BURGUNDY & BEAUJOLAIS
Revered the world over for the unique terroir and vast myriad of appellations, Burgundy is seen by many as unrivalled. Where minor roads separate two plots, seemingly inseparable, where one can charge £500 peer bottle, and the other £50, you see the impact of terroir and producer to vineyard name reputation impact, first hand. Prices are going up, and as the next generation fight for their right to mark their footprint, often searching further afield, lesser known appellations or further South into Macon and Beaujolais. Travel anywhere around the globes winemaking regions, there’s always talk of Burgundy. The question often asked, can anywhere match it for diversity and elegance, for Pinot Noir (in particular, being such a gentle grape) and Chardonnay.
Beaujolais sits below Macon at the southern most tip of Burgundy. Considered old fashioned and tired by some, dare we say a bitt ‘naff’? it’s fast rediscovering itself and establishing its own independence. A breeding ground for young winemakers looking to build a foothold in this part of France. As land prices in Burgundy continue to go up, a new generation is finding that Beaujolais, and especially the Cru vineyard sites, are a wealth of possibility to make unique, interesting and quality focused wines of real calibre with elegance that has the ability to rival some parts of Burgundy.
2hrs drive South East from Paris, sits the small, peaceful town of Chablis, the gateway to Burgundy. With just 2500 inhabitants, mostly employed by the large number of estates. The soils here are unique, kimmeridgian is the buzz word, calcerous clay mixed with fossilised sea shells providing a totally unique soil (other versions of are found in Champagne, UK and the Loire) base for the vines, giving the wines that individual mineral-lick expression. The highest content usually found in the small number of Grand Cru vineyards (best of the best) towards the East of the town. With vineyard classification ranging from standard AOC, to Petit Chablis, Premier Cru and Grand Cru (based on aspect), and winemaking based loosely around site and invariably, the use of oak in the winery. A new breed of smaller growers is fast emerging, some taking the helm of their family estates. Many preferring a more sustainable approach to viticulture and hands off vinification techniques, lesser known vineyards are quietly emerging too.
See our producers L & C Poitout
At the foot of Burgundy lies the town of Macon. Mostly Chardonnay is planted here, lesser known and thought of compared to its more northerly counterparts. The temperature rises slightly, meaning in the wrong hands these wines, mass farmed, can be a little more full bodied & lacking structure or finesse. However, in the right, they can be true and bright, fresh and deliciously drinkable. Always offering great value, these wines have a good future ahead, as we look for value & accessibility without losing structure, verve and balance. Pouilly Fuisse is king around here, previously unclassified under AOC, it now is on the verge of gaining its rightful status of Premier Cru (22 sites are being considered). The slopes, climates and soils are special, giving the wines incredible verve, ripe fruit and wonderful value for money considering the quality.
See our producers David Bienfait
The ten villages that run North to South on the banks of the Saône, Fleurie sitting in the top half, each possessing their own unique climate and soils. The wines being produced today are improving beyond all recognition, in the hands of the next generation primarily, seeing the endless possibilities for the Gamay grape amongst others. Fresh, elegant, complex even, showing the soils, the freshness, the herbs, the baker spice, tea leaf….. Beaujolais has never been so good, and at lower alcohols, there’s real elegance to be found here as well as fantastic value for money. With beauty, elegance and structure, some even so far as to challenge Burgundy in various ways.
See our producers Anne Sophie Dubois