Burgundy why bother ?

It is certainly the case that the world is full of genuinely lovely wines, and these days you find quality and genuine interest almost everywhere. The sweet spot of £30-£50/bottle can provide so much joy, including wines which will improve with age.

One of the most satisfying things is the improvement in overall quality in Burgundy. This means that there are village wines, straight Chablis even, and a few wines from the outer reaches, which are exciting and delicious. These are what I buy now. Of course, they don't equal the GCs and best PCs, but they provide a lot of pleasure.

A couple of years ago I was lamenting those wines I can no longer afford, or justify buying. But now I'm not really bothered because I keep opening stuff I really enjoy that costs a whole lot less.

There is no doubt that my "thing" for 2016 has been a kind of reassessment of my wine hobby, and the same sort of thing has happened with restaurants too. I now much prefer a wholesome chunk of dead cow or sheep at somewhere like Rochelle Canteen (I could dine there every day) than the "go home hungry" "art on a plate" type of place which used to intrigue me.
I pose the question because a glance at WSPro reveals that much of the Burgundy I have in my cellar ,is worth so much money that it would be insane to drink it. Rousseau Chambertin 99 now at £1500 a bottle and even Leflaive Chevalier 2008 at £400!!
Sure I did not pay these prices but I am still very reluctant to open a bottle now when I have so much fine Bordeaux and NRhone at much better value for money . When you take into account the pre mox risk with white and red Burgundy you wonder who is mad enough to buy at current prices ?
Personally,I rarely drink Burgundy now at home although do still at our regular fine wine lunches . Think if prices continue to rise ,even at these lunches the wine will become rare,at least at GC level

I agree Keith, it is most obscene when one bottle is worth the same as a 100 bottles of decent wine.
And it's not just at the top end, prices for 1er Cru and even village wines from good not even great producers are £50 now. It's a difficult area to begin to export. When all the rich old guys have mored onto more celestial hobbies, who's going to pay these prices?
Chablis 2014 are very good value for money as many 1er cru from reputable producers were/still are around 100£/6 in UK (Billaud Simon for instance) so not an issue (and even Dauvissat is cheap in France although you will only get a few bottles but then it means more people can have it)... also still some 140-150£/6 Grand cru from reputable producers (de Malandes...). Cheaper than most white Pessac Leognan better crus or Hermitage, Condrieu from better producers...

Cote de Beaune Grand cru whites are another story...even more when you include Premox risks...
Ahh... How I regret not buying more of the good stuff years ago, and how I also regret selling bottles years ago when they already seemed ludicrously expensive.

But frankly I don't regret either thing as much as I enjoy opening a nice bottle of wine. There's lots of it made, including lots of Burgundy that is not crazily expensive. You just have to look a bit harder than you used to. EP makes no sense to me any more, it's all about the less fashionable things and bottle age. Beaune, Pommard, Santenay, Cote de Nuits Villages etc.

One interesting consequence of the price spiral is that many young sommeliers no longer have much idea about the classic wine regions. They are all into young and often 'natural' winemakers in 'new' terroirs. I guess they just don't get to taste much Burgundy, N Rhone etc.
Well, surely the prices of Bonneau de Martray will now come down, if (as tweeted by a Meursault producer) it's be sold to François Pinault !!!
How many 100s of millions? (answers on a postcard...)
A very interesting thread.

There are some among us who will buy the name wines no matter what.
As has been said, others wouldn't dream of doing that these days.

It is sad indeed that certain forumites would sell rather than drink wines of theirs that have risen in value exponentially.

It is true that in selling one or two bottleq of wine from my cellar I could probably pay for a long weekend in Venice for my wife and me.
And yet, I couldn't bear to part with them...
In a way, it feels like winning the lottery when your initial investment has been multiplied by 5 or 10 times.

I have often jumped on my hobby horse about "Bordeaux" being more than the classified growths (the issue has cropped up again on this thread, for instance). By the same token, I am convinced that pioneering wine merchants and adventurous consumers can find good "vins de terroir" from other than the sacred climats in the Côte d'Or.
Perhaps this is where the intelligent Burgundy-lover will turn. And seeing that it is not tremendously difficult to go from England to Burgundy, imagine the good times to be had marauding around the Côte Chalonaise, Côte Mâconais, etc. discovering new wines that won't break the bank.

Alex R.
and even today there is some lovely stuff around at well under GBP 100 a bottle.

Under £100 seems a not especially modest target to me! One can find for example Santenay at well under £30 of a quality that would have been almost unimaginable even 15 years ago, though I still can't help feel that they are expensive at that price. I'm afraid that mature 1ers from the most reputable growers do go for north of £100 now, which is well out of my league.

The only risk is that the world goes haywire before I try to sell it, and the market collapses .......
I don't think the former necessarily has to happen for the latter to occur, or indeed vice versa!
It's part of the world we live in that luxury goods are increasingly expensive, but that Santanary would have been £15 back in the day, now everything seems to have been dragged up in price. The days of cherry picking a few lesser known producer/vineyards from the cotes for £30 seem numbered.
possibly contrary to the expectations of some, one place where these really expensive wines are opened and drunk, and by people who know what they are doing and understand what the wines are all about, is Hong Kong.

