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tasting notes

One of the world's classic regions, the home of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but a total minefield for consumers. The heart of Burgundy, known as the Côte d'Or, is a narrow band of gently sloping hillside, encompassing some 60 small appellations. There are four different quality levels: regional (e.g. Bourgogne), village wines (e.g. Meursault, Santenay or Gevrey-Chambertin), premier cru and grand cru. But it is not as simple as this: because of French inheritance laws, vineyards are commonly divided into small plots, each worked by a different grower. To add to the confusion, some growers make their own wine, others sell their grapes to a négociant, and some négociants even have their own vineyard holdings. Because of the extreme variation in vineyard practice and winemaking competence, one vigneron's basic Bourgogne blanc may therefore be better than another's premier cru from a famous vineyard site. This is what is most infuriating about Burgundy: wines from the better vineyards are always expensive, but you may pay a lot of money and still get a poor wine. Pay very little, and you'll certainly end up with a disappointing bottle. The key to success in purchasing Burgundy is therefore knowing who the better producers are. At its best, white Burgundy is the greatest and most long-lived expression of the Chardonnay grape, combining complex smoky, toasty, buttery, nutty and mineralic elements with firm acidity that holds everything together. And Pinot Noir reaches its zenith in red Burgundy, making exotic, perfumed red wines commonly with hints of undergrowth or mushrooms. To the north of the Côte d'Or, lies Chablis, which makes lean, steely white wines of variable quality from the Chardonnay grape. To the south lies the Mâcon region, which is notable for its inexpensive and often good value crisp, lemony white wines, also made from Chardonnay.

(Prices and stockists in the UK are listed in brackets; as a rough guide £1 = US$1.60. Date of tasting is indicated by month/year at the end of the note.)

See also:

White Burgundy

Louis Jadot Mâcon Villages 2008 Burgundy, France
12.5% alcohol. Fresh, lemony, mineral nose is quite light and pure. The palate shows a herby edge to the bright citrussy fruit. A fresh, minerally, bright wine with a savoury personality. Attractive in a lighter style. 86/100 (£8.99 Booths, Budgens, Wimbledon Wine Cellar, Taurus Wines)  08/09  

Domaine de la Bongron Mâcon Clesse Quintaine Cuvée Spéciale Levroutée 1995 Burgundy
14.5% alcohol with some residual sugar, too. Rich and intense with notes of barley sugar, apricot, honey and spice. The palate is dense and off-dry with some sweetness and a rich texture. A lovely wine that’s bold and still quite fresh. 91/100 07/09

Jean Chauvenet Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Damodes 1998 Burgundy
1998 is widely regarded to be one of the worst recent vintages in Burgundy. But here’s a beautiful wine. The nose has some savoury, meaty, soy sauce and earth notes, but they’re not out of control, and are joined by some ripe, silky red fruit characters. The palate is where this wine comes to life, though: it’s delicate, like a fine piece of silk – a little fragile, but supremely elegant with a wonderful combination of smooth, sweet cherry and berry fruit with just a hint of earthy tannic structure hiding in the background. It’s a beautiful wine, now at its peak – but I don’t think it will stay there for all that long, so drink up. But right now, it’s all silky elegance and is so easy to drink. Quite lovely: I feel bad about giving this wine such a high rating, but I think it deserves it, as long as you’re prepared to open it now. 93/100 04/09  

Domaine René Engel Vosné-Romanée 1er Cru Les Brulées 2004 Burgundy, France
Really aromatic sweet cherry fruit nose with a sappy, green herby edge. Floral and sweet but also a tiny bit green. Smooth, lush, sweet palate with some savoury, grippy structure under the fruit. Quite complex and long, finishing dry and savoury. 93/100 02/09

Lupé-Cholet Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits 2006 Burgundy
Bright, juicy cherry fruit nose with some green sappiness. The palate is light and expressive with cherry and berry fruit along with a bit of grippy structure. An understated, rather simple food-friendly Pinot that is perfectly drinkable but lacks any real excitement. 84/100 (£10.99 Nicolas, on offer from £12.50) 10/08

Albert Bichot Domaine de la Roche aux Loups Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune 2005 Burgundy
There’s a hint of sweetness to the herby, red cherry fruit on the nose, as well as notes of spice and earth. The palate is reasonably elegant and expressive with a supple, savoury sort of personality and some grippy tannins on the finish. This isn’t a show stopper, but it’s a pretty solid example of red Burgundy at an affordable (by Burgundy standards) price. 87/100 (£10.49 Oddbins) 10/08  

Domaine de la Romanée Conti Romanée St Vivant 1993
Beautifully elegant, perfumed nose is warm and open with subtle herbiness, hints of earth and nice spiciness. A bit of greenness, but in a nice way. The palate is earthy and spicy with good structure and lots of elegance. The fruit is beginning to recede a bit but there’s lots of complexity here, and some herby notes meshing well with spicy tannins. Some people I was tasting with were disappointed by this, but I found it thrilling, although I wouldn’t say it has a huge amount of evolution ahead of it. And it’s absurdly expensive, but it is DRC. 95/100 (£699 The Sampler) 12/08

Philippe Pacalet Gevrey-Chambertin 2006 Burgundy, France
Quite pale in colour, this has a lovely aromatic, slightly sappy nose of sweet cherry fruit, with some subtle notes of fresh-turned earth. The palate is pure and elegant, showing smooth, precise cherry fruit with some firm, spicy, grippy tannic structure taking hold of the finish. A really light, pure, elegant style, but showing good concentration and enough structure to make me think this might reward mid-term cellaring. But it's hard not to drink it now. It's not perfect, but this is a benchmark example of elegant, natural red Burgundy. 92/100 (UK agent: Les Caves de Pyrene. £36.99 Zelas Wines) 10/08  

Leroy Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Fonteny 1999 Burgundy
Amazing blackcurranty, leafy nose. The palate is powerful and rich with dense fruit. Structured like a Bordeaux. An extracted, rich style that’s not at ease with itself. 90/100 12/08

Emmanuel Rouget Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaumonts 1999 Burgundy
Dense, intense, spicy and quite firm with lovely lifted dark fruit aromatics and a complex, sweetly fruited palate. Quite a serious effort with plenty more to give. Very rich. 93/100 12/08

Domaine George Jayer Nuits St Georges 2002 Burgundy
Made by Rouget. Beautiful aromatics: sweet, rounded, spicy and smooth. The palate is quite elegant with nice complexity to the sweet red fruits. Ripe, rich and delicious. 93/100 12/08  

Philippe Valette Macon-Chaintre 2005 Burgundy, France
Lovely concentration and intensity here, with beautiful balance between the rich bold fruit and smoky, spicy minerality/ A tiny hint of oxidation adds richness. Complex rich, toasty and intense with lovely boldness and intensity. 92/100 (£8.50 glass/£33.75 bottle at Terroirs wine bar) 11/08

Domaine Ninot Rully Blanc 'La Barre' 2006 Burgundy, France
A Chablis-like expression of Chardonnay: crisp, minerally, precise and with a taut presence. There's good concentration here and lovely fresh acidity. Distinct minerality is the central theme. Serious in a savoury, traditional style. 13% alcohol. 89/100 (£12.95 Jeroboams here) 12/08

Pierre Morey Meursault Perrieres 2002 Burgundy
Something not right here. Toasty, buttery, popcorn and cabbage edge to the nose, together with some oxidation. The palate is dense and savoury with good acidity but no depth. 12/08

Ponsot Clos de la Roche 1981 Burgundy
We bought this off the Arches’ wine list. You tend to approach old Burgundies from non-classic vintages with trepidation, but this was delicious. Beautifully aromatic with meaty, spicy, soy sauce notes as well as some fruit. The palate has lovely acidity and depth, with elegant, fresh fruit and some earthy notes. Beautifully evolved and drinking very well now. 93/100 12/08

Ponsot Griotte-Chambertin 1991 Burgundy
This is thrilling. Beautifully dense, spicy and aromatic with dark cherry fruit and a lovely savoury, slightly sour character. Beautifully perfumed and dense with lovely expressive personality and lots of complexity. 95/100 12/08

Dominique Laurent Ruchottes-Chambertin 2001 Burgundy
Very rich, smooth, dark and meaty with nice spiciness on the nose. The palate is intense, dark and spicy with lovely density and weight. Good structure. This is a powerful, rich wine with great potential for positive development. 94/100 12/08

Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton Grand Cru 2003 Burgundy
An atypical vintage for Burgundy, but this wine still has lots of interest. Dark coloured, it has sweet, intense, spicy dark fruits backed up by firm, spicy tannins. Really dense and quite surprising, I suspect this will benefit from some age. It’s not really all that Burgundian at the moment! 90/100 09/08

Louis Carillon Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Champs Canet 2005 Burgundy, France
This wine will divide people, I reckon. Nicely focused nose with creamy, nutty notes and precise citrussy notes showing some new oak. Oaky palate has nice focus and purity, with promise for the future. Oak dominated at present, though, and so the score is a bit of an act of faith. 92/100 09/08

