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17/01/2014

Burgundy 2012 En Primeur: Quality over Quantity

by Team BI

A tank sample from BI's 2012 Burgundy En Primeur Tasting“Small, but perfectly formed…” was how our Burgundy guru David Thomas described the 2012 vintage when he visited our growers to taste the wines back in November last year. In the case of the quantity this is undeniable – there were just fewer grapes on the vines after the inclement weather of the early part of the growing season – and in quality terms it’s also pretty damn close. There are some truly stunning wines: the reds are pretty awesome all round, with both Nuits and Beaune delivering extremely pretty aromatics, sweet, ripe fruit, good structure and well-judged acidity; the whites are more varied in style depending very much on when the grapes were harvested and the altitude of the specific vineyard – but whether you like your whites rich and generous or lean and minerally, there is something to suit. Chablis in particular has performed extraordinarily well in ’12 and whilst the region always looks like great value compared to the big names of the Cote d’Or, the wines from Christian Moreau are downright cheap. Well under £300 per case (IB) for Grand Crus of this quality is frankly ludicrous – although long may that continue for us happy buyers.

Many of the private clients and journalists who attended the tasting observed the clarity of vineyard expression in the wines, and the fact that the grapes allowed the winemakers to really express both the terroir of their vineyard plots and their own personal style (although some believe the latter is actually part of the former… but that’s a debate for another time!)

Whilst many writers, and we as merchants, like to be able to sum up a vintage into a nice, simple category, 2012 is a little too complex for that. Whilst many of the great, top vineyards have produced magnificent wines, the tiny quantity and enlarged demand have inevitably led to price increases. The good news is that many of the better value wines, including those from the more ‘humble’ echelons such as Fixin and Savigny-Les-Beaune – and some of the straight Bourgogne, both red and white – are crackingly good with a real sense of energy, style and place.

You can view tasting booklet here and if you’d like to place an order, please contact your sales person. Unfortunately due to miniscule quantities in 2012, many wines will be subject to allocation; all allocations will be confirmed by Friday 24th January at the latest.

Here are some of the team’s favourite wines from the 2012 offer:

Sam Gleave - Corton Charlemagne “Back To The Roots”, Rene Lequin-Colin
“Great nose, quite flinty and mineral. Great power on the attack and gorgeous texture. Superb length. Quite linear in style but with a very satisfying richness. A seriously impressive piece of work from a very promising winemaker.”

Simon EddlestonEchezeaux, Jean Tardy et Fils
“We love Guillaume Tardy – he is a true eccentric – and his wines just get better and better. His Echezeaux is from a fabulous plot of the vineyard and for me (and many others I spoke to) this was the wine of the night. Sublime – pure, vivid, succulent Pinot fruit at its best… Makes you want to cancel everything!”

Aaron Turner - Fixin “La Place”, Jean Tardy et Fils
“Guillaume’s Fixin has always been a favourite of mine, and still represents cracking value for money. The delicious, concentrated core of ripe red fruit is framed by subtle notes of spice and a touch of earth. Superbly balanced as always, and very long – a must have in my opinion!”

Tom Chadwick - Bourgogne Chardonnay “Back To The Roots”, Rene Lequin-Colin
“At less than £12 all in on the table this is absurd – as one friend commented ‘I have just tried your Bourgogne Lequin-Colin 2010 it is absolutely delicious and should be under a village or vineyard name! Is it possible to order a dozen and if so at what price?’ This is proper drinking Burgundy that’s too cheap. The 2010 is long gone, the 2011 is sold out and when speaking with Francois yesterday he was HUGELY proud of the 2012. Believe it or not you need to order this now to make sure you get enough. Leave this a year and you will be laughing! Fast becoming one of the most popular Bourgogne Blancs out there.”

Giles Cooper - Morey Saint Denis 1er Cru ‘Les Faconnieres’, Lignier-Michelot#
“Say this name out loud and it sums up how the wine makes me feel. For me this is an exemplar of the qualities of 2012: it has wonderful, clear and distinct aromatics, masses of sweet, pure fruit and a gorgeous weightlessness. On top of this it displays a clean, mineral character that keeps you coming back for more. The fact that Virgile can express the true nature of this plot whilst retaining his signature glossy, polished style – but without losing any of the elegance of the fruit – demonstrates the capabilities of both the fruit and the winemaker. Virgile continues to impress us with each vintage he produces.”

Peter Newton - Chablis Les Clos, Domaine Christian Moreau
“Yet again I am staggered by the value of top end Chablis – and it’s clear that 2012 is absolutely a Chablis vintage. Christian Moreau’s Les Clos was one of the first wines I tried, and one of the best: vibrant in its attack with a lifted minerality and refreshing orchard fruits. Whilst the Valmur had breadth, the Les Clos combined notes of apples, pears, peaches and apricot with tremendous energy and drive. The oak too is perfectly judged, just whispering its arrival towards the back palate and helping to round out the flavours with further subtle nuances. Plenty of depth and complexity and at £285 per case – at least 50% cheaper than many of the bigger named rivals from the region – it’s an absolute steal!”

Anthony Field-Johnson - Chambolle-Musigny VV Rouge 2012, Lignier-Michelot
"Pound for pound…I thought this punched way above its weight! Lovely deep crimson colour, with very pure, fine, elegant aromas. The palate is precise, intense and beautifully supple, with good structure and a long finish (for drinking 2016-2021+)."

 

[Read more about Burgundy 2012 En Primeur]