It’s not always evident to the casual observer passing through its often sleepy villages, but there’s a lot going on in Burgundy nowadays. Change is being driven by the increasingly high prices demanded by, and paid for, producers whose wines, even a few years ago, represented reasonable value but now force one to spurt out ‘How much?’ A steady increase in worldwide demand combined with a number of short vintages in recent years, however, makes such rises inevitable. On top of that, the 2021 vintage was exceptionally small (more below), and is putting further pressure on prices.
Of course, if you want great or rare wine from Burgundy, and few wine lovers don’t, then the price has to be paid; there are no cheap Picassos either. But as a Burgundy lover who actually wants to drink the stuff and keep a roof over his or her head, the trick is to find a producer who makes good to very good wine, true to its terroir and with character BUT who is not a big name and can still price fairly. So, even though some of the names we are in the process of shipping aren’t familiar, and this Bachey-Legros offer is an example, the wines are very good and offer exceptional value and good drinking, which for most of us, after all, is the whole point of buying wine.
The 2021 vintage:
Most people will have heard of the severe frosts that hit the region in early April, but the real villain was the exceptionally warm March, which caused the buds to break and growth to start so that when the frosts did arrive the damage was devastating. The earlier growing Chardonnay was the most severely affected, with losses between 50% and 80% in most areas, but Pinot Noir also suffered badly. Worse was that the frosts were accompanied by snow, so that the higher Grand Cru vineyards were the hardest hit. A cool, damp summer led to virulent attacks of oïdium and mildew necessitating frequent spraying and extensive deleafing both to air the grapes and to get some sun on them. The ripening of the grapes was retarded by the cool weather, and rain in early September left everyone wondering whether they’d get anything for all their hard work … but there’s a happy ending. The rain stopped in mid-September and the sun came out, the grapes finally ripened and picking began in late September (unheard of in recent years). Rigorous sorting was required to remove diseased grapes, further reducing yields, and in many cases the produce of several vineyards had to be mixed in order to fill the vats. The results, however, have been highly encouraging. Everyone is agreed that the Whites are almost uniformly exceptional, with a beautiful freshness. The Reds are a little more variable, but the best are exquisite. Paler and lower in alcohol than in recent years, they are elegant and perfumed rather than powerful, as we remember Burgundy (the word ‘classic’ keeps cropping up).
Price is GBP under bond per case 6 x 75cl, wines are due to arrive spring 2023. Minimum order is 24 bottles which may be mixed, with a 5% discount on orders of 36 bottles or more. All wines offered subject to remaining available. E & OE. All the wines list below are available at the time of writing.
Domaine Bachey-Legros, Haut-Santenay
I have been sourcing wine from this wonderful old estate for several years now and I have never been disappointed in the quality of their wines, indeed, my expectations are usually exceeded. The greatest asset they have, apart from the dedicated people running the winery, is the abundance of old vines; most of their 18 hectares, if not all, having been planted by this current generation’s grandfather and great-grandfather, so the vines average out at 60 years plus – although their 0.4ha Clos Rousseau ‘Les Fourneaux’ was planted in 1914, making them the oldest vines in Santenay.
Brothers Samuel and Lenaïc, the sixth generation, have joined their mother Christiane Bachey-Legros in running the family estate and I am sure it will continue to go from strength to strength. If you want proper Burgundy for drinking, without breaking the bank, then this is an excellent estate to buy from.
|Sell IB Per 6|
|Bourgogne ‘Saint-Martin’||2021||6||£ 99.00|
|Maranges Blanc||2021||6||£ 110.00|
|Santenay ‘Sous la Roche’||2021||6||£ 138.00|
|Santenay ‘En Charrons’||2021||6||£ 140.00|
|Santenay 1er Cru Clos des Gravières||2021||6||£ 175.00|
|Chassagne-Montrachet Blanc||2021||6||£ 238.00|
|Meursault ‘Les Grands Charrons’, Bachey-Legros & Fils||2021||6||£ 315.00|
|Puligny-Montrachet, Bachey-Legros & Fils||2021||6||£ 310.00|
|Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot Les Petit Clos||2021||6||£ 315.00|
|Maranges Rouge||2021||6||£ 105.00|
|Maranges Rouge ‘Le Goty’||2021||6||£ 110.00|
|Santenay Rouge Vieilles Vignes||2021||6||£ 125.00|
|Santenay Rouge ‘Clos des Hâtes’||2021||6||£ 128.00|
|Santenay Rouge ‘Les Charmes’||2021||6||£ 128.00|
|Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge ‘Les Plantes Momières’||2021||6||£ 160.00|
|Santenay 1er Cru Rouge ‘La Comme’||2021||6||£ 168.00|
|Santenay 1er Cru Rouge Clos Rousseau||2021||6||£ 168.00|
|Santenay 1er Cru Rouge Clos Rousseau ‘Les Fourneaux’||2021||6||£ 185.00|
Casanova di Neri
2016 Brunello di Montalcino “Cerretalto”
£800 per 3 x 75cl (only 5 cases available)
James Suckling – 100pts. Wow. Incredible purity and transparency with cherries, bark, mushroom, flower and slate/stone on the nose. Full-bodied yet agile and fresh with a fine tannin structure that runs the length of the wine and goes on forever. The polish, elegance and grace is breathtaking. Power with agility. A revelation for the 2016 vintage in Brunello. Drink in 2024 and onwards but wonderful to taste now.
2017 Brunello di Montalcino “Tenuta Nuova”
£475 per 6 x 75cl (only 5 cases available))
James Suckling – 94 points. Lots of red plums and cherries on the nose with a palate that has a full body, thick silky tannins and a fresh and flavorful finish. The tannins are in good balance against the ripe fruit. Fresh and transparent at the end. Drink or hold.
2017 Brunello di Montalcino “White label”
£235 per 6 x 75cl (only 10 cases available)
Eric Guido – 92 Points Vinous Media Dusty florals, musky cherry and raspberry with hints of mentholated herbs waft up from the 2017 Brunello di Montalcino. This is enveloping and soft, with sweet exotic spices and juicy, vibrant acidity giving way to tart wild berries and rosy inner florals. There’s amazing length, hard red candies and violets, and sweet tannin that goes on and on, creating a somewhat chewy yet also fresh expression. The 2017 benefits from all of the fruit that would usually go into the single-vineyard Cerretalto Brunello, though even with it, production is down by 35%. That said, this is stunning juice.
2020 Rosso di Montalcino 2020,
£125 per 6 x 75cl (only 10 cases available)
Eric Guido – 91 Points Vinous Media. Woodsy wildberries, herbs, pungent florals and underbrush create a dazzling display as the 2020 Rosso di Montalcino blossoms in the glass. This is soft, juicy and pliant, with lavender-tinged red and black berries that give way to savory mineral tones toward the close. The 2020 keeps the energy high while remaining incredibly pretty through the long finale, where inner violet and sour citrus tones resonate on. This shows the elegance of the vintage with a perfumed and highly pleasurable style.