If choosing a wine can become a potentially complex task, choosing a great Burgundy wine can become an art form in itself! But rest assured, armed with a few basic hints from professional winemakers from Burgundy, you will be able to enjoy the best wines this region has to offer. We asked Labouré-Roi’s oenologists and cellar masters to share with you their five golden rules when choosing a wine from Burgundy:
- You will first need to find a unique brand, a reference, a name known and recognized for the quality of its wines. In Burgundy’s traditional viticultural sector, wine merchants have always held a distinct position. They have access to a large selection of producers and terroirs. Working closely with their partners in terms of quality research, commercialization, and marketing, wine merchants will bring their know-how in terms of the wine’s ageing process, with the help of their coopers. It is during this crucial vinification and ageing phase that a brand creates its own unique signature, by always looking for that perfect alchemy between wine and oak.
- Second important rule: identify the terroir: Burgundy is so complex, even from one climat to the other, that wines from the same appellation can be very different from each other, although separated by only a few hundred meters on the same hillside. The choice of the best Domaine, and the selection of the best terroirs and grapes of this Domaine, are essential in obtaining a good quality wine, and an exceptional bottle.
- Next, knowledge about the vintage and its characteristics: certain vintages, like the 2015 one, are exceptional and it is important to know them in order to monitor them, so as to shelve a few of its bottles in the cellar, before the prices flare up. But be mindful of the aging time, each vintage has a specific ageing potential. And a vintage considered “worse” can very well end up developing its potential with some time in the cellar. It is always urgent to be patient with wine! Let your cellar work its magic and patiently build your stock of wines to age and to drink. Actually, the “difficult” vintages best reveal the greatest winemakers. When nature was not generous, it is the winemaker’s and oenologist’s talent that makes all the difference.
- However, do not hesitate to get off the beaten path: in Burgundy, the great wine designations have a tendency to overshadow the lesser known appellations that nevertheless conceal some real treasures: Saint-Romain, Pouilly Fuissé, but also the Côte de Beaune Villages or Côte de Nuits Villages, Hautes-Côtes de Nuits or Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, to name a few.
- And finally, do not forget the wines that have won prizes and distinctions. Nothing is more reassuring for amateur wine drinkers than trusting in the opinions of professionals attesting to the quality and reputation of a brand. The Mâcon wine competition is still the most famed, but the Burgondia d’Or, or international competitions such as the International Wine Challenge or the International Wine & Spirits Competition, are also very good references. Articles in the press or the “culinary” guarantee from renown references such as “Gault & Millau”, France’s sommeliers or various wine buying guides are also relevant. They provide a trend the consumer can base himself on.
With these simple tips and a bit of perseverance, you will be able to discover Burgundy’s treasures and delight your friends and family with little marvels from your cellar.