Burgundy en primeur

I have discovered that there is an art to tasting Burgundy en primeur. And, as with all art, it’s something that takes time to master. I went along to Berry Bros & Rudd burgundy en primeur tasting a couple of weeks ago and it was an eye opening experience. Wandering around with various Masters of Wine in attendance, it was a bit intimidating. Most of the producers also seemed to have only  a passing acquaintance with the English language which left me feeling quite inadequate. What is it about the French language that leaves me tongue tied? I really am going to make an effort to at least learn the basics in 2010.

Back to the tasting. It was hard to make any real judgements but I did find that most of the 2008 white Burgundies were drinking well already. Some of the whites were really aromatic. At one point, Sarah, who was tasting with me, commented that my perfume was overpowering a wine and I had to remind her that I wasn’t wearing any perfume! She was smelling the aromas of the wine. That was a Meursault and a good example of the character of the whites we tried. As for the reds, really green and astringent but maybe that’s just my inexperience with red Burgundy en primeur. There were a few standouts but they were Grand Crus or better still, Vosne Romanee!

It was an interesting experience because I know in a  year or two some of these wines will be starting to show quite well but for now, I’ll just have to wait. Or maybe I should consider sharpening my en primeur skills for next year’s vintage….


  1. I’m with you Sleuth, en premier schmumier, I’m drinking a Rully 1er Cru ‘Le Meix Cadot’ 2006 Domaine Jacqus Dury right now, £10 in Costco. Bloody hell, it’s good. What a difference a year (or four) can make…

    • Ha! Yeah, what a difference a day (or a year) makes (in the words of the immortal Dinah Washington). En premieur is a bit elitist but if only I could be able to predict the greatness of a red Burgundy….maybe one of these days!

  2. I’ve turned up to a lot of large tastings, many magazine panel tastings, lots of trade events and the occasional bit of wine competition judging. I don’t like them at all. I think it is a very bad and unfair way of evaluating wines when you only have a 30 seconds to taste a minuscule amount and make your assessment before moving onto the next out of the one hundred wines you’ve got plough trough before you are allowed lunch.

    I did turn up to one of the large Burgundy 2008 tastings. If you are vaguely interested my thoughts (and those of others in the comments) can be read here: http://wine.elitistreview.com/PermaLink,guid,c4660528-26bd-49e1-849d-a34193db2dd0.aspx
    Jancis Robinson has also posted some recommendations here:

    Large tasting are just no fun and hard work. I avoid them these days.

    • i enjoy the large tastings but you have to be judicious about what your tasting. I now have the knowledge to enjoy those tastings whereas before I was like a kid a Disneyland, turning to whatever bright light caught my fancy. I think if you know what you’re looking for, you can find some gems at the big tastings. Last week I went to a major Burgundy and French wine tasting and enjoyed both but only tried a very few wines. Just as with en primeur, I think you have to have a strategy (and previous tasting knowledge) when you visit, otherwise, you are lost!

      • Oh certainly, when you have the option to be selective about what you taste it is best to have a plan and try things you feel will be most instructive (or best!). However, in a panel tasting for a magazine or when judging at a wine show you’ve got to try all your allotted wines. I just find this a drag and do not relish doing that kind of thing any more. It is good to spend some time with a wine, if you feel it merits the attention, and massive tastings do not lend themselves to that.

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