Burgundy 2022 En Primeur: tasting the vintage


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In January, we hosted our Burgundy 2022 En Primeur tasting. Alexandra Gray de Walden takes us behind the scenes.  

On a cold and frosty yet beautifully bright January morning, over 60 wine producers from Burgundy made their way to Lindley Hall for our Burgundy 2022 En Primeur tasting.

It was charming to see so many of them greet one another as old friends. Once again, I was reminded of the camaraderie and community of winemakers in Burgundy. Whether they already knew one another or were meeting for the first time, the convivial buzz of the French language and friendly laughter echoed around the vast hall as tables were set, bottles unpacked and corkscrews laid out.

Amid the hustle and bustle, I managed to speak to Louis Vallet of Château de Charodon and Florian Remy of Domaine Chantal Remy. Having interviewed them both at their respective wineries in October, it was strange to see them now in London and both more formally attired. “It’s great to be in London” Louis boomed at me across the table with his signature enthusiasm when I asked about his visit.

I was given the honour of pouring the wines for Domaine Michel Bouzereau. After opening and tasting the four wines, happy in the knowledge there were no faults present in those bottles, I waited for the first tasters of the day: the press and other members of the wine trade.

With 2022 being such a stellar vintage in Burgundy, I knew it was going to be a popular one with the press. They would all be eager to taste as many wines from across Burgundy and its myriad communes as they could – all with a view to presenting a comprehensive report of the vintage to their readers. It was the busiest press tasting in my seven years at Berry Bros. & Rudd. Familiar faces, deep in concentration, tasted wines then scurried off to jot their findings down on paper. I tried to read expressions to gain any insight into what they made of the four Meursault wines I was pouring – unfortunately, they were too well hidden in notebooks for any evaluation.

In the shorter-than-expected time available between the press tasting and the tasting for our private clients, I took the opportunity to leave my post. I was keen to taste wines from some of our other producers and hear their experiences of the lauded 2022 vintage.

Asking Guillaume Michaut of Domaine 47°N 3°E if he was happy with 2022 felt somewhat rhetorical. Our Burgundy Buyer, Adam Bruntlett, described this as “one of the best vintages I have tasted in over a decade” and both quantity and quality were streets ahead of 2021.  

In his charming way, Guillaume confirmed that he was delighted with his 2022 wines. “After the struggle of 2021, it would have been hard not to be!” He talked me through each of his four Chablis cuvées and I was particularly taken by Cairn. “This is its first vintage” Guillaume said. “Made with two plots of my father’s and one of my grandfather’s.” His proud explanation displayed another Burgundian quality – that of heritage and family.

There was quite a buzz around the wines of Domaine Ghislaine Barthod as I moved towards that area of the hall. There was a heavy throng around the Barthod wines and I knew this would be my only chance to taste what all the fuss was about. Quelle surprise, Ghislaine’s Chambolle-Musigny Les Baudes was my favourite. Its core of concentrated ripe strawberry and black cherry flavours was ably supported by chalky tannins and licking acidity.

If I was one of those familiar faces of the wine press now scribbling away my impressions of this vintage, I would be sure to convey the immense quality of 2022. From newer names like Guillaume’s to long-established dynasties like that of Domaine Faiveley, each producer has grasped 2022 with both hands and made it a vintage for every collector.

To find out more about our Burgundy 2022 En Primeur offer, visit our dedicated webpage here.

Category: Miscellaneous

Old friends


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Christmas is the time for special wines and spirits. It may be a platitude, but what truly makes them special comes down to our memories. A bottle needn’t be grand to become an “old friend”  one of those familiar names that returns every Christmas, taking you by the hand and guiding you gently back in time. We asked a handful of our experts who their old friends are, and which memories will come calling over the festive season.  

Christmas brings a pause from the usual routines. Time slows and nostalgia takes hold. The past bleeds into the present, while the future waits in plain sight. Fine wines and spirits are equally shaped by the passage of time, and they evolve alongside us. This chronology starts with the moment we first try a certain bottle: where we were, who we were with. There’s the spark of discovery, acquaintance becoming familiarity as we return to it again. Then comes the quiet maturation in the cellar, until the moment they’re finally ready to enjoy. The past returns, but different: more complex, layered, new details coming to the fore – much like our own memories.  

A good bottle offers this unique pleasure – a strange and delicious kind of time travel. Below, our experts share some of the temporal adventures they’ve enjoyed alongside some “old friends” – the bottles they revisit at Christmas, time and again.  

