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|