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Among many factors, one that I like most about Burgundy is that you can always have a nice Burgundy from your favorite producer every year, as they make readily enjoyable Bourgogne (and great value!!) as well as wines from their Village, Premier Cru or Grand Cru vineyards which require some cellar time.

But when is the golden window to drink the different types of Burgundy?

I have been researching to see if there is a “formula” on when’s the perfect time to drink. Clive Coates, the renowned Master of Wine who had studied Burgundy (and Bordeaux) for over 30 years, has nicely summarized for us. Here’s his take on the red:

  • Village red wines from Cote de Nuits, drink 5-12 years after the vintage
  • Village red wines from Cote de Beaune, drink 4-10 years after the vintage
  • Premier Crus from Cote de Nuits, drink 7-19 years after the vintage
  • Premier Crus from Cote de Beaune, drink 6-16 years after the vintage
  • Grand Crus, drink 10-25 (even 30) years after the vintage

The above formula is by no mean a hard rule though. Clives (and many of us) have had Burgundies that drink perfectly even way beyond the above estimated drinking window. Your personal taste matters the most here. As wine evolves and becomes mellower but less fresh over years, you should try them over time, experience its evolution and see what you personally like most.

Note that the “formula” above applies to 750ml bottle from normal vintage. Some adjustments are necessary: for excellent year, increase by 25% (so-so year, reduce 25%); for magnums, increase by 20% (half-bottles, reduce 20%).

We will talk more about vintage variation in our next issue. Stay tuned!

Written by Wine Monopole — October 15, 2012

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