Christmas Eve Brandy

For years, it was traditional for my father and me to share an Armagnac on Christmas Eve and, after everyone else had gone to bed, chat for 45 minutes – his diluted a little with water, mine without.  Not to put the world to rights, but just to enjoy each other’s company. It is a source of pride that the tradition now continues with my own son, and to do so with a bottle from the year of his birth – Nismes-Delclou 1994 – adds an extra glow. It is now my glass that has a little water. 

Christmas Day for us is usually a crowd, and too many to open something very special. With a variety of ages and tastes, something reliable and flavoursome (and good with turkey) is the answer. For me, that has always been a good Beaujolais, ideally a Moulin-à-Vent from someone like Olivier Merlin or Thibault Liger-Belair, and a magnum makes a fine centrepiece without breaking the bank. As it happens, Cru Beaujolais was also one of my father’s favourite wines, something he discovered in the late 1970s. He was a man ahead of his time, and his memory is preserved by my choices today. 

Mark Pardoe MW, Wine Director  

A little drop of Sherry  

Christmas for me is synonymous with Sherry. I can recall the first time I was given a tiny sip of this to enjoy, many moons ago now, before we sat down to Christmas dinner. It was horrible, but I felt so incredibly grown-up I gulped it down anyway. Time moves on. I learnt a bit about wine and, on reflection, that traditional bottle of Sherry that lived in the sideboard, gradually diminishing year on year, was well and truly knackered. Past it. Kaput. 

But traditions remain for a reason. And a little drop of Sherry when preparing food in the days before Christmas always lends an additional sparkle to the season. These days my Sherry of choice is an Amontillado – dry and savoury with toasted hazelnut and bitter marmalade notes. It’s a strong flavour and a small glass is more than sufficient. Though these days, I know to store it in the fridge once open, and enjoy it within a couple of weeks.  

Barbara Drew MW, Content Officer  

Festive abundance

Coming from a small family, Christmas for us has never meant a huge crowd.  Nonetheless, I’ve always felt that any sort of family gathering is better for having magnums on the table.  They not only look the part, but because magnums mature more slowly than standard bottles, they invariably drink better too. Champagne simply always tastes better from magnum, so that’s where we begin, and Berry Bros. & Rudd’s “UKC” Champagne ticks all the boxes. It makes a perfect apéritif, that you can keep drinking with the first course.  

Being a traditionalist, Claret often takes centre stage, and will usually be a Berry Bros. & Rudd stalwart such as Château Potensac or Château Cantemerle.  I branched out a few years ago with magnums of Rioja from C.V.N.E., which were a huge hit, and the quality-price ratio from Spain is fantastic. Rioja and Bordeaux have a shared compatibility with all the classic Christmas foods. They are rounded, generous and easy to drink, and even better poured from a big bottle.

Philip Moulin, Quality and Authentication Manager

A dram for a friend  

When asked to ponder an “old friend”, my whisky mind wandered through various dank dunnage warehouses and windswept distillery locales in remote, forsaken corners of Scotland. I also journeyed mentally back to the Amazon Rainforest where our Guyanese friends produce world-class rums, and to the arid highlands of Jalisco where plenty of Tequila was shared when I last visited.  

In the end, though, my meanderings settled not on a place, nor even a taste or aroma, but on a person: my dear friend and colleague Davy Żyw. I will be raising my glass to him this Christmas. For his tireless campaigning and fundraising for charities fighting Motor Neuron Disease. For his exquisite selections of Champagnes and Italian wines as a Buyer for Berry Bros. & Rudd. For all the pints we’ve shared in the Red Lion pub around the back of the office – his stout, mine bitter. And for our mutual love of Macduff distillery that led him to choose a whisky cask for us to bottle to aid his charitable endeavours. 

So, if you’re looking for a particularly special dram to enjoy this Christmas, I’d highly recommend Davy’s choice of 2002 Macduff – a truly resplendent whisky, raising money for a cause close to our hearts.  

Rob Whitehead, Spirits Buyer  

Category: Miscellaneous

Wishlist wines for Christmas


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Image: Alistair Jones

Ask any wine lover what their cellar would look like if money was no object, and they’ll likely be able to reel off a wish list from memory. In many cases, these will be truly outstanding bottles, not just for their rarity and quality, but for the memories and personal sentiments they inspire. We spoke to several members of the business, as well as some of our producers, to find out exactly what it is that they’re hoping to enjoy on Christmas Day – and why. 

