2017 Bourgogne Rouge, Domaine Guyon
Jasper Morris MW, insideburgundy.com (Nov 2018)
Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobinson.com (Jan 2019)
About this WINE
The excellent Domaine Guyon in Vosne Romanée has been below most people’s radar – perhaps because Jean-Pierre Guyon spends as much of his time as possible out in the vineyards, which have been farmed organically since 2006, certified from 2012. This is a hugely exciting addition to the Berry Bros. & Rudd range, the wines wowed Jasper Morris MW when he first discovered them. The wines are extraordinarily good, yet are priced very sensibly indeed, a winning combination.
With his high pedigree viticulture as a great starting point, Jean-Pierre can employ whole bunch fermentation as the stalks are ripe, eschewing the use of sulphur at this stage (though some is added later during elevage and at bottling to assure stability). Another point of Guyon’s meticulous care is the use of a vertical press before the juice goes to barrel for 12 months, before racking into older wood for a final six months maturation.
This range of wines is hugely impressive, from the simple Bourgogne Rouge up to the Grand Crus. Finding high quality Vosne Romanée at this pricing level is a rare thing indeed.
Bourgogne Rouge is the term used to apply to red wines from Burgundy that fall under the generic Bourgogne AOC, which can be produced by over 350 individual villages across the region. As with Bourgogne Blanc and Bourgogne Rosé, this is a very general appellation and thus is hard to pinpoint any specific characteristics of the wine as a whole, due to the huge variety of wines produced.
Around 4,600 acres of land across Burgundy are used to produce Bourgogne Rouge, which is around twice as much as is dedicated towards the production of generic whites.
Pinot Noir is the primary grape used in Bourgogne Rouge production, although Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and in Yonne, César grapes are all also permitted to make up the rest of the wine. These wines tend to be focused and acidic, with the fruit less cloying than in some New World wines also made from Pinot Noir, and they develop more floral notes as they age.
Although an entry-level wine, some Bourgogne Rouges can be exquisite depending on the area and producer, and yet at a very affordable price.
Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.
Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.
Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.
The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.
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This Bourgogne Rouge from Domaine Guyon is made exclusively from vineyards in Vosne; it’s a lot more structured than most wines at the generic level in 2017. The 100% whole-bunch house style is obvious, making for a generous red with an appealing line of freshness and purity. Drink now to 2023.
Adam Bruntlett, Burgundy Buyer (Oct 2020)
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