Burgundy can be an intimidating place. Its classification rules are complicated, and its wines often require precise and careful cellaring. Even for experienced collectors it can tricky to time the optimum drinking window, and getting it wrong can be disappointing and expensive.
But not all red Burgundy is so tricky. In Santenay, a town at the southern end of the Côte d’Or, Roger Belland and his daughter Julie make wines that are neither pretentious nor pricey. The Bellands use a cool, slow fermentation to preserve the fruit in their wines, and the results and friendly, attractive, delicious red Burgundies require little patience.
Belland’s wines drink so well upon release that we rarely have any around from back vintages. But in fact they age quite well, and today’s 2014 premier cru is an excellent example. We checked in on the wine last night, and it’s better than ever — beautifully formed, showing complexity without showiness.
In the nose the bright red fruits have softened — the flowers and berries remain but with a hint of cool, clean earth. The mouth is dense and smooth, with a sophisticated juiciness — no longer youthful but with attractive, silky tannins and a palate of raspberry jam and wild cherries. Burghound found it “deeply pitched,” “rich and seductively textured,” and with “good vibrancy,” and suggested 2019 as the prime year to open it — based on last night’s bottle he’s right on.
In a world of overwrought red Burgundies that need time and investment, here’s a slightly aged, drink-now cuvée for under $40.
Belland Santenay 1er “Beauregard” 2014
bottle price: $35
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