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07/04/2014

The Four Musketeers: HK/Singapore Tour 2014

by Guy Ruston (HK Sales Executive)

“…Joyeux enfants de la Bourgogne
Je suis fier d'être bourguignon.
Quand je vois rougir ma trogne,
Je suis fier d'être bourguignon.
Et suis fier, et je suis fier, et je suis fier d'être bourguignon…”

In this market where producers are too often beholden to brand identity, release prices and growth strategy, it’s easy to forget what this great agricultural product is actually all about. Enjoyment. You couldn’t wish for four better guys to remind you of this than Messrs Francois Lequin, Bruno Colin, Vincent Bouzereau and Virgile Lignier. Exceptional winemakers, charming ambassadors and a damn fine ‘barbershop’ quartet, we had the great pleasure of hosting them in Hong Kong and Singapore for a series of lunches and dinners.

I write this still bleary eyed, hoarse and my face aching from laughing so much, after their whirlwind visit and the many wines, many laughs and MANY songs shared during the past week. Of all of the world’s classic wine regions Burgundy can often be the most daunting, complicated and at times exclusive. It really shouldn’t be. Spending time with these guys and trying their wines was such a refreshing (excuse the pun) experience. These are delicious, engaging wines, that don’t cost the earth yet display in abundance the skill, terroir and most importantly personality, behind them.  

Highlights included:

2009 Puligny Montrachet Truffiere 1er Cru, Bruno Colin
I’ve sometimes found ’09 white burgs to be a little flabby, lacking the acidity and backbone of more classical years like 2005 or 2010. My God, does this1er cru from Bruno buck the trend. Balanced, crisp acidity perfectly frames the restrained exotic fruit on show. When I checked the price, it made me double-take. This is one of the most exciting young White Burgundies I’ve tried recently.

2011 BTTR “Back To The Roots” Bourgogne Chardonnay, Rene Lequin Colin
The youngster of the group, winemaker Francois Lequin is one of the nicest guys you’ll meet. We chatted at length on topics ranging from Les Bleus’ dilemma at fly-half to malolactic fermentation. His BTTR Bourgogne Chardonnay is outrageously good for the money. Packed and stacked with character it might be not only one of Burgundy’s but one of the world’s great wine bargains. Buy some.

2001 Meursault Goutte d’Or 1er Cru, Vincent Bouzereau
I was lucky enough to try this wine a couple of times, once with some local Cantonese fare and again with a hearty European dish. Fantastic richness and golden, ripe drops of fruit. Perfect to drink now, that lovely balance of acidity and generosity makes it so versatile. One wonders just how good the 2010 will be once it reaches this stage of maturity.

2011 Morey St.Denis Les Facconieres 1er Cru, Lignier Michelot
I really like the style of Virgile’s wines. There’s northing too forced about them, just really well measured, precise fruit. Beautiful aromatics and deliciously glossy on the palate.  Just be careful how you pronounce the name, especially after a glass or two.

Whilst the winemakers popped in to one of Kowloon’s iconic tailors to get a momento of their tour made, such was the fun we had, that one of our team decided they wanted a more permanent reminder of the winemakers’ time with us: 

Priceless.

A huge thank you to the boys for sharing their time and their wine with us. We look forward to catching up with you in Burgundy.