My Blog last time, “Burgundy: A Nightmare”, provoked several comments, thank you to those who did. Let’s look at what you had to say.
Firstly, why didn’t I name the wine I tasted: “you tell us the wines you like, why didn’t you ‘name and shame’ this one?” It was something I thought about while I was writing the Blog but I decided against. I had no reason to criticise the producer, who is well-respected, nor the – usually reliable -supplier. And, the wine itself was well-made; it was just that I found it disappointing for the money. Yet, it was the sort of price you should expect to pay for that type of wine based on the supply and demand situation I mentioned last time. At half the price, it would have been a ‘recommend’.
An interesting suggestion was that wine might have been slightly ‘corked’. Corkiness occurs when wine is in contact with a cork that has been affected by a fungus which, in severe cases, produces a nasty, musty, mouldy smell and taste in the wine. But, when the problem is more minor, you don’t get these strong, pervasive smells and flavours, just a dumbing down of the aromas and tastes. A possibility here but the cork on this bottle was one of these new high-tech versions that is supposed to eliminate 99.99% of cork problems.
So, should we, as one reader commented, “simply leave red Burgundy to the wealthy”? It’s a good question! There’s certainly better value elsewhere for Pinot Noir lovers – New Zealand, for example. But, when my wife and I visited Burgundy on a wine tour a few years ago, we tasted some lovely bottles that I’d be reluctant to ignore altogether. Perhaps reserve them for very special occasions?
And, finally, does the same ‘nightmare’ tag apply to white Burgundy, too? Happily, not to the same extent. Part of the reason is that white Burgundies are made from Chardonnay which is a whole lot easier to grow than the Pinot Noir used in the reds. So, although the top wines are similarly pricey, further down the spectrum there is some enjoyable drinking to be found at more reasonable prices. Check the supermarkets’ ‘own-label’ ranges. For around a tenner, many will have a wine they’ve bought in from the very reliable ‘Caves de Buxy’ (check the small print on the label) or try one of the 2 bottles pictured above from Majestic for the same price (when bought as part of a mixed case of 6 bottles). Don’t expect great complexity but any of these should be very, very drinkable and be perfect antidotes to nightmares!