Simon Young, partner at Leeds law firm Clarion, explains why wines from Burgundy have a special place in his heart.
I am, admittedly, a bit of a petrol head and in 1997 I decided to build my own car - a Caterham 7. Working with a friend we spent about four weekends bolting together this sort of Mecanno set for adults and finished just in time for a drive to Le Mans in June with my girlfriend to watch the world famous 24 hours race.
A Caterham 7 is simply not built for touring. There are essentially two seats, an engine and four wheels. Directly behind the two seats is a very shallow and small ‘boot’. It took us several attempts to pack and repack a soft bag and mould it into the shape of the ‘boot’ to maximise its capacity. After each unsuccessful attempt more ‘non-essential’ items were removed which, as you can imagine, did not go down particularly well with my girlfriend who, to compound matters, had only agreed to the trip lured by the post Le Mans holiday in the beautiful French countryside.
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After much heated discussion the only offending item was a hair dryer. I suggested that a hair dryer was not an essential item for a 10 day trip. Needless to say, I have not made that mistake again and the hairdryer was stowed in the foot well alongside other essential items such as food and water.
“What has all this got to do with wine?” I hear you say. Well, it was during our tour of the Loire Valley that my love of Burgundy’s world renowned wines began. We first drove to Chambord and visited the stunning Chateau there. It was then on to Sancerre, Pouilly-sur-Loire and through the heart of Burgundy staying in the beautiful villages and towns of Macon, Vezelay, Beaune and Chablis.
I recognised the names and had tried the wines from most of these regions, but driving through Burgundy ignited a genuine interest in its wines which has remained with me to this day. Indeed, I even popped the question to my girlfriend during our stay at a very romantic hotel in the picturesque hill-top village of Vezelay. Thankfully ‘hair dryer-gate’ had been forgotten and she said yes!
Knowing my love of Burgundy wines, those nice people at esteemed wine merchant Bon Coeur Fine Wines (thank you Jamie Goodheart!) sent me a red and a white from the region. The white was a Saint-Veran 2014 by Terre Secretes located close to Macon, and the red was a Domaine Faiveley Mercurey 2014.
For me, white Burgundy is a wine best served very chilled on a hot summer day. Remarkably, our British weather recently served up such a day. I retrieved the Saint-Veran from the fridge, ventured out into the garden and asked my resident white wine expert, my wife Ness, to share it with me. We both agreed it was delicious; it was lemony and floral and smooth with a hint of vanilla.
My favourite wine of all is red Burgundy so I was really looking forward to trying the Faiveley Mercurey which we also opened on that hot Sunday afternoon. It, too, was superb. It smelt and tasted of blackcurrants and strawberries, with a spicy finish and had a very rounded smooth texture - probably best served with white meat, but great to drink on its own, as we did.
So, despite my Burgundy journey beginning with discord over a hair dryer, I became engaged in the region along the way and my wife and I were nothing less than harmonious in our agreement that the Saint-Veran and the Faiveley Mercurey were superb and an ideal accompaniment to a hot summer day. Hopefully, there are many more to come!
White Wine: Saint Veran ‘Vignerons Des Terres Secretes’ Burgundy France 2014, £12.99. Red Wine: Mercurey Rouge ‘La Framboisiere’ Domaine Faiveley, Burgundy, France 2014, £19.99
Contact: James Goodhart
Head of Private & Corporate Sales
Bon Coeur Fine Wines Ltd
Moor Park, Moor Road, Melsonby, Richmond, North Yorkshire DL10 5PR
T: 01325 776446