Kings of Burgundy

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December 9th 2009

A fascinating article by John Stimpfig in the Saturday FT’s “how to spend it” magazine on the trials and tribulations of collecting fine Burgundy included Goedhuis & Co in a shortlist of Kings of Burgundy.

We were delighted to make the cut and felt inspired to look through our stocks of mature Burgundy. While there are plenty of interesting cases we were once again reminded of the need to buy en primeur.

The tiled roofs of the Hospice de Beaune
The tiled roofs of the Hospice de Beaune

In Bordeaux buying En Primeur does guarantee provenance, ensure (except in totally anomalous years) the best price and allow you to choose your preferred format. However there is a very active secondary market. You can pretty much always pick up what you are after a few years down the line although it may be at an elevated price. Not so for Burgundy.

In comparison to Bordeaux these wines are made in miniscule quantities. The cliched but true image of the BCBG Bordelais chateau owner in jacket and tie contrasts with the majority of Burgundian producers whose hands show their hard work and are probably wrapped up in a thick jumper against the bitter chill in the cellar. These wines are a true labour of love; potentially confusing and capricious yet capable of absolute greatness.

Buying Burgundy En Primeur may well be the only time a specific wine is available for purchase. All the sought after Grand Crus and many other wines sell out shortly after release each January. In our experience the majority of Burgundy collectors are buying for drinking and so few of these cases ever make it back on to the market.

Stimpfig concludes that collecting Burgundy “will be extremely difficult and increasingly expensive”. This is undoubtedly true. The best way to mitigate is to load up each January while the wines are relatively plentiful and moderately priced.

For the full article click here.