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Photographer captures Burgundy’s talent

Photographer Colin Hampden-White has captured the personalities behind up-and-coming domaines following a buying trip for new merchant The Burgundy Portfolio.

Vincent Perrin with a 1973 Volnay. Photo credit: Colin Hampden-White

His images follow those from an exhibtion earlier this year, which featured the stars of this famous fine wine region. The words and pictures below are by Colin Hampden-White.

At the tail end of last year, a very special wine merchant opened up for business: The Burgundy Portfolio, writes Hampden-White.

It is owned and run by Andrew Corben-Clarke, whose wide-ranging experience includes working for England’s two oldest wine merchants: Corney & Barrow and Berry Bros & Rudd.

His background, combined with earlier days as cellarman at Boodle’s gentlemen’s club and as wine buyer for Partridges of Sloane Street, have allowed him to build up enviable relationships in Burgundy.

Corben-Clarke loves to find wine of fabulous quality from family-owned domains and new talent, and then persuade them to allow him to sell their wine in the UK.

Andrew Corben-Clarke, founder, The Burgundy Portfolio. Photo credit: Colin Hampden-White

I travelled with Corben-Clarke on the latest trip to Burgundy to visit some of his growers and meet with potential new ones.

There were many good wines tasted and domains visited, and over the following pages are some highlights.

Perrine, Jean-Christophe and Philippe Gutrin – Domaine de la Choupette, Santenay

Perrine, Jean-Christophe & Philippe Gutrin. Photo credit: Colin Hampden-White

Family-run, each year more of their holdings (that in the past would have disappeared to the négociant) are becoming available. There is a quiet pride in their wines and it is refreshing to see their confidence and quality thrive under their own label.

Wines: Santenay “Combe Dessous”, Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge and Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru.

There are only two barrels of 2011 Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru Morgeot Blanc and this will be their début vintage, not sold to the négociant. £350 per 12 bottles in bond (IB) and £180 per 6 bottles IB.

Vincent and Marie-Christine Perrin – Domaine Marie-Christine and Vincent Perrin, Volnay

Vincent & Marie-Christine Perrin. Photo credit: Colin Hampden-White

Purely selfish reasons motivated Andrew to find a grower of quality in this cult village and he was not impressed to be stood up for his appointment with the Marquis d’Angerville!

He felt there was more good quality product to be unearthed elsewhere. Perrin family members have been making wine in Volnay since 1445, so Vincent, the latest incumbent, knows what he’s doing.

Wines: Bourgogne Rouge and Saint-Romain Blanc.

Limited stocks of the former are snapped up at en primeur because it is found just by the Village appellation and so shares many of its characteristics.

One special barrel of his 2010 Pommard “Chanlins” Vieilles Vignes was held back for Andrew’s clients as, this year, his premier cru Mitans was snapped up by the rapacious négociants.

• 2010 Volnay “En Vaut”, £210.00 per 12 bottles; £110.00 per 6 bottles
• 2010 Volnay Premier Cru Clos la Carelle sous La Chapelle, £370.00 per 12 Bottles £190.00 per 6 bottles
• 2010 Volnay Premier Cru Les Gigottes, Monopole, £390.00 per 12 bottles £200.00 per 6 bottle as well as some cellar stocks from the 1999 vintage.

The monopoly of Les Gigottes (0.54 hectares) is one-fifth the size of Clos des Duc (d’Angerville’s monopole), and less than half the price.

Sylvie Prévot-Joly – Domaine Albert Joly, Puligny-Montrachet

Sylvie Prévot-Joly – Domaine Albert Joly. Photo credit: Colin Hampden-White

Perhaps the most sought-after village in the Côte de Beaune, Andrew was tipped off by a chef to seek out this family-run domaine where Sylvie, one of the new generation, is gradually taking on more and more responsibility.

Wines in the UK: 2010 Bourgogne Blanc £210 per 12 bottles including vat and duty

Shipping: 2010 Puligny-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes; 2007 Puligny-Montrachet “Charmes”

Tiny production throughout and never before sold outside of France. Puligny-Montrachet “Charmes” drinks like a premier cru and is very much sought-after.

Oronce de Beler – La Maison Romane, Vosne-Romanée

Oronce de Beler – La Maison Romane. Photo credit: Colin Hampden-White

Introduced to Andrew by a favoured restaurateur in Beaune as “something a bit different”, Oronce owns no vines but ploughs the fields of the great and good from Burgundy, and further afield, with his horse Prosper.

He then vinifies very low yields and whole bunch fermentation in the style of Clos des Lambrays and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Only old oak barrels are used to preserve the delicate and charming fruit; clay amphorae are favoured over barriques for any excess production. He bottles by gravity alone with no filtration or fining of his tiny production.

Wines: as below, as well as an excellent source of Chablis Grand Cru and Premier Cru and Pommard Premier Cru Largillières.

• 2008 Grenache (sourced outside Châteauneuf-du-Pape)

• 2008 Syrah (sourced outside Cornas)

• 2010, 2009 and 2008 Corton Les Perrieres Grand Cru at £70-75 per bottle

La Maison Romane was voted a Coup de Coeur in Revue de Vin du France for their 2011 vintages which will release in January 2013 to include some Gevrey-Chambertin and Marsannay Rouge.

Henri Audiffred – Domaine Audiffred, Vosne-Romanée

Henri Audiffred – Domaine Audiffred. Photo credit: Colin Hampden-White

It was always important for Andrew to find a grower in this key village. Henri shows all the quality of his neighbours without the drama.

Wines: Most sell at en primeur, but there are limited stocks of 2010 Bourgogne Rouge (made from old vines just by the fabled village) at £243 per 12 bottles inc. VAT and duty, and 2010 Vosne-Romanée at £570 per 12 bottles inc. VAT and duty.

The Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru Reignots (one barrel made in 2010) borders the Grand Cru of La Romanée, and so is adjacent to La Romanée-Conti itself.

Florent Garaudet, Monthelie

Florent Garaudet – Domaine Florent Garaudet. Photo credit: Colin Hampden-White

Florent is a real charmer – he sweet-talked both grandmothers into giving him their vines, and so has had his very own domaine since he was 23.

Bypassing his father’s holdings of ten hectares, he has a tiny two hectares to cultivate.

A one-man band, from answering the phones to making the wines, his whites are stunning and linger like those of Coche-Dury, while his reds have all the richness desired.

One to watch out for, and which until now has only sold in Japan and France. His ambition is to be like legendary late winemaker Didier Dagueneau!

Wines: Priced inc. VAT & duty per bottle. Trade prices available on request:

2009 Bourgogne Blanc, £17.00

2010 Meursault, £28.50

2008 Puligny-Montrachet, £32.50

2009 Bourgogne Rouge, £17.50

2008 Monthelie, £21.00

Shipping: Monthelie Premier Cru la Riotte and Bourgogne Rouge, £240 IB and £140 IB per 12 bottles respectively from the key 2010 vintage.

Recently Garaudet has expanded to three hectares, including two more Monthelie Premier Crus which will be offered en primeur next year.

Click here to view the portraits of Burgundy’s “Greatest Winemakers” by Colin Hampden-White.

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