Spotlight on Red Burgundy: Alain Burguet Gevrey-Chambertin La Justice 2008
I have finally reached the last village I will cover in this spotlight. While I am missing out on a few of the minor villages in the Cote d’Or, the spotlight has been an epic journey lasting about a year, tasting a wide range of wines from the southerly Auxey north to Gevrey. The journey has been enlightening for me as it is rare to taste so many high quality red Burgundies. It has also reaffirmed how little I know and how extremely difficult it is to pin down and truly understand this tiny part of France and its ancient, profound wines. Even dedicated study yields meagre understanding.
Battle of the Giants: What is the Best Village in Burgundy?
Deciding what is the greatest village of Burgundy is a long battle of deeply held convictions, but for most there are two that are locked in head-to-head combat: Gevrey-Chambertin and Vosne-Romanee. Chambertin surely is one of the very greatest Grand Crus, and thus one of the best sites for Pinot Noir in the world. The wines of Gevrey are known for their combination of exuberance and power, being both richly concentrated and immediately exotic. This allows many Gevreys to be appreciated perhaps somewhat younger than a great Vosne, which tend more toward extreme potency and thus austerity in youth.
There are nine Grand Cru vineyards in Gevrey, more than any other village in Burgundy. All abut the famed Chambertin. These are very expensive wines and difficult to find. That said, even the village wines of Gevrey are superb when chosen from a top producer such as Alain Burguet.
Burguet’s Village Masterpieces
Burguet is a relatively recent entrant into Burgundy, having made his first wine in 1972, and makes some of the best village Gevreys available. Farming is biodynamic (and has been organic since the domaine started in the 70’s). In the cellar Burguet de-stems and vinifies at a high temperature with long cuvaisons. Elevage is 20 months and the Domaine adds minimal SO2 upon bottling. Burguet makes wines meant to age and they are generally far too closed in their youth to properly enjoy.
The La Justice lieux-dit is situated in the north-east quadrant of Gevrey, east of the RN74, which is usually considered the ‘bad side of the tracks’ for red Burgundy, but in Gevrey the alluvial limestone has been distributed more broadly into the flatter lands on the east side of the highway and so there are a number of excellent vineyards here.
The wine is impressive, with a savoury, mineral driven nose that also encompasses South Asian spices and earth. Delicious on the palate, the spice becomes the driving force and is more forward than the red cherry fruityness. I also noted black currant and earthy-rocks. Though not that old yet, the wine is now very expressive and outstanding for being merely village level. La Justice is Burguet’s largest vineyard holding. He also makes an old vine village cuvee called Mes Favourites which has the reputation of being the best village wine of Gevrey.
Excellent to Excellent+
~$90 at Kits Wine (also available at BCLDB from time to time)