Domaine de Chassorney Bourgogne Pinot Noir 'Bedeau' 2005 Burgundy, France
Frederic Cossard is a natural wines sort of guy who works with very little sulfur dioxide, and this is a beautifully expressive, pure, alive expression of Pinot Noir that belies its humble appellation. The nose is lively and bright, with enthralling spicy, almost meaty complexity under the fresh, vivid bright cherry fruit. It is slightly lifted, but not at all dirty or muddy. The palate has lovely freshness, with good acidity and spicy, peppery, sappy notes countering the sweet cherry fruit beautifully. Elegance, freshness and definition are the hallmarks here: there's a hint of rusticity, but it's not detracting at all from the appeal of this lovely wine. I think this is utterly beautiful, and I could drink a lot of it. 93/100 (Les Caves de Pyrene) 09/08  

Domaine de la Cadette Melon 2007 Bourgogne Vézelay, Burgundy
A bit of a rarity, this is made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape variety. Tight, herby nose. The palate is crisp, pure and mineralic with nice density of flavour, but all the flavour is green apples and minerals – it’s very pure. Not really fruity, but full of interest. 90/100 05/08

Domaine de la Cadette Claudius 2007 Bourgogne Vézelay, Burgundy
Bright nose is quite friuty and slightly minerally. The palate has lemony fruit and minerals, with good acidity. Crisp and fresh. 87/100 05/08

Domaine Valette Mâcon Villages 2005 Burgundy, France
There’s a bit of matchstick reduction on the nose. Powerful, intense palate is quite herby and minerally, with dense citrus fruit and some reductive notes. Striking stuff. 90/100 05/08

Domaine Valette ‘Le Clos de Monsieur Noly’ Pouilly-Fuissé 1999 Burgundy, France
Deep yellow/gold colour.
Intense, nutty, toasty, slightly bready nose with hints of oxidation. The palate is concentrated, intense, broad and nutty with lemony freshness and some bready notes. Amazing acidity. A concentrated, striking wine. 93/100 05/08  

Louis Jadot Les Climats Chardonnay Reserve 2004 Burgundy, France
This is a bit different: from Burgundy, where terroir reigns supreme, we have a blend of different village and even 1er Cru sites, in a wine labelled varietally. It's creamy, sophisticated and a bit toasty on the nose, leading to a precise, gently nutty, lemony palate that's fresh and mineralic, with well integrated oak. With some bottle age, this is showing really well, and is surprisingly unevolved. It tastes like an ultra-sophisticated new world Chardonnay. 90/100 (£13.99 Vickis of Chobham, Kingsgate Wine Winchester, £18.99 Thresher but with a multibottle deal) 07/08  

Simonnet-Febvre Bourgogne Rose 2006 France
Pink orange in colour, this has a sweet nose of strawberry and redcurrant fruit, with a herbal freshness. The palate is richly textured with a nice sappy finish along with the sweet fruit. Stylish and appealing. It's hard to make serious rose, but this is almost there. 87/100 (£9 Hayward Bros, Anne et Vin, Hennings, ND John) 07/08

Billaud Simon Chablis Grand Cru Vaudesir 2002 France
Fine, bready and minerally, this is fresh and bright yet rich and deep at the same time. Quite serious. 92/100 05/08

Bernard Van Berg Le Vin Le Plus Simplement 2005 Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire, France
This red Burgundy shows what you can do with a lowly terroir and yields of just 18 hl/ha. It's quite reductive (burnt match) along with vibrant red berry fruit. It's fresh and quite elegant with freshness and nice depth of fruit and a bit of meatiness. Very stylish for this appellation, and with a few years in bottle should shed its reductive youth and turn out very nice. 90/100 05/08

Maison Alex Gambal Fixin Blanc 2005 Burgundy, France
American Alex Gambal came to Burgundy with his family in the early 1990s, and decided to stay. In 1997 he set up his own small negociant business in Beaune, buying grapes from selected growers, and then making the wines in a largely hands-off, traditional fashion. This white Fixin is a good example of the high quality results of this single-minded approach. It has a broad, bready, fruity nose with some nutty depth. The palate is open and full with rounded fruit and some minerality. This is a really interesting white Burgundy with plenty of personality. 90/100 (£16.95 winedirect.co.uk) 09/07

Averys Fine Chablis 2006 France
Subtle and fresh, this isn’t your usual Chardonnay. But it’s not your usual Chablis, either – it lacks the mineralic raciness that sets good Chablis apart from most other expressions of this grape. There’s a hint of straw to the slightly rounded fruit on the palate, which is otherwise a bit neutral. It’s nice enough, but at this price I think it’s a bit of a let down. 84/100 (£10.79 Averys) 02/08  

Francois Mikulski Meursault 2002 Burgundy
Good yellow colour. Rich nose showing some evolution, with nutty, toasty fruit. The palate is quite rich with toasty, spicy notes and some lemony freshness to the fruit. A delicious, modern-styled white Burgundy that's drinking well now, but which I wouldn't age too much longer. Very good/excellent 90/100 12/06

Lafon Meursault 1er Cru Perrieres 1995 Burgundy, France (Tasted blind)
Really interesting: a bit stinky and reductive, but in a nice way, with a hint of boiled cabbage and rubber. The palate is spicy, complex and full with lots of personality. It’s nutty and quite fresh, showing some evolution. Very good/excellent 94/00 (11/06)

Lafon Meursault 1er Cru Goutte d'Or 1995 Burgundy, France (Tasted blind)
Honeyed and quite open on the nose, showing fat fruit and just a hint of oxidiation. There’s a butterscotchy warmth here. Hollows out a little on the finish, but it’s a nice wine, still. Very good/excellent 90/100 (11/06)

Marks & Spencer Saint-Véran Les Monts 2004 Burgundy, France
Lovely rich white wine with rounded, nutty flavours of apples and honey, backed up by some lovely minerality. Quite complex with richness and freshness countering each other nicely. Very good+ 89/100 (£7.99 Marks & Spencer) 08/06

Blason de Bourgogne Chardonnay 2005 Saint-Veran, Burgundy, France
This medal-encrusted wine (it won three gongs at the 2006 International Wine Challenge) is interesting, in that it represents the new face of inexpensive white Burgundy: the word 'Chardonnay' appears on the label alongside the appellation. It's quite rich, broad and nutty on the nose, with a warm, almost Autumnal edge. The palate is quite savoury and full, with a spicy, nutty character. Full flavoured and for drinking now, before the slightly oxidative side to the fruit becomes dominant. Very good+ 86/100 (This is, I think, around £7.99 retail, but is frequently on price promotion for £5.99, at which point it becomes competitive.) 12/06

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Chablis, Domaine Sainte Celine 2004 Burgundy, France
Made by Brocard, this is a lovely full-flavoured dry white wine. A good yellow colour, it has some subtly reductive notes on the nose (smoky, burnt match) along with the trademark Brocard damp hay and wet stones aromas. The palate is crisp and full with lots of minerally freshness and savoury, nutty, hay flavours. Very good+ 89/100 (£6.99 Sainsbury) 03/06  

Domaine Roland Sounit Rully La Bergerie 2003 Burgundy, France
Lovely pungent classic white Burgundy nose with a touch of toasty oak combined with smoky, herbal fruit. Quite minerally. Lots of rich herb-tinged fruit on the palate with some lemony freshness and a nice savoury character and good concentration. Relatively serious and a brilliant bargain at the reduced priced. Very good/excellent 90/100 (Co-op £9.99) 11/05

Francine & Olivier Savary Chablis 2002 Burgundy, France
Sweet nutty edge to the appley, lemony fruit nose. Quite full and accessible. The palate is fruity and nutty with a nice sweet and savoury character. It’s full of flavour: quite broad and open for a Chablis with an appley sort of tang on the finish. Very good+ 88/100 (£9.85 H&H Bancroft Wines) 11/05

Domaine Gérard Thomas et Filles Saint-Aubin Premier Cru  Murgers des Dents de Chien 2004 Burgundy
A bold white Burgundy.
Really lovely, full rich toasty nose which is bold and full with a subtle herbiness. The palate is powerful and weighty with good structure, lots of concentration and some herbiness. Quite a bit of oak evident. Certainly a big wine, but one with real appeal. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£14.99 Waitrose) 04/06  

Blason de Bourgogne Chablis 2005 Burgundy
Quite fresh and aromatic on the nose with a minerally, almost salty tang to the apple and lemon fruit. Typicity here. The palate is savoury and quite broad with good acidity and a perky lemon and grapefruit freshness. There’s a delicious zippiness here that makes this a perfect seafood wine. Really good balance of concentration and freshness. Very good+ 89/100 (£8.99 Somerfield) 06/06

