We asked our experts to choose a wine that they’re most excited about this year. From Pouilly-Fuissé – Burgundy’s rising star – to the region’s “other” white grape, these are just a few wine styles which hold great promise for the year ahead.
Our experts’ favourites
Adam Bruntlett on Pouilly-Fuissé
While Burgundy might be seen as a traditional region steeped in history, where time moves a little slower, change continues apace and there is nowhere more dynamic than the Mâconnais. For political and historic reasons, the Mâconnais was never awarded Premier Cru status for its top vineyards; while the best villages and sites have always naturally risen to the top, there was never official recognition of their elevated status in the hierarchy.
However, after years of careful consideration and research, the top appellation in the Mâconnais, Pouilly-Fuissé, has succeeded in having its top 22 vineyards classified as Premier Cru. These exceptional parcels cover around a quarter of the vineyard area, and we’re delighted to say they include a number of the best sites of our very favourite growers.
With the promotion of these outstanding parcels, there will almost certainly be increased interest in the region; greater demand is likely to push prices upwards, so it makes sense to jump in now and pick up some wines from the excellent 2018 and 2019 vintages.
Davy Żyw on low-dosage Champagne
Dosage is the sugar that’s added to a Champagne before bottling. It not only adds sweetness, but also balances Champagne’s complexities and helps to flesh out the palate. Despite these benefits, adding sugar does conceal some of the purity from the vineyard; lower dosage styles are increasing popular, as they provide a more honest reflection of Champagne’s exceptional terroir.
Take our newly launched 2012 Own Selection Champagne, grown on Mailly’s best chalky, south-facing sites. It was an incredible vintage which yielded a rich, mature character, particularly in Pinot Noir, which makes up the majority of our cuvée.
I expect to see more low-dosage and Extra Brut styles emerging from the region for two reasons: firstly, because of the more consistent vintages we now enjoy; secondly, because the Champenois want to represent their land and winemaking in its purist, most vinous sense.
Mark Pardoe MW on Burgundy’s “other” white grape
Aligoté, Burgundy’s “other” white grape variety, is on a roll. Its lemony, herbal freshness works well in the warmer vintages that are currently being enjoyed in the region. Additionally, the region’s best producers are now seeking out older vines and isolating the Aligoté Doré version, which makes a more deeply coloured and more honeyed wine. It is no longer the grape variety to add to crème de cassis to, in order to make a classic kir; these are delicious and tasty wines in their own right.
Catriona Felstead MW on Eva Fricke’s 2019 Riesling
The best all-rounder right now has to be Eva Fricke’s 2019 single vineyard wines, which are due to arrive in March. The ’19 is a stellar vintage in Germany and Eva’s Lorcher Krone Riesling Trocken has just achieved a 100-point Wine Advocate score. If you can’t wait for the single-vineyard release, I’d advise starting with one of her entry-level wines, which captures the quality of the vintage.