As with housing, when certain favoured areas become too expensive for some, interest then grows in what were, 30 years ago, unfashionable and run-down areas – think of places like Hoxton in London, or Leith in Edinburgh – and so it is with Burgundy.
As Meursault and Puligny rise in price, the Mâconnais is a welcome oasis of value-for-money wines. For red Burgundy, because yields are much lower for pinot noir than chardonnay, one has to cast the net even wider to find good, moderately priced pinot noirs. Exploring the lesser-known, or far-flung villages away from central Côte d’Or, one discovers excellent wine in the polar extremes from the north to the south of Bourgogne.
For white wines the first port of call is the Mâconnais. Situated in the warm south of the region, it’s a large region with much lower land prices than the Côte d’Or, and our advice here is to pick your growers carefully to find the best wines. It is fair to say there is also a lot of average quality wine here, so our advice is to pick your growers carefully. Search for the top producers like Domaine Gonon, Château de Beauregard and Jacques Saumaize and you will be amazed by how much they overdeliver on quality given their modest pricing.
In the Côte d’Or two side valleys, Saint-Aubin and Auxey-Duresses, were less reputed, as many vineyards either lacked the south-east exposure of the principal escarpment or their narrow valley limited sun exposure, but have recently benefitted from global warming. Their time has come but they are still under-priced. Pernand-Vergelesses is a stone’s throw from grand cru Corton-Charlemagne and is available at fraction of the cost.
Regarding red wines, Marsannay is offering excellent value for money. Despite its attractive slopes, Marsannay has no premiers crus yet but has submitted a dossier to the powers that be to substantiate its claims. So, buy now as prices may rise when it gets a premier cru classification. It also has a decent number of excellent domaines fighting for recognition.
Despite its attractive slopes, there are still no premiers crus in Marsannay, so buy now before prices rise!
Little-known Fixin is unfairly overlooked and is now on the way up. Santenay and Maranges have a reputation for producing rather rustic wines, which pulls their prices down. Again, the effects of global warming here and better viticulture from growers like Jean-Marc Vincent and Nicolas Perrault have driven quality upwards and they now produce ripe and balanced wines. Chorey-lès-Beaune and the large commune of Savigny-lès-Beaune offer good value. Search a little further afield in the Côte Chalonnaise, and you will find Clos Salomon is making wines at very reasonable prices.
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