By Dean Euden
Majestic Wine Cardiff Bay
It was with high expectations that I left Cardiff on the 13th January and headed for London to the Lay and Wheeler Burgundy En Primeur 2009 tasting at Glaziers Hall. Since joining Majestic I’ve been drawn to the wines of Burgundy. Wines from the region have improved vastly over the last decade or so due to an ever growing number of focused and extremely talented producers who, in many cases, have moved towards more biodynamic methods. They have an understanding of viticultural techniques that preserve the purity of the terroir, something so important in a region of such geographical complexity and variation.
The tasting was a great eye opener for me having never attended such an event before. As well as tasting wines from a vintage regarded as notable in a decade of more than a few stand outs, it was a privilege to meet some of the producers who have given Burgundy back its reputation as one of the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay regions in the world.
For the Red wines, the Domaine that stood out for me was that of Sylvain Cathiard, in particular the Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Malconsorts which was rich and full on the nose with exceptional autumn berry character and a perfumed, slightly floral edge. On the palate it was rich and full with good acidity and a lingering finish. For such a young wine the structure and potential was truly surprising.
As for the whites, I thoroughly enjoyed the wines from Chassagne-Montrachet’s Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard, especially the 1er Cru Les Caillerets. Again even in such a young wine the balance between acidity and fruit promised much for anyone that is lucky enough to open a bottle a few years down the line. The nose was fresh with a subtle hint of mint. I was even pleased to try a very pleasant Bourgogne Aligoté from Domaine Michel Bouzereau that although not showing the weighty complexity of other wines that night (as you would expect) was crisp and vibrant and certainly held its own.
Of course there are far too many wines to mention from the evening but the wines I tried from Domaine Philippe Chavy, Domaine Jean-Marc Boillot, and Domaine Jean Grivot all deserve a mention from my point of view. What stayed with me long after the last sample had been poured was that 2009 is indeed a standout vintage for Burgundy, and a true reflection of the quality you should expect from one of the greatest wine producing regions of the world.