Back to Beaune


On Saturday afternoon I met up again with Matthew who had had a marathon morning visiting five estates around Beaune. We had a beer together and it gave me a chance to get his take on the whole Burgundy thing.

I told him of our experiences that morning. To him, this wasn’t unusual and that there was a healthy group of young wine makers coming through the ranks who would ensure that, not only, the traditions of the region would be upheld but also that the wines of the future would be made in a more accessible way that would appeal to those who have been brought up on super ripe, turbo charged bottles from the new world. He also believes that the somewhat feudal nature of Burgundian society will ensure that the vast majority of vineyards will stay under family ownership.

Matthew’s interest lies in the vast diversity of style that Burgundy is able to create from effectively one white grape, Chardonnay, and, one red grape, Pinot Noir. He also reckons that you can just about rule out the rest of France these days for uniqueness as other parts of the world are doing it better and cheaper. The examples he gave were the Clare Valley in Australia for Cabernet Sauvignon and Swartland in South Africa for Shiraz.

He explained that you only have to look at the layout of vineyard around each tiny village to see that the differences in soil, climate and aspect create this huge diversity. The analogy he used was Puligny-Montrachet, where just outside the village there is a crossroads where you can stand and throw a stone into a grand cru vineyard, a premier cru vineyard, a vineyard which produces AOC Puligny-Montrachet and a vineyard which can only label is wine as Bourgogne blanc. The excitement for him lies in finding out who owns the Bourgogne blanc! It’s the same all over the region he says. People making great wine that we can all afford to drink alongside those we can only dream about.

The next morning we packed our bags and made the long journey back north to reality.


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