Billaud Simon Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons 2003 Burgundy, France
2003 was an atypically warm vintage here, and it shows in a richer style of wine than you might expect. It’s full flavoured with plenty of ripe, herb-tinged fruit, but there’s still some minerally seriousness. One of my favourite Chablis producers. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£14.95 H&H Bancroft Wines) 11/05  

Drouhin ‘Marquis de Laguiche’ Montrachet 1996 Burgundy
Really fantastic nose : toasty and minerally; full and rich, with plenty of complexity. Dense, savoury, mineralic palate with good acidity. Not great, but a very smart white Burgundy. Very good/excellent 94/100 (10/05)

Louis Latour Montagny 1er Cru La Grande Roche 2004 Burgundy, France
Quite a deep yellow colour. Nice minerally definition to the lemony fruit, with white plums and citrus fruit notes. It’s almost structured. A delicious fruity white Burgundy. Very good+ 89/100 (£11.90–13.99 Bottle & Basket, Wimbledon Wine Company, Wines of the World, winescape.co.uk, Edward Sheldon) 10/05

Patrick Javillier Meursault ‘Les Tillets’ 2002 Burgundy, France
A top class white Burgundy from Javillier, one of the stars of Meursault. This is wonderful stuff: a savoury, tight minerally nose leads to a precise, crisp palate with bright acidity and good focus. It’s a little tight right now, but should age wonderfully. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£26 Jeroboams, Berry Bros & Rudd) 11/05

Domaine Louis Latour Beaune 1er Cru Vignes Tranches 2000 Burgundy
Quite a pale colour.
Very sweet, smooth nose of soft ripe red fruits with a hint of earthy, spicy complexity. The palate is smooth, elegant and soft with no rough edges and just a bit of spicy earthy structure. It’s not the most complex Burgundy ever, but there’s a nice texture here and some elegance. Quite a charming wine. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£14.60–16.09 Duncan Murray, Magnum Fine Wines, SH Jones, Bottle and Basket, Fine-wine-online.co.uk) 10/05

William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Bougros Côte Bougerots 2000 Burgundy, France
Fermented and matured in oak barrels, 5% new. Bright, fresh fruity nose with notes of herbs and straw in the background. The palate is minerally and bright with good fruit and length. Veru good/excellent 92/100 (£24.99 Waitrose) 04/05

William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Bougros Côte Bougerots 2002 Burgundy, France
A small lieux-dit of 2.11 ha in the 6 ha Grand Cru of Bougros, on a 40° slope. Natural yeasts, full malolactic fermentation, 80% barrel matured but no new oak. Lovely complex tight, herby, mineral nose. The palate is bold and tight, full of rich herbal fruit and quite complex. A brilliant effort. Very good/excellent 94/100 (£24.99 Waitrose) 04/05

Blason de Bourgogne Saint-Véran 2004 Burgundy, France
This is a fresh, lemony expression of Chardonnay with quite a perfumed nose. It has plenty of fruity flavour and is fresh and bright, with a nice mineraliness. Clean and crisp. Very good+ 88/100 (£7.99 Tesco, Waitrose) 08/05

Billaud Simon Chablis Tête d’Or 2002 Burgundy, France
Broad, nutty, minerally nose with a creamy, bready edge. The palate is concentrated and full flavoured with a distinctive nuttiness and a savoury, minerally character. A good, full flavoured Chablis that’s perhaps a little broader than I was expecting. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£11.50 Jeroboams) 12/04

Domaine de Lalande ‘Les Serreudières’ Mâcon Chânes 2003 Burgundy
Precise, fresh mineralic nose with lemony appley fruit and a fresh herbiness (foliage; green leaves). Quite classic. The palate is crisp but full flavoured with nice crisp fruit and a bracing mineral edge that counters the richness. A very sophisticated Mâcon. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£9 Purple Wines) 02/05

Château des Rontets Pouilly-Fuissé Clos Varambon 2001 Burgundy, France
This is fairly serious white Burgundy. Minerally, nutty nose is expressive and intense. The palate is full flavoured, minerally and deeply fruited with lovely savoury complexity. Very good/excellent 93/100 (£15.99 Waitrose) 04/04 Defaix Chablis Vieilles Vignes 2000 Burgundy, France
From a traditional-style Chablis producer, this is more expensive than many other straight Chablis, but it’s better than most 1er Crus from other growers. It has a complex, forward nose of citrus fruits (marmalade even), herbs, nuts and minerals. On the palate it is quite tight and minerally with a savoury, nutty character and high acidity. Lots of flavour and concentration. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£12.99 Wine Rack, Thresher) 02/04  

Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Clavoillon 2001 Burgundy, France
Anne Claude Leflaive’s white Burgundies are utterly compelling. Fantastic nose is complex, full, herbal and savoury with a lovely rubbery, cabbagey edge that is quite common in top white Burgs. The palate is full and broad with complex minerality. Fascinating stuff. Very good/excellent 94/100 (£33.49 Corney & Barrow) 01/05

J Moreau Chablis 1er Cru Mont de Milieu 2002 Burgundy
Nice, quite delicate ‘Chablis’ nose with hints of minerals and lemony, stony fruit. There’s a savoury lifted acid edge. The palate is mouthfilling, herb tinged and minerally. Nice density to this savoury white. Very good+ 89/100 (Virgin Wines) 01/05

Domaine Thibert Pouilly Vinzelles ‘Les Longeays’ 2003 Burgundy, France
Rich, toasty, bready, doughy nose is very classy. Ripe and open. The palate is broad with a slightly smoky, toasty character. Modern in style but very classy: a smart white Burgundy. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£8.99 Waitrose) 05/05

Domaine Patrick Javiller ‘Cuvée des Forgets’ Bourgogne 2001
This is stunning quality for a Bourgogne: I’d have this in preference to most village Meursaults. A reasonably deep colour, it has a fragrant nose of nutty, rounded, slightly honeyed fruit. There’s a whiff of smokiness. The palate is broad with more nuttiness and a nice minerally finish with lovely acidic structure. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£12.45   Berry Bros & Rudd) 02/04

Bouchard Corton Charlemagne 2000 Burgundy
Classy. Quite delicate minerally, toasty nose. The palate is nutty and full with lean, savoury fruit. Quite taut and minerally. Very good/excellent 92/100 07/04

Bouchard Corton Charlemagne 1998 Burgundy
Evolved, complex nose is herby, minerally and cabbagey. Very tight and engaging. Beguiling. The palate is nutty, rich and minerally with great depth. Complex and seamless, this is drinking perfectly now. Excellent 95/100 07/04

Dujac Morey St Denis 1er Cru Moints Lusants 2001 Burgundy
Lovely lemony, minerally nose which is delicate and fresh. Great concentration on the palate which shows precisely focused fruit with a mineralic density and subtle nuttiness. Good acidity. Very fine white Burgundy. Very good/excellent 94/100 05/04

Dominique Lafon Meursault Charmes 1992 Burgundy
I would have expected this to be more developed given its age and vintage. It’s actually fantastic. Lovely lemony, spicy, toasty intensity to the nose. The palate is brilliantly complex, minerally and spicy with some nutty, toasty notes. Very minerally and complex; beautifully focused, and drinking well now. Excellent 95/100 05/04

Faively Corton Charlemagne 1999 Burgundy
Deep coloured. Very rich, toasty nose is quite classy. Full nutty palate of great intensity. Very rich and concentrated with a slightly herby edge. Very good/excellent 94/100 07/04

Olivier Leflaive Corton Charlemagne 2000 Burgundy
Very mealy, nutty nose is rounded and bready. The palate is rounded, evolved and bready. A very nutty, mealy expression of Corton Charlemagne: quite classy, but I’m not keen on the style: it is too bready. Very good/excellent 91/100 07/04

Bouchard Meursault Genevrières 2000 Burgundy
Quite rich and toasty with lots of bready, oaty flavour. Quite classy. Very good/excellent 90/100 07/04

Olivier Leflaive Meursault 1er Cru Les Poruzots 2000 Burgundy
Open nose is smoky, herby and minerally – perhaps a bit of reduction. Savoury, structured palate. A really nice white Burgundy showing great balance and some complexity. Drinking now. Very good/excellent 92/100 07/04

Olivier Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Les Vergers 2000 Burgundy
Taut, lemony and minerally with some complexity. Lovely mineralic depth to the complex palate, which is taut and quite elegant. Very good/excellent 92/100 07/04

Olivier Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Les Garennes 2000 Bugundy
Seamless, savoury, bready nose which is slightly mineralic. Quite focused. The palate is taut and minerally with good acid and nice complexity. Nice savoury, minerally style. Very good/excellent 93/100 07/04  

Alain Delaye Pouilly Loché 2001 Burgundy, France
Distinctive savoury nose with a hint of lifted acid and lots of herby, slightly cabbagey fruit. The palate is full, savoury and nutty with more herbal character. Lots of flavour here: a classic traditional styled white Burgundy. Good food wine. Very good+ 87/100 (07/04)

