Helen’s blog

Thoughts and tastings from Helen Savage, wine writer.

The best Burgundy stands out

There are marked differences of quality in most wine regions between run of mill producers and the best, but the differences can be stark in Burgundy. I was stuck by this at the annual Terroirs et Signatures tasting at Lord’s today, although I readily admit that it can be unwise to generalise to far on the basis of just three hours’ tasting – of around sixty or seventy wines. To be more accurate, although I found few wines that I didn’t enjoy, the really fine wines stood out a mile. I love, for example, La Chablisienne’s superb Vieilles Vignes Chablis 2007, now re-named ‘Les Vénérables’. It knocks spots off many a Premier Cru, with its winning combination of richness, deliciously crisp fruit and clean minerality. The oldest co-op in Burgundy is still ahead of the game.

But the real shock came with my first ever tasting of the brilliant wines of the Domaine Taupenot Merme. There was a quality and depth of fruit here that had me grinning inanely from ear to ear – fabulous, complex and fascinating, but all utterly true to their terroir. I shall find an excuse soon to write more about Romain Taupenot, and his clear-headed ideas about viticulture and winemaking – and his thoughts about when wine tastes best.

It was, of course, a propitious day for wine tasting according to the biodynamic calendar. If had only tasted Romain’s wines I might have given agreed that the calendar was spot on. But I tasted other wines that will surely taste better on other days and in other circumstances.

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