'Bespoke' Burgundy from independent growers in acclaimed appellations is necessarily quite costly in the 21st Century. 'Off-the-peg' offerings from skilful négociants are where value for money can still be found. As the name suggests négociants are traders, often buying options on wines before the grapes are even picked, and the best of them have rapid cash-flow and economies of scale that enable them to undercut the market from private producers. One such is Stéphane Brocard from whom we have now been shipping competitively-priced and very well-made wines for a decade. Based in Chenove with ready access to a network of quality-driven young wine growers in the Côte d'Or, Stéphane is particularly upbeat as the (relatively) bountiful 2017 harvest should provide some promising buying opportunities.
Stéphane's Bourgogne Aligoté, sourced from Domaine Fribourg between Beaune and Nuits-Saint-Georges, is a wonderful example of accessible white Burgundy. With delicate wild flower scents and a bracing citrus-edged palate it is a perfect palate-sharpening aperitif or partner to shellfish. His Chardonnay is equally reliable but has a little more weight and a richer orchard fruit palate offset by a fresh acidity. Completing the range is a well-balanced Pinot Noir with inviting red fruit scents and flavours and supple tannins. It drinks well from release with charcuterie or soft, creamy cheeses.