Château de Messey Macon les Crets 1998 Burgundy, France
Quite a complex nutty nose with high-toned, herb-tinged lemony fruit. The palate is fesh, minerally and full flavoured. A savoury style with good acidity. Very good quality and less evolved than you might expect. Very good/excellent 90/100 (07/04)

Louis Bouillot Crémant de Bourgogne
Full flavoured with clean, subtly herby fruit on the nose, and lots of lemony freshness. Nice balance on the palat with lovely fresh acidity. Lots of fruit, but a hint of savoury complexity, too. Delicious. Very good/excellent 90/100 (07/04)

William Fevre Chablis 2002 Burgundy, France
Lovely fresh nose: crisp and minerally with citrus and grapefruit character, together with a perfumed, nutty, damp straw note. The palate is savoury with a good concentration of minerally fruit. Lovely definition and balance. Despite the concentration this is not at all thick and heavy. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£8.99 Sainsbury)

Defaix Chablis Vieilles Vignes 2000 Burgundy, France
From a traditional-style Chablis producer, this is more expensive than many other straight Chablis, but it’s better than most 1er Crus from other growers. It has a complex, forward nose of citrus fruits (marmalade even), herbs, nuts and minerals. On the palate it is quite tight and minerally with a savoury, nutty character and high acidity. Lots of flavour and concentration. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£12.99 Wine Rack, Thresher) 02/04  

Domaine Patrick Javiller ‘Cuvée des Forgets’ Bourgogne 2001 Burgundy, France
This is stunning quality for a Bourgogne: I’d have this in preference to most village Meursaults. A reasonably deep colour, it has a fragrant nose of nutty, rounded, slightly honeyed fruit. There’s a whiff of smokiness. The palate is broad with more nuttiness and a nice minerally finish with lovely acidic structure. Very good/excellent 91/100 (Berry Bros & Rudd)  02/04

Defaix Chablis Vieilles Vignes 2000 Burgundy, France
Defaix are one of my favourite Chablis producers, making very traditional-styled wines and releasing them late with some bottle age. This has a complex nose of citrus fruits, herbs, nuts and minerals. The palate is full flavoured but tight with lots of nutty, minerally character and lively acidity. Very good/excellent 92/100 (Threshers/Wine Rack £12.99) 02/04

William Fevre Chablis 2002 Burgundy, France
Lovely fresh nose: crisp and minerally with citrus and grapefruit character, together with a perfumed, nutty, damp straw note. The palate is savoury with a good concentration of minerally fruit. Lovely definition and balance. Despite the concentration this is not at all thick and heavy. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£8.99 Sainsbury)

JM Brocard Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir 2000 Burgundy, France
Taut, minerally herby lemon fruit nose. Great concentration of classy herby fruit on the palate with a savoury edge and good balance. Real potential for the future. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£22.95 Waitrose) 04/03

Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix Chablis 1er Cru Côte de Léchet 1997 Burgundy, France
Daniel Defaix is a true terroirist, making authentic expressions of terroir from 25 hectares of vines including holdings in three premier crus and a small section of Grand Cru Les Blanchots. This wine is quite deep coloured with a broad nutty, minerally nose that is complex and appealing. The lovely savoury, nutty palate has a mineralic edge with lots of flavour. Quite complex and drinking well now. Very good/excellent (£19.95 Berry Bros) 10/03

Domaine François Jobard Meursault 1998 Burgundy, France
Jobard has 5 ha of vines in Meursault and produces just 2000 cases per year. He’s traditional in his approach. This is a savoury, nutty wine with bright fruit and good acidity. Fresh and with lots of personality; tending towards austerity. Very good+ 88/100 (£28.45 Berry Bros) 10/03

Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2000 Burgundy
Anne Claude Leflaive's wines are some of the most illustrious white Burgundies of all, and on this showing it's easy to see why. Remarkably complex nutty, toasty and expressive. Mindblowing, actually. The palate is concentrated, complex and minerally with high acid. Savoury and intense; quite profound with great elegance. Excellent 97/100 09/03

JM Brocard Chablis 1er Cru Vaucopin 2000, Burgundy
Appealing nose of nutty, straw-tinged, honeyed lemony fruit. Palate is quite rich and fruity with lovely gently nutty texture. A crisp, modern yet classic take on Chablis. Very good/excellent 11/02

Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 1er Cru Vacoupin 2000, Burgundy
Brocard's wines are modern-styled but good, and this is no exception. Very distinctive mealy, bready savoury nose with some honey and minerals. Quite intense and refined. The palate is smooth and concentrated with savoury, creamy fruit. Quite a rich texture: concentrated and intense. A striking wine with lots of character. Very good/excellent 09/02  

Cave de Prissé Saint-Veran 2001 Burgundy, France
Delicate but full nose of lemon, honey and nuts. The palate is fresh and nutty, showing appley, lemony fruit and good acidity. Tart finish, so this needs food. Very good 84/100 (£7.99 Thresher, Wine Rack) 11/03

Domaine Louis Carillon Puligny Montrachet 2000, Burgundy
The restrained, fresh lemony nose shows some nutty character. The palate is savoury and restrained with crisp nutty fruit. Classy, but a bit light, and £35 is expensive for a village-level wine. Very good+ (£35 Waitrose) 10/02

Bouchard Père et Fils Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 2000, Burgundy
Some nutty complexity on the tight-yet-classy nose, which has a smoky, minerally edge. The palate is rich, very nutty and slightly vanilla-edged. Tasty and rich, this isn’t a huge wine but it does have some class. Expensive. Very good/excellent (£50 Waitrose) 10/02)  

Comtes Lafon Meursault Genevrières 1er Cru 1990, Burgundy
(Tasted blind, note as written) Deep yellow/gold colour. Quite a rich oatmealy, butterscotch-edged nose with a spicy character. Very rich palate with a nutty, full texture. Quite mature, this is quite a complex white Burgundy, but that’s as close as I can get. Very good+ 06/02

Olivier Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles 1993, Burgundy
(Tasted blind, note as written) Yellow/gold colour. Rich, toasty nose with some oak evident. Quite a tight minerally palate with good acid and a toasty, lemony edge. Nice minerality here and good concentration, but not quite all together. Very good+ 06/02

Cave Coop de Buxy Bourgogne Passetoutgrains 2001
Simple spicy raspberry fruit with good acidity. Clean and refreshing. Good/very good (£3.99 Majestic) 10/02

Cave Coop de Buxy Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2000
Light with clean juicy fruit. Savoury. Good/very good (£5.99 Majestic) 10/02

Louis Latour Marsannay Rouge 1999
Pale coloured. Appealing herby cherry fruit nose. Nice savoury edge to the cherry fruit on the palate. Tasty in a light style. Very good (£7.49  Majestic) 10/02

Louis Latour Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Ile de Vergelesses 1997
Another pale wine. Sweet herby nose. Palate shows well balanced spicy herby character. Savoury and restrained but lacks intensity. Very good (£13.99 Majestic) 10/02

Domaine Marc Roy Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes 1999
Striking forward nose of sweet spicy red fruits – some new oak apparent. Soft, sweet concentrated palate with spicy structure. Forward and appealing but a bit oaky. Very good+ (£14.99 Majestic) 10/02

Domaine Marc Roy Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur 2000
Spicy, tarry edge to the forward berry fruit on the nose. Dense, herb-tinged raspberry fruit on the palate with some spicy complexity. Appealing in a full-on concentrated style. Very good/excellent (£16.99 Majestic) 10/02

Domaine Albert Morot Savigny-Les-Beaune ‘La Batallière au Vergelesses’ 1999
Tight and structured Pinot Noir with good concentration but currently quite closed. Firm. Very good+ (£16.99 Majestic) 10/02

Domaine Albert Morot Beaune 1er Cru ‘Les Toussaints’ 1999
Focused, herb-tinged fruit on the nose. Richly fruited palate with good concentration and firm acidity and tannic structure. Needs time and a little closed. Quite a serious red Burgundy. Very good/excellent (£18.99 Majestic) 10/02

Domaine Long Depaquit Chablis Grand Cru La Moutonne 1999, Burgundy, France
This domaine has 62 ha of vines, including holdings in four premier and five grand crus. This wine is made from the 2.35 ha ‘monopole’ (i.e. they own the lot) grand cru vineyard La Moutonne. It has a tight, restrained nutty nose with a concentrated mineralic, nutty palate. Quite old fashioned and savoury with a butterscotch edge, I suspect this needs some time. Very good+ (£27.95 Berry Bros) 04/02

Domaine Louis Carillon Puligny Montrachet Les Champs Canet 1998, Burgundy, France
From a 12 ha domaine managed by Jacques and Philippe Carillon. Rich nutty nose and palate with a good concentration of savoury fruit. Quite tight, with a smoky edge. Needs time. Very good+ (£29.95 Berry Bros) 04/02

Domaine Denis Boussey Meursault ‘Pré de Manche’ 1999, Burgundy, France
Classically styled nutty fruit, but it doesn’t stand out. Very good (£16.95 Berry Bros) 04/02