Lizzy Rudd, Chair, Berry Bros. & Rudd 

Lizzy is always keen to highlight our sustainably minded producers. This Christmas is no exception, as she turns to biodynamic Bordeaux for a dream bottle of choice, alongside wines from some of the region’s most-lauded châteaux  

“My dream bottle would be a 1996 Château Lafite Rothschild. It’s not quite as old as the bottle from my father’s cellar that we auctioned recently to raise money for My Name’5 Doddie, but it’s a truly special wine nonetheless. For gifting to someone else, I think that magnums really make a perfect treat, as they can be shared and enjoyed with family and good friends alike. I am a huge fan of those producers following sustainable and biodynamic practices, and many Bordeaux Châteaux are now doing this excellently. Just a few months ago, I visited Château Latour, which would make a wonderful choice this Christmas.”  

Emma Fox, CEO, Berry Bros. & Rudd 

Emma has a penchant for one of the sweeter wines in our cellars – but prefers it at a rather different time of the day than is standard 

Château d’Yquem is a wonderful wine, and fabulous with a cheeseboard as well – but personally, I love this as an apéritif. And I’m not alone. In Bordeaux, the great sweet wines of Sauternes are often served before a meal, to whet the appetite. As well as being sweet, these wines also have huge amounts of flavour and acidity – both fantastic for waking up your taste buds. And whilst Yquem can age for over a century, it is beautiful when served young. This 2016 has intense flavours of honeyed fruit, chamomile and chocolate – a small glass, nicely chilled, will kick off proceedings nicely.” 

Sophia Bergqvist, Owner, Quinta de la Rosa 

As third-generation owner of Quinta de la Rosa in Portugal, Sophia Bergqvist is no stranger to tradition. Here, she looks back at her family’s history for a favourite bottle of wine 

“The wine that would be at the top of my list is the 1927 Quinta de la Rosa Vintage Port that my great-grandfather Albert made. I’ve been very fortunate to taste three bottles of it in my lifetime, and my father said there were another couple of bottles in the cellar. Just after he died, I found one of them – unfortunately, the cork had disintegrated so much that the liquid had completely dried out, so there was nothing in the bottle. So, anyone out there – if you have any 1927 Quinta de La Rosa Vintage Port, that would be my wine of choice.” 

Mark Pardoe MW, Wine Director, Berry Bros. & Rudd 

Mark has been lucky enough to try a multitude of wonderful bottles over the years. This Christmas, he’s turning to England, as well as his much-loved Burgundy, for his festive choices  

“It would be an unusual Christmas for me if celebratory fizz and red Burgundy didn’t make an appearance. This Christmas, I’ll be enjoying the Hambledon Vineyard Première Cuvée. This English wine is not to be thought of as a Champagne substitute, but as a brilliant, world-class wine in its own right. This is mostly Chardonnay, grown on deep chalk soils in southern Hampshire, not far from where I live. Superb quality, and low food miles! 

Another dream bottle would be any Burgundy from a vigneron with magic in their fingers – like Marc-Olivier Buffet, Virgile Lignier-Michelot or Arnaud Mortet. Burgundy has a reputation for priciness, but actually, although these can be hard to find, they are not necessarily the most expensive. All are capable of capturing the real magic of Pinot Noir.”  

Dean Hewitson, Founder and Winemaker, Hewitson 

Dean has only one answer when asked about his wishlist wine

“I think I’d have to choose a 1945 Latour!” 

Barbara Drew MW, Content Officer, Berry Bros. & Rudd 

Chardonnay is a fantastic choice for Christmas, says Barbara Drew MW, thanks to its food-friendliness. Her pick is from Ramey Wine Cellars, one of California’s most-praised wineries  

“I’m a big fan of a rich Chardonnay at Christmas. It is incredibly versatile alongside all the foods of the season, from poultry to oozy cheeses, and also works really nicely as a refreshing palate cleanser for the Chef. Whilst our Own Selection Sonoma County Chardonnay deliciously fulfils all these functions, and more, for a real treat I’m dreaming of the 2015 Westside Farms Vineyard Chardonnay

David Ramey makes wines which feel and taste indulgent, but balanced. They have the smoothness you’d expect of a Californian Chardonnay, with bright acidity and a fresh fruit character. This one from the cooler Russian River Valley region has plenty of honeyed, nutty flavours from ageing, and will be a true delight with a handful (OK, two – fine, three) of salted mixed nuts.”  

