Each January, the wine trade and press clamour to tastings of the very latest Burgundy vintage. These ‘en primeur’ tastings feature the barely finished wines from the harvest 14 or 15 months earlier, which have not yet been shipped. Advance orders will be placed and reviews will emerge. The cult producers and biggest names will sell out long before ordinary wine lovers have a chance taste or buy their wines. Prices can be stratospheric too – the 2016 vintage of the top wine from Burgundy’s elite Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is selling for around £25,000. Per bottle. Yes, you read that right.
Cadman Fine Wines specialises in the classic regions of Europe, and while it does sell some of those superstar Burgundy wines costing hundreds of pounds, it also has a really strong portfolio of more affordable examples, and unlike those en primeurs, they are bottled, on the shelf, and ready to be delivered. I have tasted a selection of fantastic Chablis Premier Cru wines from Domaine Fourrey, all selling for under £20, and will report on those soon, but meanwhile, Cadman sent me a tasting selection from one of their other favourite producers, Pierre Bourée Fils.
Pierre Bourée was established in Gevery-Chambertin way back in 1864, as both Burgundy négociant, vinifying parcels of grapes from a family of growers, and making estate wines from their own holdings in Charmes Chambertin, Gevrey-Chambertin and Beaune. Today, brothers Bernard and Jean-Christophe Vallet run the house alongside their sons, Pierre and Louis Henry. They produce traditional Burgundy wines focused on balance and finesse rather than power.
Though not fully organic, the brothers work in an environmentally friendly way, maintaining the soil by ploughing rather than chemical treatments, and controlling of vine vigour and yields through careful pruning. Only manure has been used as fertiliser for the last half a century, with again no synthetic fertilisers. All harvesting is manual.
In the cellar, a sorting table is used to control the quality of the fruit as it arrives, and only wild indigenous yeasts are used for fermentation. In a deeply traditional method, grapes are foot-trodden, and ferments take place in wooden foudres, before maturation in smaller oak casks. Red wines stay a maximum of two years in cask before being bottled, while white wines spend 14 to 16 months in oak.
This is a delightful set of authentic wines, as well-made and delicious as you could hope for, from a domaine that sits slightly under the radar. That means prices are moderate and the wines are actually available to buy unlike more cult names of the region, which is good news for Burgundy lovers indeed.