Intimidating. Expensive. Sublime. Words like these are what come to mind when envisioning Burgundy wine, and whether you’re a novice or certified wine nerd, there’s no denying the significant barrier to entry to this influential wine region.
For those looking to dig deeper into this region famed for its single varietal Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, we consulted Paulo Pong, founder of wine import titan Altaya Group, who shared with us five choice Burgundies — each boasting exceptional value for money, and for some, spectacular ageing potential. “Each one is a Premier Cru wine, but they are close to Grand Cru in quality which means they are a great bang for your buck,” Pong says.
“All five of the wines I have chosen are from family-owned domaines and the wineries are still operated by the family owners themselves. Without exception, these wines are harvested from old vines. It’s a diverse range of profiles; each wine is very representative of the villages from which they come.”
He adds, “all of these wines are also pretty minimalist — with minimal intervention and are hand harvested. I prefer small growers who are very hands-on so these fit the bill perfectly. This less commercial approach to wine without excessive machinery used, really appeals to me.”
If you need a bottle or two under your arm as a house guest or are looking to stock up for the holidays, look no further than these choice picks.
All wines are available from Burgundy Etc boutiques; two locations including: Shop 108, 1/F, The Central Building, Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2812 2009
“The [first] three wines mentioned here can be consumed now, so are very approachable. Domaine Michel Niellon has recently been joined by the family’s next generation of winemakers, and in my opinion, it has improved the quality. Here, it’s got rich apple and lemon peel with impressive concentration. It’s still got some baby fat that will soften…”
“The Bruno Clair is a wine that I’ve enjoyed recently at home. I find the Savigny Les Beaune villages to be underrated and I believe this bottle from his Dominode vineyard is one of the best in recent years. An elegant deep black fruit-driven Bourgogne with quite some finesse; delicate, with all components light but tight on the palate.”
Sitting on the edge above the Grand Cru hill of Gevrey-Chambertin, the elevated vineyard lends the wine a slightly leaner character than its Grand Cru neighbours. Nevertheless, “It’s got a softer fruit character with good textures,” Pong says. “Blackberry and cherry with earth and roasted meat — very Gevrey in character. Can enjoy it as is.”
“This comes from a great Burgundy vintage, 2015, and is good for ageing. This particular vintage is interesting because part of the cuvee is aged in an amphora — about 50/50 in terms of oak and amphora ageing. Amphora takes away the effect of the oak which some producers and consumers don’t like, but I believe that those looking for a more natural taste of the terroir will enjoy this wine. Sentiers has deep soil of white marl and gives a wine that is fresh and floral on the nose with rich red-fruit flavors and minerals on the palate.”
“The same applies to the 2017 vintage — it’s also good for ageing. Great nose with floral notes alongside lemon and apple. Similar palate with slightly more subdued flavors, but it’s got the textural brilliance of the finest Genevrières, with such bright minerality and a powerful finish.”