Geordie Willis, Brand Experiences & Creative Director, Berry Bros. & Rudd 

Amongst the many hats he wears, Geordie oversees our events and experiences team, and so has a different approach to his wine of choice – believing the glass itself, rather than the liquid, takes priority. Here, he highlights a personal favourite from our Wine Merchant’s range  

“Any wine tastes better when drunk from the best glasses. I am a particular fan of our Wine Merchant’s Burgundy glasses, which also work wonderfully for Barolo. Their wide bowl really brings out the aromas of the wine, while the rim is slightly fluted outwards – directing the flow of liquid to the palate, where its natural richness is emphasised.”  

Eva Fricke, Owner & Winemaker, Weingut Eva Fricke 

A rising star of the Rheingau, Eva Fricke keeps it short and simple with an all-time favourite 

“Oh, a red Burgundy from Frederic Mugnier. These are my absolute favourite wines!”  

Category: Miscellaneous

Own Selection Pauillac: a delicious festive wine


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If you’re looking for a reliably delicious Claret to enjoy around the Christmas table, our Own Selection Pauillac is perfect for the task. Olly Hallworth from our Buying team has a particular soft spot for it too. Here, he tells us more about one of his favourite Christmas wines.  

2020 Berry Bros. & Rudd Pauillac by Château Lynch-Bages

One of my favourite things about Christmas is sharing a few bottles of something special with loved ones. Most years, my dad and I seem to find ourselves down in the cellar sorting through some of the older bottles and opening anything we fancy. “Well, it is Christmas after all,” we say, and that seems to justify opening just about any bottle in the house.   

I am a huge fan of wine from all corners of the world, but there’s something about Christmas that makes me turn back to the classics. Our normal Christmas tipple will often take us through some of the most iconic regions of France, with the main attraction centred around a bottle of Christmas Claret. Other regions we sip through on the big day include Champagne, Burgundy and – if we’re feeling extra flashy – a bottle of Sauternes to finish. The only non-French bottle usually comes in the form of an old, cobwebbed bottle of Port from the cellar. Delicious!  

I have an unswaying devotion to serving a showpiece Claret on Christmas Day. When there is such an abundance of fine wine from around the world to choose from, I’m often asked why I stick to France and, in particular, Bordeaux. My answer is simple. It’s the same reason I visit Borough Market every Christmas, why I buy my festive cheese from Paxton & Whitfield and why, without fail, I watch The Holiday at least three times during the Christmas period. These have all been cemented in my family’s traditions over the years. Without them, Christmas would simply not be Christmas in my household – just as it wouldn’t feel right without a bottle of Bordeaux.  

With this in mind, what could be more fitting than enjoying a bottle from one of the Médoc’s most established names at your Christmas dinner table?  

Where is it from?   

Just north of Bordeaux lies the town of Pauillac. To the unassuming traveller, this quaint little town might not symbolise much. But for the well-versed few, Pauillac is one of the iconic postcodes in the fine wine world.  

It’s difficult to mention the exceptional wines of Bordeaux without mentioning Pauillac. Hosting three of the five First Growths, and just under a third of all Grands Crus Classés of the 1855 classification, it’s always been a leading light in the world of fine wine.   

This year, we have continued our long-standing partnership with Château Lynch Bages in Pauillac. It has officially been a part of the Cazes family since 1939. The property has always had a strong following; today, thanks to the hard work and innovation of the owners, it’s one of the most respected estates in the Médoc and a reference point for Pauillac.  

Perfect for the season 

There is a lot to like about this 2020 Own Selection cuvée. The nose is very pretty and perfumed, with a brooding mixture of cassis, blackcurrant, and wild cherries. The palate is incredibly generous, layered with unctuous dark berries, cedar and vanilla, thanks to some time spent in oak. The fruit here is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, but with an important supporting role played by Merlot, delivering a wonderful plumpness to the palate. It’s elegant, rich and approachable even now. It’s certainly one of my go-to reds for autumn and winter – the perfect wine to curl up with in front of a crackling fire.  

It’s also incredibly versatile. It’s very well structured with smooth tannins and plenty of fruit there too. Broadly speaking, it will work with most festive centrepieces. I’m personally looking forward to enjoying this with a stuffed saddle of venison or game.  

Buy our 2020 Own Selection Pauillac here

Category: Miscellaneous