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Burgundy : never have so many buyers sought so few wines

March 19, 2014

Some time ago a barrister once informed me that only clerks can afford Burgundy, so he drinks claret.

I’ve always been rather fond of the impression this statement has given me over the years as to how the lifestyles of barristers and their clerks differ.  Whether there is any truth in this generalisation of the legal profession, it did reflect the perception at the time that Burgundy was priced out of most people’s pockets.    Our learned friend would be well advised to reconsider his position, because in reality, Burgundy has not responded to market forces in the way claret has over the past 10 to 15 years and by comparison one could argue that fine Burgundy offers rather better value for money than top flight Bordeaux.  However,  getting hold of the wines is increasingly more difficult.

Burgundy harvests have been smaller than average since 2007 and even with the notable exception of the plentiful 2009 vintage, yields were low again in 2010.  To make matters worse, there has been a terrible trio of back-to-back-vintages in 2011-2013.  Although the quality of these last three vintages has resulted in some excellent wines made in challenging growing conditions, many producers have made up to 60% less wine.    Every dedicated winemaker has a right to a decent living and with less wine to sell in the coming years, they will probably have little choice but to increase their prices.   There’s more to this than simply yields, however if demand for Burgundy remains strong, then I suspect we have to accept that prices will increase.

So before our learned friends gloats “I told you so!”, we could all be well advised to snap up some well priced Burgundy while we can.  Personally speaking, I think the more adventurous consumers among us will continue to be introduced by their wine merchants to well priced wines from Burgundy for a little while yet, so no need to panic!

Click here if you want to see our En Primeur 2012 offer or give Karl Elwood a call on 01273 242535 or if you would like any specific advice on what to buy right now.


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