Still ‘much to discover’ in Burgundy

21st March, 2014 by Rupert Millar

Despite the worldwide fame of some Burgundian appellations, there are still many which lack major recognition the export director for the Burgundy Bureau has said.

Castle in Burgundy dbhk mar 12Speaking to the drinks business during this week’s Grands Jours de Bourgogne, Nelly Blau of the Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne (BIVB) said that there was “always a middle ground that is always less well known”.

With recent reports that both merchants and producers are beginning to scour outlying appellations as the supply from the Côte d’Or shrivels due to small harvests and rising prices, Blau said the BIVB was increasingly pushing these “lesser known” AOC.

“It works,” she said, “because they’re still good quality, unique and a good price. When you have no wines from the Côte d’Or they’re a good alternative and we’ve seen a dramatic change in quality from wines from these places.”

She picked out, as a random selection, Marsannay and Fixin from the Côte de Nuits and Saint Aubin, Monthélie, Savigny and Chorey-les-Beaune from the Côte de Beaune.

Interest in Mâconnais and Châlonnais has “picked up” recently too and Blau said even Saint-Véran was “much more widely exported these days”.

One appellation she was particularly keen to talk about was one of the Mâconnais’ newest, Viré-Clessé.

She said the wines were much riper than is usual in Mâcon and that, “most people wouldn’t expect that character of fruit from Burgundy.

“It’s the kind of appellation I would like the trade to focus on. With 100 different AOCs in Burgundy we have much more to say.

“Everyone talks about Domaine de la Romanée-Conti but no one has ever tasted it.”

She admitted that none of these regions was “volume” driven, “it is niche,” she said, “they’re not for a broad market, some are bigger – not huge, nothing in Burgundy is huge – but there are ‘bigger’ volumes out there in Marsannay or Savigny.”

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