This should not be a surprise. Well to do Chinese people(Cantonese in particular) have always had an interest in and a readiness to spend on gastronomy which simply has no parallel in western culture. Wine is obviously a part of gastronomy , and dishes of the very finest shark's fin or dried abalone nowadays can cost far more than almost any wine, Romanee Conti and Jayer excepted, which provides the context for the fact that these wines are purchased and then consumed rater than salted away;this is as it should be of course though few of us lesser mortals can keep up.
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Obscene is still the right word.

Meaning, I suppose, morally repugnant rather than with any sexual connotation. I don't see that at all. Is the price of a rare old motor car or an Andy Warhol morally repugnant, or just high?
Do people seethe in their beds at night at the injustice of not being able to drink Rousseau Chambertin? having said which I'm very glad of the several occasions on which I've been fortunate enough to drink it.
I've now pretty much sold every case of Burgundy that I had in stock, I've a few left that I've kept for I suppose what are sentimental reasons though I may yet sell them. A few half cases from Mugneret-Gibourg, Grivot, Gouges, Michel Gros and Lafarge are all that remain from what used to be a rather broad collection. There's much better value elsewhere though I'm not sure many of the wines I've bought with the proceeds will be quite as compelling as those I've sold.
Hi Jonathan
I could stretch to "it's a bit of a shame some wines are so expensive", but that's as far as I would go. If we had to suffer the vagaries of Vinmonopolet in Finland then I might be more vocal.

There are some wines I've bought and enjoyed that I wouldn't buy now - Krug MV, Ornellaia, Penfolds Grange and a few other at lower price levels where the price now exceeds what I perceive as the value. Other wines have filled the gap. There are lots of wines I would like to drink so I'm hardly short of alternatives.

For a long time the most prestigious wine(s) in a region have seen price inflation way beyond their peers - and for me typically well beyond any notion of value. Some of that is down to aspirational wine enthusiasts; some is down to wealthy but less interested wine drinkers wanting the safety or the prestige of 'the best'. Then there are the restaurants that need to be seen with the 'best' wines on their list and finally the speculators / wine investors who hope to drive the prices further upwards for profit.

As enthusiasts, we are in the lucky position of having strong awareness of the wider world of wine, giving us plenty of chance to avoid the wines that move into the sphere of luxury / prestigious goods.

I think it's just another very visible us-them, have-havenots conspicuous consumption thing, but unusually expressed in this case by the Haves! That's how I feel anyway - I'm outraged at not being to afford my favourite wine, but don't worry about it for long, and like Jonathan and Ian, draw a line in the sand and move on to other wines which offer something more than crimson battery acid for my buck. At the risk of getting banned from the forum again, there aren't many wines worth more than £20 UK retail for me (perhaps £15), and I'm sorry - genuinely - for those whose palates have progressed beyond this and can't go back. I love wine and all of its facets, but it's primarily a drink. If my income doubled, I might buy a few more at the £15 mark and take half the year off, reading and listening to music.

(edited for emphasis)
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You have a point. I don't believe any wine costs more than say 15£ to produce. The price is determined by demand and readiness to pay a price which is linked to the quality of the wine, the appeal of owning a given wine and belonging to a "community", the ability to pay (which gets you in the community), the marketing... whether you need the money for something else or not...

When I lived in Holland, I became aware of the selection process to enter the studies leading to for instance becoming a medical doctor. The government decided that there was a minimum level of intellectual.. capabilities to demonstrate but also acknowledged that there was no need to select only candidates with stratospheric intellectual capacities (as demand is very high). They decided that a lottery would decide who (among the ones meeting requirements) would be allowed to study to become a doctor as they wanted to control the number of doctors.

For fine wine, it could be decided that a price rewarding the good work would be determined and then the wine proposed to everybody at a reasonable price, the bottles being then sold to the lucky buyers winning the lottery.

You may object the producers would be poorer but it could be argued that this would avoid the price of land to be sky high (driven by high wine prices) and then inheritance taxes would be commensurate with the reasonable price of land, hence, true viticulteurs would not be forced to sell their land to Mr Pinault or Arnaud...

Just a Sunday night idea...;)
We may be heading towards very new ways of living Antoine if the last year's been anything to go by - just hope it's done with control and thought. Certainly I think even the most rabid Capitalist (I may be one) would struggle look at the red Burgundy market and make a case for the system "working" for anything other than a tiny elite (takes cover). Sunday night...
Central bank 'quantitative easing' is to blame for this. The theory behind QE is to pump up asset prices to make people feel better about spending. The problem is that it benefits most those already rich in (financial and other) assets, who like to spend their marginal gains on status symbols, that do t benefit the economy - such a dreadful policy. For those dreaming of buying a classic car like an Aston DB-X it is exactly the same problem. It is all so awful. I tend to mark my wines at purchase cost, rather than to market. I am reluctant to view the market value of my wine portfolio as part of my wealth, given I intend to consume most or all of it, unlike say my house. Like others here I was fortunate in starting buying at a time when wine prices were quite depressed. It would be such a shame to sell these wines - I only have the odd bottle rather than cases - and the case for selling today is very weak unless you are desperate for the money, because you are effectively calling a top in a steep uptrend when cash and other assets yield little. So hang on to any bottles of DRC and Rousseau you may have. But when a bottle costs as much as a single term of university fees or accommodation it really concentrates the mind if you are going to open one...in terms of timing, setting, preparation etc.