2017 is not the vintage to be buying top-rung reds argues Peter Dean, who points out the lower-tier wines where the real value for money is to be found. This is the year to be checking out lesser known appellations, going for the entry level wines and picking up some Volnay and Pommard which have both been in short supply of late and never tasted so good so young. Oh, and the whites are spectacular.
Dean reports from the Corney and Barrow tasting held last Thursday in central London.
It has become far harder over the years to find great bargains in Burgundy, although if you have the money or budgets and can afford to buy across the portfolio there is still terrific value for money to be had.
Prices have steadily climbed over the years with recent small harvests the reason given for a hike in release prices. As we all know too well a reasonably bountiful vintage in the bottle followed by a bumper crop in the tank and barrel, doesn’t mean a drop in prices, although if 2019 is as good as 2018 was then maybe we will start seeing some wines coming back into the range of affordability.
The sad truth of the matter is that a lot of Burgundy is simply too expensive for large swathes of the wine-loving public.
With that in mind I attended the Corney & Barrow tasting to try and concentrate on the wines that were around the affordable £20 IB mark.
Tasting through the 94 wines my conclusions on the 2017 vintages are:
Stick with the village reds
2017 is an early drinking vintage with the reds pretty, rounded and ripe but lacking big structure – why pay the extra for 1er and Grand Cru wines that won’t age as well as classic vintages like 2014?
Catch up with Volnay and Pommard
These two have never tasted so approachable so young. A great year to add one/ more onto your list without having to wait years for the tannins to integrate
Check for greenness
There’s more whole bunch used in 2017 and a couple of the wines had a green/ sappy quality
Go long on the whites
From village to Grand Cru, the 2017 whites rock. Meursault can do no wrong in 2017 but almost everywhere the whites are spectacularly good.
Buy from ‘lesser known’ appellations
Whites and reds were showing very well in regions like Santenay, Maranges and Blagny that have all been improving over the past decade. A good year to branch out if you haven’t done so already.
Seven top wines from the tasting that have affordable price tags…
Chablis 1er cru Côte de Léchet 2017, Vincent Dampt (£18.75)
This low-yielding site always produces wine of great texture and this doesn’t disappoint. Even better is Dampt’s Côte de Léchet ‘350’ of which there are just 900 bottles – the fruit is riper here.
Beaune Rouge, Clos du Dessus des Marconnets, 2017, Pierre Labet (TBA)
This wine just leapt out of the glass with its pretty, fresh fruit nose, the whole range was tasting well but this light, easy drinker was the standout for me. The 2014 vintage is currently in the Corney & Barrow January sale which will make a lovely contrast.
Bourgogne Côte d’Or Vieilles Vignes 2017, Gilles Jourdan (£12.95)
The two Côte de Nuits-Villages reds from Jourdan were outstanding with a lot of citrus and acidity and a backbone that is uncharacteristic of the vintage. For sheer affordability and value for money look no further than this light early drinker.
Bourgogne Côte d’Or Cuvée des Forgets 2017, Patrick Javillier (£15.80)
I buy two six packs of Javillier’s Cuvée Oligocène every vintage because I just don’t think you can beat it for value. The Forgets is usually quite far apart but not in 2017 where it’s a snip at the price.
Santenay 1er Cru Beauregard 2017, Justin Girardin (£23.30)
Terrific elegance and finesse here – this and the two other Santenay 1er Crus on show were just so damn delicious and fruity but with a good rasp of texture to frame the core.
Mercurey Les Montots 2017, Domaine de Villaine, (£23.30)
All of the de Villaine wines offer amazing value – the Bouzeron is £16.66 the Rully a tad more. Assuming those could well be in your basket already, don’t overlook this beautifully made Mercurey – like the whites terrific texture and bite.
Beaune Blanc 1er Cru Champs Pimont 2017, Jacques Prieur (TBA)
Always a strong line-up but the Beaune Blanc was a stand-out for me – so fresh, clean and focused. Terrific finesse in all of his wines.
All prices are per bottle in bond UK (based on case price)
Corney & Barrow is a supplier partner of The Buyer. You can read more about the company here