Last night 40 of us enjoyed an evening of exploration at Le Salon Privé in St Margarets.
Our destination was Burgundy, and the objective was to compare and contrast, and enjoy, some wines from the fascinating region. We didn’t venture to the Mâconnais, but the Côtes de Nuits, Beaune and Chalonnaise provided plenty of wine for thought.
I always approach Burgundy with trepidation – there are no rules that actually seem to work. Even price isn’t a guarantee of glorious wine, although it has to be said the better wines tonight tended to be the pricier ones. However, vintage, tiny variations in geography, and even producer seems to produce wildly different outcomes.
We were welcomed with a Crémant de Bourgogne, made by Stephane Aladame, a small producer in the Côte Chalonnais who has set up a winery from scratch and produces a very pleasing Aligoté/Chardonnay blend aged on lees for 18-24 months, with a price point of £18.
We then compared two Chablis, from the same producer Domaine de Malandes – their basic Chablis and their Premier Cru from the Montmains vineyard. Both fresh and ‘steely’ on the nose but the Montmains was altogether richer and lent itself to all sorts of food combination ideas.
The second white comparison was between a 2013 St Aubin from Chateau de Santennay and Chanson’s Clos de Mouche 2011, both from the Côte de Beaune. The Clos de Mouche was altogether more flavoursome and complex with a fantastic finish, although probably a bit on the oaky side for a lot of us. The £70 was probably a bit on the pricey side, making £23 for the St Aubin much more approachable at £23!
After a break for our starter, we turned to reds. First up a comparison of Chateau de Santennay’s Vielles Vignes Mercurey 2014 (from the Chalonnais) and a Pommard 2013 from Domaine Glantenay (Côte de Beaune). Sadly the Mercurey which was £19 felt rather unbalanced, a bit too much tannin and not enough fruit, whereas the Pommard was altogether more balanced, though despite its farmyardy nose it felt still too young, and for some of us the £35 price tag felt a bit of a stretch.
Finally we compared a 2014 Beaune Ladoix form Domaine de Chevalier, and a Gevrey Chambertin from the Côte de Nuits – the final wine having a lovely back story about the winemaker – a Melbourne hairdresser turned négociant with the rather appealing name of Jane Eyre.
Both delivered what you want from red Burgundy – beautifully rich and perfumed on the nose, and powerful on the palate with a long finish. With price tags that seemed more justified at £30 and £45 respectively.