Burgundy is not the first place that comes to mind when seeking out excellent wine under $25, particularly when it comes to red wine. Beaujolais, yes. But the Côte d’Or? This has become famous as the land of the unattainable, where unicorns roam free and mere mortals are left to gawk at their splendor—and not necessarily partake in it. That, of course, is not to say that there isn’t value to be had in both the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune, as well as the Mâconnais and Côte Chalonnaise. It’s certainly there, but amidst Burgundy’s rise to become the most sought-after region for collectors, the baseline for price for all of the wines has steadily crept up.
Add that to the fact that many of the Burgundy’s best producers have begun to consider their Bourgogne Rouge—traditionally the cash-flow workhorse—a calling card, or introduction to their house style. That means lower yields, better sorting and, overall, wines that are more than just everyday drinking pinot noir, with the price tags to prove it. Which leads us to this month’s burning question: Where is all of that sub-$25 everyday drinking red from Burgundy? And can it stack up against its relative to the south, Beaujolais, or even the Loire—another breeding ground for excellent wine in this price point—when it comes to value?
Finding twelve wines from producers whose methods and points of view align with the goals of this column was hard enough. Have $30 to spend? You’re working with a much wider pool. But corralling 12 reds (white Burgundy is a somewhat easier task in this price point), excluding Passetoutgrains, under $25 took some heavy sleuthing.
We came up one shy of a full case of wines under $25 to taste blind, all chosen because they represented well on paper (more about our process via our inaugural column), and ended up with four that we’d happy put up in a head-to-head with value wines from just about anywhere.
For the tasting, we were joined by Thomas Pastuszak, wine director at The NoMad Hotel; Ashley Santoro, wine director at Narcissa; Jon Bonné, PUNCH’s senior contributing editor and the author of The New California Wine; and Zachary Sussman, PUNCH’s New York wine columnist.
Without further ado, the wines:
Fanny Sabre Bourgogne Rouge 2013 | $24
One of Burgundy’s most forward-thinking winemakers, Fanny Sabre is among the few who take their Bourgogne Rouge this seriously and still price it affordably. Our neck-and-neck favorite with Guillot-Broux, this is whole cluster in all of its spicy, textural glory. Full of sweet spice and menthol with enough grip to stand up to all of the fat you can throw at it. Importer: Avant Garde Imports [Buy]
Maison Guillot-Broux Mâcon Rouge 2013 | $20
This small estate is located across three appellations in the Mâcon, with the majority of the holdings centered in the tiny village of Cruzille. Sourced from vineyards that have been farmed organic since the 1950s, Emmanuel Guillot-Broux’s wines—he makes pinot, as well as chardonnay and gamay—are among the best values in the region. The more brooding counterpoint to Fanny’s Bourgogne, this is full of darker brambly fruit, tar and pepper. Importer: Savio Soares Selections [Buy]
Edmond Cornu Bourgogne Rouge ‘Les Barrigards’ 2013 | $24
Edmond Cornu has long made sturdy, fruit-forward perennially crowd-pleasing pinot noir. Barrigards is a single-vineyard bottling from Chorey-Les-Beaune that is all about that sweet spice, backed up with plenty of black cherry and old-school rusticity. Importer: Rosenthal Wine Merchant [Buy]
Domaine Thevenet et Fils Bourgogne Rouge ‘Bussieres Les Clos’ 2013 | $24
The ubiquitous value Bourgogne Rouge, Thevenet’s is one of the most widely available of the wines we chose, and for good reason. While not quite as complex as the other in this crew, its got that nearly jammy berry fruit, touch of earth and funk and plenty of acidity. This is the kind of bright, high-toned pinot noir that just about anyone would be happy to slam back. Importer: Rosenthal Wine Merchant [Buy]