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Sunday, 20 April 2014

Two Red Burgundies from Private Cellar

A review of two red Burgundies from Private Cellar

I have historically struggled with Pinot Noir in general and red Burgundy in particular, for many years never quite seeing the point.

These two wines from Private Cellar, like divas in a flouncy strop, initially underwhelmed and refused to perform before finally, at the very last minute, stepping out to put on a proper show.

Private Cellar's wines are selected by MW Nicola Arcedeckne-Butler and both wines were instantly, recognisably classy, elegant and well-made - they just rather lacked something interesting and compelling which only emerged with time and aeration.

We first tried them straight from the bottle - older, more delicate wines do not generally benefit from extensive aeration - but in both cases here, however, they distinctly improved on the second day, even on the third.

Like flouncy divas the world over, they clearly just needed to be treated right to coax out a great performance.

Beaune 1er Cru Les Sceaux, Domaine Anne-Sophie Debavelaere 2009 (£21.96)

Pale red with aromas of soft ripe red fruits; elegant, pretty enough and delicate but somehow unconvincing straight from the bottle. It ticks all the boxes for fruit, balance and freshness - as well as for elegant sophistication - but seems to lack interest on the palate.

We decant it and find it improves, so decide to hold back to see whether it improves with time. The following day there is more going on, more of a compelling savouriness amongst the delicate soft fruit and gentle texture.

It seems to reach a peak and really make sense just as we are eking the last drops out on day three; it retains its earlier slight elegance, but now feels fuller and more savoury, more compelling.

Good to Very Good (by day 3).

Bourgogne Rouge Pressonnier, Domaine Joseph Roty 2008 (£16.00)

Darker in the glass, this has much more personality straight out of the bottle - farmyardy Burgundian nose and more assertive palate, with fresh, vibrant, ripe black cherry fruit and savoury underpinnings.

But, despite its age, it is still not yet fully knitted together; it feels youthful, excitable and unsettled, but at least I have more of a sense of where it's going, so once again we hold back.

The following day, it feels properly harmonious and integrated; the acidity has mellowed and blended in with the fruit and savouriness.

Good to Very Good (on day 2).

Match both wines with gamey foods - duck, game terrine, wild salmon. The Beaune is light enough to serve slightly chilled as a garden sipper on a hot summer's day.

Other related articles
Private Cellar Annual Tasting
Laboure-Roi Cote de Beaune-Villages, 2012 - Waitrose
Loeb Burgundy En Primeur 2011‏
Restaurant L'Alembic: Nuits St Georges

Private Cellar - website, twitter

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