Domaine Jacques Prieur Meursault Les Perrières 1999, Burgundy, France
Impressive heavy bottle. Rich, complex nutty nose with a toasty edge. Palate is concentrated with lots of acid structure and a minerally edge to the dense citrussy fruit. Currently quite acidic but with real potential. Very good/excellent (£46.95 Berry Bros) 04/02

Domaine Joseph Matrot Meursault 1998, Burgundy, France
Established in 1909 by Joseph Matrot and now run by his grandson Thierry. Lifted, savoury herbal edge to the nose. Chunky lemon fruit on the palate with some herbal character. Very savoury at the moment but with potential. Very good+ (£24.45 Berry Bros) 04/02

Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 2000, Burgundy, France
Very nicely made, in a clean, modern style. Lovely, slightly mineralic nose with some lemony notes. Palate has a nice balance showing clean, crisp lemony fruit and mineralic acidity. Textbook stuff with plenty of interest. Very good+ (£8.29 Oddbins) 12/01

François Mikulsky Meursault 1999, Burgundy
(Tasted blind, note as written) Big, lean, toasty nose with some nutty complexity and appley fruit. The palate is lean with some savoury oaking, and quite a restrained, dry finish. It’s a classy, cool climate Chardonnay, but with this much oak it could either be an oaky Burgundy or a classy new world Chard. Very good+ (£22 Handford Fine Wine) 07/01

Château de Puligny Montrachet Meursault 1er Cru 'Les Purozots' 1999, Burgundy
Well defined, bready, nutty nose with a creamy edge. Full flavoured palate is quite powerful with a lovely savoury, nutty character. Classy stuff; quite oaky, but lovely. Very good/excellent (c. £18 Oddbins) 10/01

Claude Denogent Pouilly Fuissé Cuvée 1999, Burgundy
Quite pale colour. Slightly toasty, herby/nutty nose. Lovely fresh palate with plenty of concentrated citrussy fruit and rich undertones. Classy stuff, currently a little tight. Very good+ (£15.67 Bibendum) 11/01

Jean-Paul Droin Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons 1999, Burgundy
There's some flinty minerality here, but also some nutty, slightly toasty richness. Lovely rich, broad palate with plenty of fruit, perhaps some oak and nice tight acidity. Well put together. Very good+ (£11.16 Bibendum) 11/01

Denis Pommier Chablis 1999, Burgundy
A newer producer in the region, and one to watch out for. Ripe, clean, fresh nose is full and expressive, with a bit of herbiness and an attractive minerality. The palate is ripe, showing good length and intensity with moderate acidity. Lovely rich wine but still fresh. Very good/excellent 06/01

Denis Pommier Chablis 1er Cru Côtes de Léchet Vieilles Vignes 1999, Burgundy
Some oak used here. Quite ripe, honeyed nose with a lovely minerally edge to it and a touch of smokiness. Complex palate shows rich, spicy notes and good acidity. Absolutely delicious in a slightly austere, minerally style. Great potential for development, too. Very good/excellent 06/01

Domaine des Deux Roches Saint Véran 2000, Burgundy, France
From a 29 ha estate; winemaker Jean-Luc Terrier uses no oak in this wine. A full yellow/gold colour this has a surprisingly ripe , honeyed nose, with minerality and tropical fruit/melon notes. It has an accessible full-flavoured, ripe palate with trademark Macon honey and butterscotch notes. Classy stuff: white Burgundy leaning ever so slightly in a new world direction. Very good+ (£8.25 Berry Bros & Rudd) 09/01

Domaine Servin Chablis 1999, Burgundy
Plenty of flavour here, in this archetypal Chablis. Nice crisp, lemony nose is fresh and bright, and leads to a palate with a lovely nutty balance. Very good+ (£6.99 Majestic) 10/01

La Chablisienne Chablis 1997 (magnum), Burgundy
There's a herby edge to the smoky minerally fruit that's a little odd. Good intensity on the dry, crisp, mineralic palate. Very good (£15.99 Majestic) 10/01

Vocoret Chablis 1er Cru Les Forêts Vieilles Vignes 2000, Burgundy
Good intensity here: the taut, minerally nose has a smoky edge and leads to an intense high-acid palate. Very mineralic, this is impressive stuff, but it really needs a year or two to show its best. Very good+ (£10.49 Majestic) 10/01

Pinson Chablis 1er Cru Mont de Milieu 2000, Burgundy
Full minerally nose with an interesting herby, smoky edge and some ripe fruit. The lemony, high-acid palate is very minerally and a touch austere, but with great promise. Very good (£11.49 Majestic) 10/01

Château du Cray Montagny 1er Cru 2000, Burgundy
Lean, lemony fruit on the nose with a smoky edge. Good acidity on the palate, with some minerally notes and a bit of butterscotch character. Not really my thing, but pleasant enough. Good/very good (£8.99 Majestic) 10/01

Vincent Girardin Rully Blanc 1er Cru Les Cloux 1999, Burgundy
Barrel fermented using 30% new oak. The smoky, monrally nose has some lemony fruit, leading to an intense palate with spicy, lemony flavours. Lots going on, but a little bit tight and hard at the moment. Very good (£9.99 Majestic) 10/01

Vincent Girardin Meursault 'Les Narvaux' 1999, Burgundy
Girardin is one of the new wave of high quality negociants that are currently making waves in Burgundy, and I was quite taken with this expensive but classy Mersault. It's fermented in barriques, a third of which are new, and this new oak contributes to the beautifully seductive, nutty, smoky nose, underpinned with tropical fruits and with a bready, mealy edge. The palate is rich, spicy and intense with a high acid core. Nicely balanced, and successfully adds a new world-style veneer to the classic white Burgundy character. Very good/excellent (£18.99 Majestic) 10/01

Vincent Girardin Puligny Montrachet 'Les Enseigneres' 1999, Burgundy
Barrel fermented; 30% new oak. Quite a tight wine that still tastes fairly youthful. The nose has some minerally, honeyed fruit, a touch of oak, and some noticeable alcohol. The palate shows lemony fruit with a slightly toasty edge. Taut, modern and currently a little disjointed -- the alcohol is also a little prominent. Good/very good (£19.99 Majestic) 10/01

Domaine de Roally Mâcon-Montbellet 1999
Henri Goyard has just 3.5 ha, and takes quite a traditional approach; his wines are very highly regarded among those in the know. This one's quite a deep colour with a slightly evolved nose showing some butterscotch and honey notes. Quite rich palate with a nice mouthfeel: the creamy fruit is in good balance and shows good concentration, but I'd be tempted drink this up sooner rather than later, even though it's supposed to be very long-lived. Very good+ (£9.70 A&B Vintners) 11/01

Henri et Paul Jacqueson Rully 1er Cru 'Gresigny' 1999
There's a sweet crème brulée and honey edge to the nose, with some minerally character. There's quite a lean, taut edge to the high-acid palate. Nice traditional stuff. Very good (£11.16 A&B Vintners) 11/01

Marc Morey Rully 1999
This is quite serious for a village level Rully, showing a rich, toasty nose with a slightly vegetal, herbal edge. The palate is full, rounded and attractive with rich nutty fruit and a soft fruity texture. A bit showy, this is a big flashy number. Very good+ (£9.70 A&B Vintners) 11/01

Domaine de la Soufrandaise Pouilly-Fuissé Vieilles Vignes 1999
Nicholas Melin owns 6 ha of vineyard, and this wine is made from vines with an age between 25 and 75 years. The old-fashioned nose shows honey and butterscotch notes. The palate is medium bodied with some minerally fruit and good acid. An interesting but older-style wine; not really my thing. Very good (£13.12 A&B Vintners) 11/01

Marc Colin Saint Aubin 'La Fontenotte' 2000
Tight, slightly muted nose on this firm, mineral-dense wine. Tastes youthful, with good acidity and some nutty, lemony fruit. Very good (£12.13 A&B Vintners) 11/01

Jean-Claude Bachelet Puligny Montrachet 1998
A good old fashioned white Burgundy. Shy nose with some bright lemony fruit and a touch of honey poking out. Gives way to a taut, nutty, lemony palate. Quite classy but a bit understated. Very good+ (£18.50 A&B Vintners) 11/01

Michel Morey-Coffinet Chassage-Montrachet 1er Cru 'La Romanée' 1998
There's a lovely vegetal/herbal edge to the nose, which shows attractive, lifted toasty oak notes, but avoids being showy or blowsy. The palate is quite serious, with good balance between the tight fruit and well integrated oak. Great concentration. Very good/excellent (£24.38 A&B Vintners) 11/01

Château de Puligny Montrachet Chassagne Montrachet 1999, Burgundy
It's pretty delicious for a village level wine; even better for the fact that a slip-up in pricing meant that I got this £9 less than its normal price. The nose is quite enticing: rich, ripe, nutty and honeyed with some savoury bready notes and a touch of smoke. The palate is rich and savoury, with high acidity. This is a lovely, complex wine, drinking well know but with the potential for a couple of years' worth of development. Very good/excellent (£17.99 Oddbins) 07/01

