Buying Burgundy wine is the toughest assignment, no doubt. In contrast to Bordeaux, it is the vineyards who get the Grand Cru and Premier Cru labels. However, frequently more than 20 producers share in the vineyard, so the quality varies significantly. And then, it is not uncommon for a producer to offer 20+ wines from different vineyard parcels. As a result, volumes are small, with high production costs and the scarcity factor driving up prices. As a further complication, vintage variation is significant in this marginal climate. So, how can you buy smart?
I can think of two strategies. I call the first the 'scrabble approach'. You find a Grand Cru or Premier Cru of a good producer, but this wine is too expensive to buy (the horizontal axis). As you appreciate the winemaker skills, you try to identify less valued wines from this company (the vertical axis). The second approach is more straight forward: taste before you buy.
The 2009 (from a great vintage) Maison de Grand Esprit (great name!) Cote De Nuits-Villages was a purchase using the second approach. The label indicates it is not from one of the famous villages.
I liked the wine initially, and I am happy to say, I still like it now. This is a screw-capped Burgundy! The wine is medium bodied and delicate. Cherry and raspberry flavours have good intensity and depth. The fruit is matched by lively acidity, resulting in a well balanced wine. Tannins are left in the background, but they help providing a solid structure. The finish is firm with some length. This is not the most profound wine, but it is well made and can compete well with medium priced Australian Pinot Noirs.