Looking back at my previous post it is clear that it might have been helpful to provide examples of the styles I now recognise as bona fide expressions of Pinot Noir and Burgundy. I didn’t partly because of the work involved, and partly because the lines are not always that clear and others might draw them differently. But what I will do here is give you a good example of Burgundy I do like at lot: the Nuits Saint George of Bertrand Ambroise.
I would like to say that I have found a domaine whose wines I can buy with confidence without trying them first, but I have not reached that point quite yet. Apart from the Nuits Saint George, I have tried a couple of his cheaper whites, the Hautes-Côtes de Nuits 2004 and Ladoix 1er Cru Les Gréchons 2005, both tasted in 2007. They were perfectly fine *** wines, and decent value for money, but did not excite me enough to want to buy. I also tried his straight Bourgogne Rouge 2009 in March last year, which I also gave ***, but as I thought this would improve I decided to buy half a case as £15 per bottle. I am not sure I properly have the measure of this wine yet. The taster on which I decided to buy was of the primary red cherry fruit style I like so much, but the bottle which I opened a couple of weeks later was more black cherry and blackcurrant, and seemed to have more dominant oak. I am not necessarily suggesting bottle variation – taster variation is at least as likely an explanation. Either way I am not going to fret too much about the difference. The fruit was good and intense, and tannins were evident, so I am going to tuck the remaining bottles away for a few years and see what happens.
But the Nuits Saint George is on a totally different level. For the 2002 and 2005, in March and December respectively last year I did the same as for the Bourgogne: I tasted a sample, bought a half case, and opened a bottle from the half case a week or two later. For these wines, the tasting sample and bottle experiences were very similar, and are described below in one note for each wine.
Nuits Saint George, Bertrand Ambroise, 2002, £26
Medium garnet. Intense, slightly funky, Burgundy. Good mature Pinot Noir fruit. Sous bois. Highish acidity and medium astringency. Excellent length, with tingly fruit finish. Excellent all round wine. Good to drink now or in next few years. *****
Nuits Saint George, Bertrand Ambroise, 2005, £31
Medium garnet. Intense beautiful Burgundian perfumed Pinot Noir. Mainly primary fruit, but with a savoury edge – bacon perhaps. Sous Bois. Some spicy oak, but not obtrusive. Medium acidity and astringency. Sweet, light, delicate fruit. Extremely long, with tangy perfumed finish. Great now. Not sure how much it will improve as I like it so much now, but will certainly last several more years. ******
Yup, 6 stars is my maximum score – and given to a village level Burgundy. I was tempted to to knock a star to create what might seem like a more sane assessment, but decided eventually to stick to my guns and say what I really thought.
I was pleased to be introduced to all these wines by the Manchester Wine Society. The red Burgundies were both tried at excellent tastings lead by Peter Ainsworth, and were bought from his company Delamere Wines (sadly longer trading).