Thursday, 1 November 2012

Burgundy Trip (2011 Vintage) - Day One, by Jason Busby

An early start to get to Gatwick for our flight to Lyon. No mention of terminal confusion! Arrived mid morning in a sunny Lyon to collect car ready for 2 hour car journey to Beaune, one of my favourite places on earth, with its uncommercial, friendly atmosphere - oh and some of the greatest wines available.

Being a complete Pinot Noir nut and not having been to Burgundy on a buying trip for 5 years I was looking forward to revisiting some of Bancroft’s long standing wineries and a few new ones.
The first day however was a Chardonnay day with the charming Gagnard-Delagrange. A modest house with the cellar underneath still under the watchful eye of Madam Gagnard-Delagrange, though sadly Mr Gagnard-Delagrange passed away a few years ago. The winemaking has fallen to their grandson Marc Anthon who is carrying on the tradition of clean, well made wines from the Chassagne and Meursault appellation. Needless to say they were all fantastic and well priced, even the Batard Montrachet Grand Cru! We finished with a white and red Chassagne-Montrachet 2007, both superb and drinking now so we bought a little on the spot.

We gained the general impression of the 2011 vintage from barrel. The growers’ view is that this is a vintage that offered a little more in quantity than the 2009 and definitely more than the 2010, thankfully and will drink before the 2010. As we found out most growers believe the ’11 to be better all round in quality, which is interesting as the En Primeur campaigns for ’09 and ’10 were so successful. We can hopefully satisfy more customers with the 2011s. 2012 however will be very tricky as every winemaker endorsed the notion that quality is superb, but quantity is more than 50% down on the norm.

Now to my travelling companions – an Irishman that speaks perfect French but cannot work a sat nav renamed ‘The Pincher’ and the former Yugoslav with a great palate but also a great love of Marlborough Reds – not the Kiwi wine! Buying in excess of 100 at Lyon airport should have given us a clue as to the smoking ability of our colleague named ‘The Smoker’.

Thierry Amiot
Meeting two was with a new producer, Amiot, where we met the friendly Thierry with a mere 14 hectares around the Chassagne, Puligny and St Aubin appellations with a tiny bit of 1923 Grand Cru too. 16 wines in total, mostly white and all very well crafted to offer a slightly more modern style compared to Gagnard-Delagrange but still full of fruit and a touch of oak.

Starting to feel our teeth strain under the acidity and our nose turn red due to the freezing conditions, (weirdly colder than UK) we left Amiot in the falling sun to find our last appointment of the day, Domaine H. Lamy. The Pincher got the home rather than the winery address and the Smoker moaned and smoked but we arrived at Olivier’s house to be taken down the road to his stand alone winery surrounded by the plants we all love. What a climax to the day to taste a range of the best St Aubin around including a Puligny and a little Grand Cru, ten wonderful whites that I have always cherished.

Olivier Lamy
We left in the dark to speed to Beaune to find our hotel, check in and pop off to dinner within 15 mins of arriving – who said this is easy. One person even had the nerve to say this was a holiday! Dinner at a local restaurant proved a little tricky on a frosty autumn eve where gloves and hats were recognised as the evening’s fashion. A regular bistro with tasty food but an unsuccessful wine choice from The Smoker – co-operative Burgundy...hmmmm, led by a better choice, although unknown at the time by The Author (unbiased). A quick beer on the way back to one’s residence to cleanse the palate and off to bed.

Written by Jason Busby, Director

1 comment:

  1. Are you paying more than $5 / pack of cigarettes? I buy my cigs over at Duty Free Depot and this saves me over 60%.