Behind the label with Bourgogne de Vigne en Verre

Bourgogne de Vigne en Verre (or BVV, for short) was co-founded by a group of small growers in the 1980s, in order to pool marketing resources and allow the growers to do what they do best: nurture vines to produce quality wines.

BVV Training

We were joined in the Zoom room by Virginie from BVV last week, to take us through a tasting of eight wines from Burgundy. She began the session by laying out the situation in Burgundy at the moment. It’s hard to sugar coat it: 2021 has been the most difficult vintage in living memory. Frost hit in April after a week of warm weather had brought forward bud break. This was followed by a cold and wet spring, which increased disease pressure in the vineyard. As a result, vinegrowers have lost 80-90% of the crop of white grapes. Yields for Pinot Noir are down 50%. Demand for the limited parcels of 2021 vintage Burgundy will be high, so we were more than happy to seize the day and enjoy the vintages we were sampling together!

Domaine Michel Briday Bouzeron Cuvee Axelle 2018

The 2018 vintage was good, both in terms of quality and quantity, and there is a mineral freshness in Bourgogne Blanc from that year. You could taste that wet stone character in this Aligoté, where it underpinned generous peach and pear fruit, notes of Granny Smith apple and a creamy texture. The use of oak is controlled: fermentation took place in 300 litre barrels for a touch of oak to add complexity and length without being overpowering.

Domaine Michel Briday Rully Blanc 2018

This was one of the standout wines from the tasting for me. Four parcels of fruit from across this old Burgundy appellation create a wine which perfectly reflects what the area is about. Large format oak was used for fermentation, adding texture. Then the wine was aged in used oak for a savoury character. I loved the layers on the palate: peach, buttered toast, vanilla…mmm.

Domaine Michel Briday Rully Grésigny 1er Cru 2018

If the village-level Rully is the gateway to the appellation, this Premier Cru is the destination. It showcases a two-hectare site planted with old vines which give a rich character and express sense of place. This wine has depth and elegance – something we can all aspire to! As well as the mineral profile we saw in the other wines from 2018, there was a complex blend of pear, green apple, toast, vanilla, struck match and toasted hazelnut. It reminded me of German Apfelkuchen, though that might just have been me!

Domaine de Montorge Montagny 1er Cru Les Chaniots 2017

This was a more savoury style of Chardonnay, where the fruit was more restrained. Fun fact here: the family who founded this winery used to be goat farmers. I think we’re all glad they decided to go on an adventure into wine!

Domaine Chofflet-Valdenaire Givry 1er Cru Clos de Choué 2018

I liked the floral perfume in this wine. It was complemented by notes of raspberry, red cherry, cherry pip and forest floor. Lifted acidity carried lots of gorgeous flavour through to a long finish.

Domaine Edmond Cornu & Fils Ladoix Vieilles Vignes 2018

This was a very generous wine with a lot of Black Forest gateaux character: ripe red fruit, blackberry, black cherry, cinnamon, with leather and clove. The wine spent 18 months in used oak for subtle, integrated oak notes – hence that sweet spice.

Domaine Edmond Cornu & Fils Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru ‘Les Valozières’ 2017

For times when only a Burgundy will do, I suggest you reach for a bottle of this. It’s just toweringly complex on the palate. This is what I noted down: black cherry, black plum, tomato leaf, clove, smoke, tobacco, truffle, cigar box. Very nice, indeed.

Domaine Jean Chauvenet Nuits-Saint-Georges 2018

This wine comes from a very small, family enterprise. The family domaine covers 10 hectares and they have three employees. I liked the brooding nature of this wine; it was also richer than the other reds we had tried. It had a tight tannin structure achieved by following an ‘infusion’ of the skins – a gentle technique to integrated tannins from the skins of the fermenting grapes into the wine.