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Home Winners > Winners 2012 > FRANCE: Red Burgundy

Winner Details

FRANCE: Red Burgundy

Prices rose quickly, but with some older entries and a couple of good vintages to call on our tasters found a good spread of wines here

Since Beaujolais grew up, packed its bags and left the parental Burgundian pile for a swish new apartment of its own, it’s rather shown up just how hard it is to get good, cheap red Burgundy. The tasters found one Gold around a tenner last year, but pretty much everything else was over £15. And it was more of the same this year.

The Albert Bichot, in fact, might not have got on to the Gold List, but as a Silver-winning sub-£10 Burgundian Pinot it’s a rare beast indeed, and well worth a look. Hard to believe that in the first SWA in 2007 we found a Gold Medal-winning Bourgogne Rouge for just over £5 a bottle…

Last year we saw a lot of 2007s, described by French sommeliers as ‘une année classique’, which (for non-Francophones) translates into English as ‘light, acidic and stalky’. This year there were more examples from 2009 and 2010 (both good vintages) and, unlike the white Burgundies, a decent selection of older bottles, too.

Still, bottle-age or not, the one thing you don’t get with Pinot is consistency. Our tasters went from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again all the way down the flights. It was like riding the Nemesis rollercoaster at Alton Towers, only with sommeliers spilling wine rather than ten-year-olds dropping ice cream. But, on balance, this year, our judges felt there were more highs than lows.

‘There were some very nice wines in the middle range,’ said The French Table’s Stéphanie Dhont. ‘I think they’re well made and the balance between the tannins and acidity has been good. There’s also a touch of fruit.’

Three Golds, five Silvers and a Bronze is comfortably Red Burgundy’s best showing to date and suggests (as with the whites) a couple of decent vintages to call on, and a bit of sensitivity in the various wineries.

The Berthelemot Monthelie was described as ‘a really well-balanced wine, quite floral and aromatic’, while the Vallet Frères Gevrey-Chambertin and the (older) Pierre Bourrée Charmes-Chambertin were lovely examples of older, funkier Burgundy.

The main difference between them? ‘I’d drink the Bourée Chambertin now. For the Vallet Frères I’d wait until dinner,’ said Felicity Hall of Min Jiang at the Royal Garden Hotel .

‘There are some younger winemakers showing their hands here, in the way they are expressing the fruit.’ Angela Reddin, consultant