Burgundy 2010 and the sense of impending doom.

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. 

About Henry

Henry Jeffreys was born in London in 1977. After graduating from the University of Leeds, where he studied English and Classical Literature, he spent so much time in Oddbins that they offered him a job. He worked in the wine trade for two years and then moved into publishing. At the same time he worked as a freelance journalist, book reviewer, founder member of the London Review of Breakfasts website and contributor to the Breakfast Bible (Bloomsbury 2013). In 2010 he started a blog about wine called ‘Henry’s World of Booze’ which became one of the most popular wine blogs in Britain. Following its success he was made wine columnist for The Lady by Rachel Johnson and in 2014 was shortlisted for Drinks Writer of the Year at the Fortnum & Mason awards for his work in the Spectator. In 2015 he wrote a weekly column for the Guardian called ‘Empire of Drinks’ looking at history and alcohol. He is now a regular contributor to the Spectator, the Guardian, the Economist, the Financial Times, the Oldie and Food & Wine magazine on drink and other matters. He lives in Blackheath, south London with his wife and daughter. Empire of Booze is his first book.
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4 Responses to Burgundy 2010 and the sense of impending doom.

  1. Chaz Folkes says:

    Ouch! I hope he recovers soon. The wines sound a little out of my range, but I still intend investigating red Burgundy further this year. Preferably without the same effect on my big toe…

  2. Henry says:

    They’re a little out of my range too.
    You would probably think from this post that my father is some sort of port-swilling Samuel Johnson type when actually he’s very moderate and hasn’t overdosed on any of the things, shellfish, champagne, foie gras for example, that are said to trigger gout attacks.

    • Chaz Folkes says:

      My home town of Guildford is said to be the country’s capital of gout, something that doesn’t really cheer me very much. I’ve also come to the conclusion that there’s no justice in where and when it strikes, either. Staying off the port was probably where your father was going wrong…

  3. Pingback: Thanksgiving 2012 | Henry's World of Booze

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