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Winner Details

FRANCE: White Burgundy

2014: Gold: 3; Silver: 8; Bronze: 6; Commended: 6
2013: Gold: 6; Silver: 7; Bronze: 2; Commended: N/A
Must-list status: 90%
Overall SWA performance 2014: C+

Commerciality is important in the Sommelier Wine Awards, with our tasters usually pretty hard-nosed about giving out stacks of places on the coveted Gold List. Burgundy, however, is one area where they are happy to make an exception, and if a wine is good enough, and fairly priced, it has a decent chance of getting on the list, no matter how many of its peers are already there.

Last year, for instance, saw a frankly astonishing six Golds. 2014 was always going to struggle to match up to that, and despite a good increase in entries, it duly didn’t. Nonetheless, our tasters found a lot of very good wines around the £15 mark, and our three Golds were all impressive for the money.

Moreover, they were all different. The astonishingly good value Le Quartier des Girouettes was described, approvingly, by Gold List co-ordinator Christine Parkinson as a ‘solid Gold, all day long’; the Berthelemot was light and graceful, the Ferret more sinewy and restrained. The Domaine Ferrand Pouilly-Fuissé narrowly missed out – a terrific wine, but one that our judges felt would benefit from another year or so in bottle.

‘With Burgundy I am looking for a clear expression of terroir, minerality, good acidity and freshness, with a certain texture and weight,’ said Medlar’s Clement Robert. ‘Most of these wines ticked all of these boxes, so price became the most important deciding factor. Some of the cheaper wines matched or exceeded the quality of their more expensive neighbours.’

Interestingly, none of the tasting teams raised current drinkability as an issue. On this evidence, 2011 and 2012 (which nearly all this year’s submissions were) both seem to be reasonably approachable vintages for whites.

From the Tasting Teams

‘Other than Chablis, Puligny and Chassagne, Burgundy’s dead because of the price. I’ve got some interesting Macons but they’ve taken two years to sell.’ Michael Harrison, Hotel du Vin Henley

‘I’m more scared about what will happen in a couple of years in terms of price increases and demand on the market. If you want Burgundy, buy it now and don’t wait!’ Arnaud Baudary, Maze

‘White Burgundy is a must on the list, so if you are only listing one or two, you need to have classic old Burgundy style, especially if it is served by the glass.’ Xavier Le-Bellego, Forburys Restaurant



‘People are prepared to, and expect to, pay for Burgundy so it made sense to spend up a little and have really good and expressive examples on the Gold List.’ Simon Woods, team leader


‘It was good to see that wines at some quite reasonable prices were showing classic Burgundy characteristics and some complexity.’ Angela Reddin, team leader