tastings on which I concentrate for purple pages, but also what the supermarkets have to offer.
It's not often that I find wines I am genuinely excited about chez the supermarkets but the other day I discovered something that almost seemed an oxymoron, a bargain white burgundy, at Morrisons. I thought this delicious-tasting white from the Côte Chalonnaise with a bit of bottle age on it seemed a steal at £7.99 in the better-stocked branches of Morrisons, the northern outfit that is still trying to cope with its recent takeover of Safeway.
Imagine my surprise and delight when, a day or two after tasting this miracle, I received the latest mailout from Morrisons telling me that the wine is being reduced to £5.99 from yesterday until 01 jan 06! If you are looking for a satisfying, relatively simple but beautifully balanced and refreshing white burgundy – the sort of 'house white burgundy' for which purple pager Martin Nettleton was looking in the £10-15 bracket in your turn recently – then look no further.
Some ingredients in this blend were apparently fermented in new oak and a presumably much larger portion was aged in oak barrels for 12 to 14 months. Of course it's not in the same bracket as a fine Côte d'Or wine, and should be drunk now rather than cellared, but it does seem a great buy to me – especially since most white burgundies on sale at this price level are either 2003s or 2004s rather than this highly reputable burgundy vintage.
My only concern is consistency. The Cave de Buxy is a very large, thoroughly respectable concern, with access to nearly 1,000 he/2,500 acres of vineyard in this southern end of Burgundy, but can they really have sufficient quantity of this one cuvée to last at this super-special price for seven weeks? I would be wary of buying this wine in quantity until you have established that the bottles in your local store please you.
Below are the importers which the Cave de Buxy's export director assures me have taken this wine in countries other than the UK:
Germany - Vinergie, Dusseldorf
Norway - Best Buys, Oslo
Holland - DGS Wijnkopery
Japan - Bond & Co and Izumi Trading
Ireland - Mackenway, Dublin
I do hope as many of you as possible can find this wine and discover that you like it as much as I do.