Domaine de la Bongron Mâcon Clessé Quintaine 'Cuvée Tradition' 1997, Jean Thévenet
Yellow gold in colour. The smoky, honeyed, spicy nose leads to a rich but beautifully balanced palate with ripe, almost tropical fruit notes joining the honey, spice and mineral elements. Good acidity and wears its 14.5% alcohol well. Very good/excellent (Lea & Sandeman, bought a year ago for about £17) 2/01

Berrys Own Chablis 1999 (Domaine Colombier)
This is a delicious, archetypal Chablis, showing bright fruit on the clean palate, with some minerally complexity and good acidity. The fruit is a little more prominent than in the 1998 version of this same wine. Very good+ (Berry Bros £8.30) 2/01

JM Brocard Chablis 1999 Domaine Sainte Claire
Good, concentrated Chablis with some ripe fruit, a forward, fruity, minerally nose and great balance on the palate. Modern and full flavoured, but unoaked, and rounded off with notes of honey and cream. Very good (WorldMarechal, around £6) 10/00

Auxey Duresses Blanc 1998, Bouchard Père
Nose just like a new world Chardonnay, with toasty oak and ripe fruit. Simple fruit on palate with firm acidity. Good, but disappointing for the price. (Majestic £10.99) 10/00

Chablis 1er Cru Beauroy 1996, La Chablisienne
A nice, mature premier cru Chablis from the impressive Chablisienne co-op. Exotic, ripe nose with evolved, butterscotch-like character and firm acidity on the palate. Very good, but drink up soon. (Majestic £4.99/half) 10/00

Chablis Les Beaumonts 1998, Moreau Naudet
Juicy citrus-like elements dominate this fresh, full-flavoured Chablis. Good + (Majestic £7.99) 10/00

Chablis 1er Cru Montmains 1999, Moreau Naudet
Refined nose with nutty, lemony fruit. On the palate it is lean and not overly unimpressive. Will this develop some interest? Good. (Majestic £9.99) 10/00

Vocoret Chablis Vielles Vignes 1999 
This is a crisp, fresh wine with a little richness and ripeness on the palate, but otherwise a little simple. Good. (Majestic £8.99) 10/00

Vocoret Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons Vielles Vignes 1999 
Another crisp, lean Chablis with a little ripeness and complexity on the palate, but still quite tight and simple at this stage. Good+ (Majestic £9.99) 10/00

Vocoret Chablis 1er Cru Montmains 1999 
Light, fresh Chablis showing some minerally complexity. It's pleasant now, but will likely gain character with some time in bottle. Good/very good. (Majestic £9.99) 10/00

Vocoret Chablis Grand Cru Blanchot 1999 
You really shouldn't be drinking Grand Cru Chablis this young: it only shows what it's capable of after some time in bottle. This is lively and citrussy with good concentration. Too austere now, but may well be impressive in a few years. Good/very good (Majestic £16.99) 10/00

Geraud Thomas St Aubin 1er Cru 1998
Lively nose of smoky, lemony fruit. Some exotic tropical fruit notes join the citrus elements on the palate. Quite interesting. Very good. (Majestic £9.99) 10/00

Bouchard Père et Fils Puligny-Montrachet 1998 
Toasty oak nose. Lean and savoury on the palate with some complexity. It's a nice wine, but overpriced for this quality level. Good/very good. (Majestic £18.99) 10/00

Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 1er Cru Vaucoupin 1997
Lovely concentrated-yet-subtle Chablis with a dense honey and mineral nose, followed up on the palate by honey, spice and mineral notes. Complex and well balanced with appropriate acidity, I'd drink this now. Good value, too. Very good+ (£9.99 Oddbins) 9/00

Vocoret Chablis 1999
Lean and savoury, with a leafy, mineral-laced nose. Attractive, light and expressive, but probably a little bit too light for some. (£7.99 Majestic) 9/00

Henry de Vézelay Bourgogne Chardonnay 1996
Despite its age, this is still a pale yellow colour. Honeyed, nutty nose is followed with a classic Bourgogne/Mâcon palate of apples, honey and nuts with piercing lemony acidity holding it all in good balance. Evolved and quite complex; the bready, toasty character reminds me of a still vintage Champagne! Good/very good (£3.99 Majestic) 8/00

Domaine Valette Pouilly-Fuissé Clos Reyssie 1995, Burgundy
A mature wine from the most famous of the Mâcon appellations in Burgundy. Golden colour, with a nose of honey and butterscotch. Rich, honeyed and spicy on the palate with bright acidity and a touch of caramel. This is an unusual wine; I suspect that the grapes were harvested late and that there's a bit of oxidation character too; it's certainly fully mature now, so drink up. Very good in this style. (£5.99 Majestic) 8/00

Domaine Valette Mâcon-Chaintré 1997 Jeunes Vignes, Burgundy
A tasty, full flavoured, mature Mâcon Chardonnay. Light gold in colour. Quite intense with a smoky, honeyed nose. Rich and ripe with a sweet finish. Luscious honey and spice on the palate. Very good, and a bargain. (£5.99 Majestic) 8/00

JM Brocard Petit Chablis 1999
Pleasant spicy/minerally wine with a bit of citrus fruit and firm acidity. It's lean, but shows good concentration for this lowly appellation. Nice food match, and better than you'd usually expect from a Petit Chablis, which are usually best avoided. Good + (About £5 Worldmarechal) 10/00

Verget Tête du Cuvée 1997, Mâcon, Burgundy
Yellow/gold colour. Subdued nose of honey and nuts, followed by a full palate with bright acidity and honey, nuts and lemon. It's well balanced and there is some minerally complexity; a typical mature Mâcon Chardonnay. Good. (£3.99 Majestic) 8/00

Vincent Girardin Bourgogne 1997, Cuvée Saint-Vincent
Fresh, smoky, mineral-laden Chardonnay, with good acidity, some complexity and moderate concentration. Well put together, I suspect this has seen some oak but can’t be sure. Quite good for a basic Bourgogne. (£8.99 Oddbins) 9/99

Berrys Own Selection Chablis AOC 1998, Domaine du Colombier
Expressive, full flavoured unoaked Chablis with a honey and apple nose, a rounded palate and good acidity. Good. (Berry Bros & Rudd) 5/00

Puligny Montrachet Etienne Sauzet 1996
Pale yellow. Nose of smoky oak. On palate, tangy acidity, grapefruit, lemon and honey, with some vanillin new oak flavours. Nicely put together: highish acidity and structure suggest it could age well. Good.  6/99

Domaine Vessigaud Mâcon-Fuissé 1998
Light, crisp and fresh, yet pleasantly rounded and full on the palate. Reasonably complex and concentrated this is a very attractive wine. Beautifully packaged, too. Good value. (£7.49, Oddbins) 3/00

Leroy Bourgogne 1996, Burgundy
If you are shopping for inexpensive white Burgundy, what do you do? Go for a lesser producer with a better patch of land, or a wine from a better producer but an undistinguished vineyard? It's an interesting question. This time I chose to opt for the basic Bourgogne negociant wine from one of the best producers of them all, Lalou Bize-Leroy. A yellow/gold colour, this wine shows lemony fruit with honeyed and mineral notes. Initially there is a bit of sulfur on the nose, but this blows away and as the bottle has been open for a while there are some mineral and smoky notes appearing. It is difficult not to be at least a little swayed by the name, but I hope that I'm not just 'imagining' complexity when I say that this wine is pure, fresh, balanced, and has a complexity that belies its humble appellation. Good to very good. (£9.99 Majestic, currently on sale at £7.99) 2/00

Luquet Mâcon Blanc 1997
This estate-bottled Mâcon white is now fully mature, with a golden colour. It shows apples, honey, spice and butterscotch notes on the palate with good balance and firm acidity. Good for the price (about £3), but now part oxidised. (Worldmarechal) 10/00

Domaine de la Croix Varielles Saint-Véran 1998, Collin-Bourisset
Smoky, slightly sulphurous nose leads to a light palate with mineralic flavours. It's lean, clean and quite refreshing, but lacking a bit of fruit. Nice balance though. Good+ (About £5 Worldmarechal) 10/00

Montagny 'Les Logues' 1998, Caves des Vignerons de Buxy, France
Deep yellow colour with a nice honeyed nose. Quite complex on the palate with nutty, honeyed fruit. Nice complexity and balance; very Mâcon like. Very good. (Adnams £8.95) 11/00

Adnams Selection White Burgundy 1999 (Mâcon Chardonnay)
This is quite an impressive modern-styled Mâcon Chardonnay, showing ripe fruit with some complex honey and spice notes. Good balance and concentration. Very good (Adnams £6.50) 11/00

Red Burgundy

Christoph Roumier Rouchottes Chambertin Grand Cru 1991 Burgundy, France (Tasted blind)
Earthy, spicy, slightly sweet nose – a bit rustic even. The palate is savoury and earthy with an undergrowthy edge to it. Serious and quite structured with some age on it. Quite evolved. Very good/excellent 93/100 (11/06)

