WorldWine Tasting Report

2011-10-21

Burgundy - lights and shadows

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No, it wasn't a difficult vintage, at least if you just look at the meteorological parameters. 2009 - in sharp contrast to the following 2010 - offered ideal ripening conditions for grapes in vast parts of Europe, from Bordeaux to Austria, passing via Burgundy and Germany. All the more were we surprised during the tastings organized for us by the BIVB, the official wine body of Burgundy, in Beaune, allthough we had only accepted Premiers and Grands Crus for tasting.

To put it plainly: A whole lot of the wines which we tasted in Beaune were inacceptable. Among them wines which were sold under the prestigious Grand Cru appellation but which deserved, at most, one of the more generic "village" appellations.

But then, during the visits which we had organized after the blind tastings, we experienced the other side of the coin: wines with enormous finesse, firm structure, ageing potential - everything which you would expect from a great Burgundy. At first, this contradiction seemed strange, but Sylvain Pitiot, "régisseur" at Clos de Tart, and others gave us a hint, indicating that the vintage had perhaps been "too good", had seemed to easy to more than one of the grape growers: careless vineyard labour and far too high yields could have been the result of this "laisser faire, laisser aller".

Another problem of Burgundy apparently regards the marketing of their wines, at least on certain markets. Four days of visits were four days of helpless complaints. Complaints about the German market with its price pressure. Complaints about German importers, about the fact of not having any importers, of appeals for help to get into contact with them.

The question which I asked myself was: What does Burgundy to come to grips with this situation. The answer, I am sorry, must be: Nothing or close to nothing. Not only that the official institutions have stopped any marketing expenditure on the German market by the mid 90ies - they have just taken an analogous decision for the Canadian market - which resultated very quickly in the loss of an enormous market share on what once was Burgundy's volume market no. 1. Even the individual wineries do little or nothing to get a foot into the German door. It is, you might have understood it by now, a pretty sad panorama and I do not see any glimpse of a brighter future by now. Let's hope I am wrong.

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***** Anne Gros (Nuits-Saint-Georges) - Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru Le Grand Maupertui 2010
 
***** Jean Fournier (Marsannay-La-Cote) - Côtes de Nuits Villages Croix Violettes Vieilles Vignes 2009
 
***** Frédéric Magnien (Morey-Saint-Denis) - Chambertin-Clos-de-Bèze Grand Cru 2010
 
***** Michel Magnien & fils SCEV (Morey-Saint-Denis) - Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 2009
 
***** Clos de Tart (Morey-Saint-Denis) - Clos de Tart Grand Cru 2008
 
***** Anne Gros (Nuits-Saint-Georges) - Richebourg Grand Cru 2010
 
***** Jean Fournier (Marsannay-La-Cote) - Marsannay Trois Terres Vieilles Vignes 2009
 
***** Taupenot-Merme (Morey-Saint-Denis) - Mazoyères-Chambertin Grand Cru 2010
 
***** Frédéric Magnien (Morey-Saint-Denis) - Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 2010
 
***** Frédéric Magnien (Morey-Saint-Denis) - Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2009
 
***** Michel Magnien & fils SCEV (Morey-Saint-Denis) - Clos Saint-Denis Grand Cru 2009
 
***** Jean Chartron (Puligny-Montrachet) - Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Folatières 2010
 
***** Jean Chartron (Puligny-Montrachet) - Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Pucelle 2010
 
***** Taupenot-Merme (Morey-Saint-Denis) - Corton Grand Cru Rognet 2009
 
***** Clos de Tart (Morey-Saint-Denis) - Clos de Tart Grand Cru 2009
 
***** Frédéric Magnien (Morey-Saint-Denis) - Échezaux Grand Cru 2010
 
***** Frédéric Magnien (Morey-Saint-Denis) - Échezaux Grand Cru 2009
 
***** Domaine des Perdrix (Gevrey-Chambertin) - Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Aux Perdrix Les 8 ouvrées 2009
 
***** Daniel Rion & Fils (Nuits-Saint-Georges) - Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Vignes Rondes 2009
 
***** André Nudant EARL (Ladoix-Serrigny) - Échezaux Grand Cru 2009
 
***** ? Louis Latour (Beaune Cedex) - Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2009
 
***** ? Jean Chartron (Puligny-Montrachet) - Chassagne-Montrachet blanc 1er Cru Cailleret 2008
 
***** ? Taupenot-Merme (Morey-Saint-Denis) - Nuits-St.-Georges 1er Cru Les Pruliers 2010
 
***** ? Anne Gros (Nuits-Saint-Georges) - Vosne Romanée Les Barreaux 2010
 
***** ? Clos de Tart (Morey-Saint-Denis) - Clos de Tart Grand Cru 2010
 
***** ? Frédéric Magnien (Morey-Saint-Denis) - Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru 2010
 
***** ? François Charles et Fils (Nantoux) - Beaune 1er Cru Les Épenottes 2009
 
***** ? Daniel Rion & Fils (Nuits-Saint-Georges) - Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2009
 
**** + Jessiaume Père & fils (Santenay) - Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 2009
 
**** + Chanson Père & fils (Beaune Cedex) - Santenay 1er Cru Beauregard 2009
 
**** + Jean Chartron (Puligny-Montrachet) - Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos du Cailleret 2009
 
**** + Taupenot-Merme (Morey-Saint-Denis) - Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru La Combe d'Orveau 2010
 
**** + Taupenot-Merme (Morey-Saint-Denis) - Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2010
 
**** + Taupenot-Merme (Morey-Saint-Denis) - Mazoyères-Chambertin Grand Cru 2009
 
**** + Jessiaume Père & fils (Santenay) - Corton Grand Cru Perrières 2009
 
**** + Anne Gros (Nuits-Saint-Georges) - Échezaux Grand Cru 2010
 
**** + Jean Fournier (Marsannay-La-Cote) - Marsannay Les Longeroies 2009
 
**** + Frédéric Magnien (Morey-Saint-Denis) - Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2010
 
**** + Domaine des Perdrix (Gevrey-Chambertin) - Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Aux Perdrix 2009
 
**** + Joseph Drouhin (Beaune Cedex) - Beaune blanc Clos des Mouches 2009
 
**** + François Charles et Fils (Nantoux) - Volnay 1er Cru Les Fremiets 2009
 
**** + Bruno Clair (Fixin) - Savigny-Lès-Beaune 1er Cru La Dominode 2009
 
**** + Jean-Claude & Nathalie Theulot (Mercurey) - Mercurey 1er Cru Les Combins 2009
 
**** + Pierre Naigeon (Gevrey-Chambertin) - Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses 2009
 
**** + Pierre Naigeon (Gevrey-Chambertin) - Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru 2010

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