I approached tasting the Burgundy 2010 vintage with a sense of dread that I couldn’t put my finger on. Perhaps it was the worry that I was out of my depth tasting such fine wines. What if I said something stupid? What if I dribbled Clos de Vougeot all over my tie? What if I called Jancis Robinson Janice? So I brought my father along for moral support. Despite pretending to have no sense of smell he has unerringly good taste in wine also his tie is normally filthy so he makes me look smart.
Drinking en primeur wine (young wine offered for future sale before it is bottled) is not normally a pleasurable experience. I’ve drunk very young Bordeaux and after a while my teeth started to hurt. One normally has to apply a different set of criteria when appraising such infants. See this rather good blog post by Matt Walls. Not with these Burgundies, some of them were already gorgeous. The words I kept on writing over and over again were ripe, concentrated and crunchy; the fruit reminded me again and again of very fresh Scottish raspberries – sweet but with lots of bracing acidity. None of them did that sneaky Burgundy thing of smelling divine and tasting of nothing at all.
Here are a couple to dream about. I’m not going to say how much they cost – they’re very expensive without being obscene:
Gevrey Chambertin 1er cru ‘Cherbaudes’ – Domaine Fourrier. Round almost plump but beautifully-balanced and very concentrated; I’d love to try it again in five years. A wine that it wouldn’t be pretentious to compare to art. If I meet M. Fourrier, I am going to hug him.
Beaune Greves Vigne de L’enfant Premier Cru – Bouchard Père et Fils. A wine I could love just for the name. It tastes good too – elegant, perfumed and fruity but with power, depth and length.
And one I can almost afford (about £18 a bottle):
Chorey Les Beaune La Piece du Chapitre – Domaine Tollot-Beaut. Smells very succulent with hints of strawberry, quite beefy on the palate with some tannin and a good finish. A very enjoyable Burgundy for Saturday nights in.
And finally one I wasn’t so keen on:
Gevrey-Chambertin – Domaine Drouhin Laroze. Lots of flavour but syrupy fruit. Quite a few of the wines from this domaine tasted overripe. They were enjoyable but a little tarty, almost Californian. I suppose it’s a sign of a good Burgundy vintage when there are wines you don’t like because they’re too ripe.
My father and I left on a high planning to spend all our money on red Burgundy; the nameless dread was a distant memory. The following day my mother called to say that he was incapacitated. He’d woken up in the night, his foot in agony. The doctor had diagnosed gout. Maybe that explains the sense of foreboding. My father isn’t allowed to attend tastings with me in future. I don’t think we can blame it on the 2010 Burgundies but I can’t help thinking that a lesser vintage would not have brought on the attack.
All of these wines especially the Fourrier are made in minute quantities so may already be sold out. All available (or not as the case may be) from Goedhuis apart from the Bouchard which I tasted courtesy of the importer Fells. I think Berry Bros might have be able to get hold of some if you’re nice to them.