Armand Rousseau Chambertin Clos des Rouchottes Grand Cru 1995 Burgundy
Brilliantly elegant, with smooth sweet fruit on the nose. Perfumed and rounded. The palate is elegant and smooth with lovely red fruits character and a nice sappiness, with smooth tannins. 94/100 11/06

Dugat-Py Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru 2001 Burgundy, France (Tasted blind)
Modern and full with rich, bright, powerful fruit. Slightly earthy, with lots of tannic structure. A bold modern-styled red Burgundy. Very good/excellent 91/100 (11/06)  

Armand Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Bèze 1999 Burgundy
Beautifully perfumed with a still-tight nose showing ripe red fruits and fine spiciness. The palate shows huge concentration with firm but ripe spicy structure and a nice rich finish. It’s a bold, serious wine – young but with huge potential. Excellent 96/100 10/05

Joseph Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches 2002 Burgundy
Drouhin own 14 ha of this 22 ha vineyard, and this wine shows bright, quite forward fruit and sweet berry notes The palate is supple and elegant with softness to the fruit. Quite pure, this is an interesting, elegant Pinot Noir. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£30 Waitrose) 04/05

Domaine de la Pousse d’Or Clos des 60 Ouvrées 2000 Burgundy
From east-facing slopes close to the boundary with Meursault, 30% new oak. Quite a dark colour. Tight, spicy, smoky red fruit nose. The palate is slightly meaty with well structured, savoury red fruits. Quite a severe style but with some elegance too. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£30 Waitrose) 04/05

Domaine de la Pousse d’Or Pommard 1er Cru Les Jarollières 2001 Burgundy
Really open meaty nose of perfumed red fruits. Spicy, dense and full on the palate, this is quite structured and bold. A full, expressive style. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£30 Waitrose) 04/05

Geantet Ponsot Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes 2002 Burgundy, France
Lovely perfumed nose of dark cherries and bright red fruits. Ripe yet elegant with a spicy edge. The palate shows good weight and near perfect balance between the ripe, elegant fruit red fruits and the silky, spicy structure. A serious effort. Very good/excellent 93/100 08/05

Armand Rousseau Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 2000 Burgundy, France
Lovely fresh nose with a subtle green edge to the smooth red fruits. The palate has a smooth red fruits character with lovely elegance and a nice stemmy structure. Good freshness and acidity. Youthful but pretty serious. Very good/excellent 94/100 08/05

Dominique Lafon Volnay Santenots 1992 Burgundy
This red shows a bright, spicy, smoky nose. The palate is savoury and juicy with good acidity and lovely earthy complexity. Great balance. Very good/excellent 92/100 05/04

Dujac Clos St Denis 1990 Burgundy
Lovely open nose has appealing herby, undergrowthy notes and a subtle hint of greenness underlying the ripe red fruits. The palate is open, herby, spicy and slightly sweet. Very smooth, glossy and open. Very good/excellent 91/100 05/04

Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle-Musigny 1992
Slightly faded cherry red colour with a browning rim. Nicely evolved mushroomy, herby nose is gently complex. Palate is spicy and quite intense with firm tannins and a leathery quality. Nicely mature and quite lovely even for a village-level wine. Very good/excellent 03/03

Marks & Spencer Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2003 Burgundy, France
The 2003 vintage was a hot one in Burgundy, and it’s likely that the benefit of a warmer than average growing season will be felt most with the lesser wines. This humble Bourgogne is a fantastic wine: bursting with lovely bright raspberry fruit. It’s ripe, full and expressive – a joyful wine nicely packaged. Very good+ 89/100 (Marks & Spencer £6.99) 09/04

Faively Nuits St Georges 1er Cru Clos de la Merechale (monopole) 1995, Burgundy
Quite a big, severe red Burgundy that’s tannic and acidic. Some earthy, leafy character. Quite evolved with a spicy finish. Very good+ 87/100 03/04

Domaine Bertagna Bourgogne Hautes Côtes du Nuits ‘Les Dames Huguettes’ Vielles Vignes 1999
Very ripe, sweet raspberry and cherry fruit dominate here, with an appealing peppery, herby edge. I’d have guessed New Zealand Pinot Noir if this was served blind to me! Quite forward and elegant for this lowly appellation. Very good+ (£8.99 Sainsbury) 12/02

Domaine Michel Gros Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Clos de Réas 1999, Burgundy
Lovely intense, slightly spicy, smoky/herbal fruit on the nose. The expressive palate is dense and brilliantly balanced with ripe, chewy herbal fruit, some animal-like complexity and good acidity. This is textbook red Burgundy in a rich style and from a great vintage. Excellent (£36 Waitrose) 10/02

Louis Jadot Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 1999, Burgundy
Tight nose shows ripe, firm cherry and raspberry fruit. Palate is firm with good acid and chewy fruity. Still quite tight knit and closed, this needs time. Very good+ (£45 Waitrose) 10/02  

Vincent Girardin Santenay 1er Cru Les Gravières 1996, Burgundy
Slightly spicy cherry and damson fruit nose. Palate is quite chunky, spicy and tannic with good acidity. Quite dry and very savoury. Good concentration but quite rustic and a bit charmless: it’s a big Pinot Noir that tastes more like a wine from the Southern Rhône. Very good (£16.95 La Reserve) 05/02

Leroy Savigny Les Beaune ‘Les Serpentières’ 1979, Burgundy
(Tasted blind, note as written) This is a lovely old Pinot Noir. Quite tight, spicy leathery/earthy nose. The palate has lovely balance, good acidity and sweet herby characters along with firm, dry tannins. Quite evolved. Very good/excellent 06/02

Cave Coop de Buxy Bourgogne Passetoutgrains 2001
Simple spicy raspberry fruit with good acidity. Clean and refreshing. Good/very good (£3.99 Majestic) 10/02

Cave Coop de Buxy Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2000
Light with clean juicy fruit. Savoury. Good/very good (£5.99 Majestic) 10/02

Louis Latour Marsannay Rouge 1999
Pale coloured. Appealing herby cherry fruit nose. Nice savoury edge to the cherry fruit on the palate. Tasty in a light style. Very good (£7.49  Majestic) 10/02

Louis Latour Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Ile de Vergelesses 1997
Another pale wine. Sweet herby nose. Palate shows well balanced spicy herby character. Savoury and restrained but lacks intensity. Very good (£13.99 Majestic) 10/02

Domaine Marc Roy Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes 1999
Striking forward nose of sweet spicy red fruits – some new oak apparent. Soft, sweet concentrated palate with spicy structure. Forward and appealing but a bit oaky. Very good+ (£14.99 Majestic) 10/02

Domaine Marc Roy Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur 2000
Spicy, tarry edge to the forward berry fruit on the nose. Dense, herb-tinged raspberry fruit on the palate with some spicy complexity. Appealing in a full-on concentrated style. Very good/excellent (£16.99 Majestic) 10/02

Domaine Albert Morot Savigny-Les-Beaune ‘La Batallière au Vergelesses’ 1999
Tight and structured Pinot Noir with good concentration but currently quite closed. Firm. Very good+ (£16.99 Majestic) 10/02

Domaine Albert Morot Beaune 1er Cru ‘Les Toussaints’ 1999
Focused, herb-tinged fruit on the nose. Richly fruited palate with good concentration and firm acidity and tannic structure. Needs time and a little closed. Quite a serious red Burgundy. Very good/excellent (£18.99 Majestic) 10/02

Domaine Bertagna Chambolle-Musigny 1999, Burgundy, France
Established in 1940, this domaine was sold in 1982 to Eva Reh, whose sister Annegret runs the Reichsgraf von Kesselstat estate in the Mosel. Eva’s husband, Mark Siddle, is English. This wine shows attractive herby, cherryish fruit on the nose. The palate is rich and juicy with good concentration and a slightly medicinal edge. Very rich style of Burgundy but well balanced. Very good/excellent (£24.95 Berry Bros) 04/02

Domaine René Engel Vosne-Romanée ‘Les Brulées’ 1998 Burgundy, France
One of the leading estates in Vosne-Romanée with 7 ha of vines. This wine has a lovely expressive herbal nose, which is very open with a meaty, caramelly edge. The palate shows a great concentration of herby, medicinal cherry and raspberry fruit with spicy, tannic structure. Deeply impressive. Excellent (£26.85 Berry Bros) 04/02

Domaine des Perdrix Nuits-St Georges 1er Cru aux Perdrix Monopole 1997, Burgundy, France
From a 3.5 ha monopole vineyard (i.e. the estate owns the lot). This has a quite dense, tight knit nose and shows huge concentration. The palate is rich, tight and complex displaying spicy blackcurrant and raspberry fruit. Lots of potential here. Very good/excellent (£31.45 Berry Bros) 04/02

