With a worldwide reputation for fine wine, Burgundy is notoriously complex as a region. Each winemaker’s labels are also marked by their exact place of origin (appellation), where the precise mix of climate and soil influence these compelling, expensive wines.
The Bourgogne villages run north to south and the four main white wine growing areas are Chablis, Cote-d’Or, Cote Chalonnaise and Maconnais. While it’s difficult to generalise, Chablis and the Cote-d’Or (the heart of Burgundy) signal designer price tags.
But it’s possible to find more affordable wines from the patchwork of vineyards across the Cote Chalonnaise.
Maconnais in the far south is one of Burgundy’s best value regions and Louis Jadot Macon Villages Blanc 2013, France (£11.99, Asda) is well concentrated with a lightly floral nose, well balanced appley fruit flavours and fresh acidity on the mineral-tinged finish.
One of the largest houses in Burgundy, Louis Jadot also own historic producers such as Domaine Ferret in Pouilly Fuisse in the Maconnais which reflect the quality and complexity of the wines from this tiny appellation.
Try Domaine Ferret Pouilly Fuisse 2012, France (£25.99, www.oxfordwine.co.uk) which is beautifully balanced with a blossomy nose and vanilla, honey, pear and apricots tinged by spicy, nutty nuances and an underlying minerality on the elegant finish.
A slightly different style from the Pouilly Fuisse, Louis Latour Vire Clesse 2013, France (£15.19, www.spiritedwines.co.uk) is unoaked with good concentration of fruit with pretty white-peach aromas – and the soft, round, white-fruit flavours persist and build on the long, fresh, minerally finish.
Discount supermarket chain Lidl continues to embrace the luxury wine arena with the launch of 36 new wines across the classic regions of France; notably with a classy white from Rully in the north of the Cote Chalonnaise which offers great value for money. Try Rully Bourgogne, Domaine Gaspard Perret 2013, France (£10.99, Lidl) which has expressive, fruity aromas, tropical fruits on the delicate palate, a hint of hazelnut and well balanced acidity.
Further north in the small village of Pernand-Vergelesses in the Cote de Beaune (southern half of the Cote-d’Or), wines such as Sylvain Loichet Pernand-Vergelesses Blanc 2011, France (£17.95, Asda) can be a real bargain when you want to enjoy a softly textured palate of orchard fruits with mineral notes and discreet oak influences on the lengthy, fresh finish.
Meanwhile, wine merchant Laithwaites can be relied upon for sourcing a classic white Burgundy from one of the best addresses in the region that’s less than £25.
Clos wines are from a single walled vineyard within the estate and while Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet Clos du Chateau 2012, France (£24, www.laithwaites.co.uk) is entry level, it’s still complex and elegant with a honeyed finesse. Floral aromatics lead to ripe, creamy flavours of apricot and peach with balanced acidity on the toasty, nutty finish and there’s enough richness to put you on the first rung of the ladder.