You may have heard the whispers of savage shortages of Burgundy and of the terrible hand that Mother Nature has dealt in devastating almost entire villages’ crops year after year over the last decade(s). However, this has gone hand in hand with Burgundy’s meteoric ascent in popularity across the four corners of the world, amongst professionals and novices alike. As such, the price of a bottle of delectable Chardonnay or Pinot from this land-locked pocket of France has spiked an eye-watering amount, and this year alone has experienced jumps in value that the industry has never seen before.
So whilst this sounds like a bloody sombre story of ravaged vineyards and our wallets being stretched the max, it is actually a tale of discovery and, in this case, an exploration of alternatives to white Burgundy. In times of hardship, it is good to get creative, right? Of course, we will never forget a buttery white Burg but the way things are going, it may be good to take a look at what else could keep us warm on these long cold nights...
First up is Maxime Magnon’s ‘La Begou’, which is a heady blend of Grenache Gris and Grenache Blanc that Kermit Lynch perfectly describes as tasting, “like a Mediterranean Meursault.” Another superstar winemaker, this time in Rías Baixas, is Rafael Palacios, who’s ‘Louro Do Bolo’ 2019 takes parcels of old-vine Godello and treats them like Burgundy with fermentation and a long ageing in barrel for “an elegant, creamy and intense” wine, as Sarah Jane Evans MW put it in Decanter. Last but not least, a new arrival to the TMC family is a sumptuous white Rioja that is born from 60-year-old Viura vines, and that after a long barrel elevage is awash with notes of cedar, nutmeg and saffron - an exotic take on your of Chassagne or Puligny.
But hey, if your wallet allows it, we have got you covered. From the northern outpost of Chablis – with its verve and ballerina-like poise – we have Domaine Fèvre’s Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaume 2018, to the depths of the Côte-d'Or – with trademark sumptuousness and inflections of brown butter and hazelnuts – there is Chavy-Chouet’s Meursault Premier Cru Les Charmes 2018, plus an array of other gems!