Domaine des Lambrays Clos de Lambrays Grand Cru 1997, Burgundy, France
This 8.8 ha vineyard is the largest Grand Cru vineyard in Burgundy entirely owned by one domaine. The estate was purchased in 1996 by the Frenue family. The firm, complex nose shows herby, earthy berry fruit with some caramelly undertones. The wonderfully concentrated palate has great balance with rich complex spicy berry and blackcurrant fruit. There’s some tannic structure, together with herby, earthy complexity. Great potential. Excellent (£43.50 Berry Bros) 04/02

Sylvain Cathiard Bourgogne Rouge 1999, Burgundy, France
Nice minimalist label. Even though this is a fairly humble appellation, the wine shows wonderful balance. Nice savoury edge to the cherry fruit and plenty of varietal character. Very good+ (£11.95 Berry Bros) 04/02

Nicolas Potel Volnay 1998, Burgundy, France
Nicolas Potel is one of the emerging band of super negociants, making highly regarded wines. This Volnay shows a good density of chunky, spicy berry fruit on the palate. Tasty and savoury; not at all overdone. Very good (Berry Bros) 04/02

Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy Gevrey Chambertin ‘En Jouise’ 1999 Burgundy
(tasted blind, note as written) Deep coloured. Smoky, roasted edge to the nose with a touch of caramel. The palate shows good intensity with some fine-grained, firm tannins. Nice savoury wine with a firm, taut, tannic, spicy edge. Rhône style? Very good 11/01  

Pierre Morey Pommard Les Epenots 1999, Burgundy
Bright coloured, this has an attractive cherry fruit nose with a caramel richness. The palate shows primary, ripe cherry and raspberry fruit. Very youthful, but with potential. Very good (£22.52 Bibendum) 11/01

Domaine Pousse d'Or Volnay Clos de la Bousse d'Or 1992, Burgundy
Pale coloured, displaying an evolved nose of sweet strawberry-laced fruit and a bit of mushroom/undergrowth character. Nicely balanced palate is mature with lots of herby complexity. Drinking well now. Very good/excellent (£32.70 Bibendum) 11/01

Nicolas Potel Santenay 1er Cru Beauregard 1996, Burgundy
(Tasted blind, note as written) Pale cherry red colour with a tiny bit of fading at the rim. Interesting herby, smoky nose with some sweet spicy, cherry fruit. The youthful palate has high acidity and is very savoury, with savoury raspberry fruit. Delicious stuff; just a touch rustic? It's definitely Pinot Noir, and most likely from Burgundy because of the high acid finish, although because of the forward nose, this could just be Orgeon or New Zealand. Very good/excellent (Handford £16) 08/01

Rossignol-Cornu Pernand-Verglesses 1999, Burgundy
(Tasted blind, note as written) Bold, toasty nose with a cabbagey edge and some smoky/rubbery notes: quite striking. The intense palate shows savoury, smoky, bacon-like notes . It's youthful, intensely savoury, mineralic and almost austere, with high acid and plenty of oak influence. An old world Chardonnay, almost certainly from Burgundy. Unusual wine. Very good/excellent (c. £14)

Bernard Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes 1999
A red wine from one of Chassagne-Montrachet's star performers, this has a forward nose with some medicinal cherry fruit . Attractive cherry fruit on the palate with some tannin and acid to provide balance. A bit primary. Very good (£14.60 A&B Vintners) 11/01

Robert Groffier Gevrey Chambertin 1998
There's a nice medicinal edge to the cherry fruit here, with some complex herby notes. Nicely balanced, savoury palate with good balance between the fruit and the herby, spicy notes. Drinking well now, this is a very tasty well balanced Pinot Noir. Very good+ (£20.47 A&B Vintners) 11/01

Gerard Mugneret Vosné-Romanée 1998
Delicious stuff for current drinking. Quite a pale colour with an attractive, savoury nose with rounded strawberry and cherry fruit, spice and caramel, together with some undergrowthy complexity. There's nice balance and complexity on the medium-bodied palate. There's some tannin and good acidity. Very good/excellent (£19.00 A&B Vintners) 11/01

Robert Arnoux Vosné-Romanée 1999
Youthful colour and nose, showing bright red fruit and a touch of spice. Quite firm tannins and good acidity on the palate. Quite elegant, but needs time to really develop complexity. Very good+ (£23.40 A&B Vintners) 11/01

Darviot-Perrin Volnay 1998
Striking nose of bright, juicy raspberry fruit: very intense. Poweful, juicy palate with very primary fruit, demonstrating good concentration and high acidity but as yet no real complexity. Very good+ (£18.51 A&B Vintners) 11/01

Violot-Guillemard Pommard 1er Cru 'Clos Orgelot' 1995
Rare to find mature Burgundy on sale that's at all affordable, so it's nice to see this delicious wine being offered. It's a pale colour, with a lovely complex nose of herbs, mushrooms, caramel and sweet fruit. Lovely, soft, complex palate with a delicious spicy finish and good balance. It's a classy red Burgundy, nicely poised. Excellent (£25.85 A&B Vintners) 11/01

Bernard Maume Mazis-Chambertin 1994
The colour is showing the wine's age, starting to fade a little at the rim. The nose is quite serious, showing evolved, ripe sweet fruit with some complex herby undertones. Medium bodied palate with herby fruit, spicy tannins and nice balance. Quite chunky for a seven year old wine. Very good+ (not available, but other vintages are from A&B Vintners) 11/01

Cave des Hautes Côtes Hautes Côtes de Nuits Rouge 1999, Burgundy
Bargain basement red Burgundy, showing attractive but simple cherry fruit with a herby edge, and good acidity. A light style. Good/very good (£5.49 Majestic) 10/01

Louis Max Côte Chalonnaise Rouge 1999, Burgundy
This comes in an attractive chunky bottle with a 'hand-drawn'-style label. A light but nicely balanced red Burgundy, with cherry and raspberry fruit, and a herby edge. Good balancing acidity, but perhaps a tad overpriced? Very good (£8.99 Majestic) 10/01

Catherine et Claude Marechal Chorey-les-Beaune 1999, Burgundy
The nose shows pure, bright raspberry fruit which carries through to the palate. Juicy acidity on the finish. Good intensity here, but still quite primary. Very good (£9.99 Majestic) 10/01

Catherine et Claude Marechal Ladoix Les Chaillots 1999, Burgundy
Good concentration, but doesn't offer much more than primary raspberry/cherry fruit at the moment. Too simple for a £10 wine. Good/very good (£9.99 Majestic) 10/01

Rossignol Jeanniard Aloxe Corton 2000, Burgundy
There's a touch of herby complexity to this brightly fruited Pinot Noir. Tasty but a bit primary. Very good (£13.99Majestic) 10/01

Albert Morot Beaune 1er Cru Les Bressandes 1986, Burgundy
Pale cherry red with a brick red rim. Mature nose of undergrowth and herbs, with some mushrooms lurking in the background. Soft, mature palate with good acidity. It's still alive, and there's certainly some interest here, but it's too old for my palate. Very good (£14.99 Majestic) 10/01

Marc Roy Gevrey Chambertin 'Clos Prieur' 1999, Burgundy
For those of you who must have Burgundy at Christmas, this was my favourite. It's a very modern-styled wine, with quite a deep colour for a Pinot Noir. The interesting nose is smoky and rich, with some attractive toasty elements. The palate shows a great density of spicy fruit, with firm tannins. It's not the most expressive Pinot, but it's tasty in a full-on style, and will probably age quite nicely too. Very good+ (£18.99, reduced to £15.99 Majestic) 10/01

Alain Michelot Nuits-Saint-George 1999, Burgundy
Rather muted nose. Palate is quite tannic and shows some herby, cherry fruit. A bit disappointing considering the price. Good/very good (£17.99 Majestic) 10/01

Domaine Bertagna 1997 Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Plantes
This is a lovely red Burgundy. A full red/black colour, it shows a complex, deep, rounded nose of cherries with some spicy notes and a touch of caramel. On the palate there's still plenty of lush primary fruit, but underneath this there's an undercurrent of complex earthy, herby notes that suggest that this one still has some development ahead of it. Excellent (Berry Bros £26.95) 2/01

Réné & William Charriat Bourgogne Irancy 1997 
Irancy is the most northerly red wine Appellation of Burgundy, just south west of Chablis, and this is an appealing, unusual Pinot Noir. Remarkably pale in colour, with an orange rim -- this is almost a rosé. Lovely, sweet herby nose of strawberries and undergrowth. Soft, balanced palate with ripe strawberry and cherry fruit, soft tannins and appropriate acidity. Good concentration and a herbal character: delicious and savoury. Very good/excellent 2/01

Domaine Marc Roy Gevrey Chambertin Vieilles Vignes 1993 
Deep coloured with orange rim. Full, concentrated and ripe. Still pretty tannic, but nicely balanced fruit and structure provided by both the tannins and the acid in harmony. This is a delicious package: very good for village level burgundy. Lots of fruit. 6/99