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2008 Burgundy en primeur: an analysis

The sale of Burgundy 2008 en primeur is in full swing and the opinions of buyers for the big independent retailers and merchants are broadly similar.

The small 2008 crop, saved by an Indian summer, has presented wines of fresh, full flavours, most of which are ready to enjoy now and the best of which will benefit from cellaring.

Despite the difficult growing season Charles Lea of Lea & Sandeman has described the 2008 vintage as, “one of those vintages which makes true Burgundy lovers sit up."

“In red and white, 2008 is about brightness, definition, precision, purity and elegance,” he added.

The whites of Chassagne-Montrachet, Mâcon and Chablis have drawn special praise but the white wines overall are recommended for their pristine fruit quality, substance and good acidity.

Likewise, the reds are described as plump, concentrated and full of fruit with possibly more character than previous vintages, such as 2007.

Both Berry Bros & Rudd and Justerini & Brooks have reported a healthy level of demand. That said, both retailers still have a wide selection covering everything from Bourgogne Rouge to Clos de Vougeot.

The reds from the Côte-de-Nuits were singled out as being marginally better overall and often with the best potential for ageing.

Therefore, they, along with the more exclusive white vineyards, such as Corton Charlemagne and Le Montrachet, are often on sale with a starting price of around £500 a case, creeping up to and indeed over £700 depending on the producer and site.

Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy buyer, at Berry Bros & Rudd, said: “Producers typically charged the same as for 2007 or a bit less, which means that because of the decline in sterling our UK prices are either the same as last year or in a few cases slightly more. 2007s and 2006s were broadly comparable.”
Rupert Millar, 04.02.10

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