Chateauneuf
By George Stewart

With one of the smallest vintages in memory on hand, coupled with the immense quality of the 2016s, you’d be far from alone in expecting the prices this year to be pretty high. In all honesty Burgundy prices are usually pretty high to begin with so even if 2016 weren’t going to be pricier than usual you might still be looking for some alternative sources for your quality Burg.

Fortunately, we go to Burgundy each November and every year we are thrilled to find not just excellent wines from our favourite producers, but appellations emerging from dormancy, showing their true potential after playing second fiddle to the big names for so long.

Last year we stopped into a few domaines in the Côte Chalonnaise, tasted plenty of delicious wines in Savigny and Chorey but this year the real star of the show was found in the far more competitive Côte de Nuits.

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“With these magnificent Côte de Nuits rising stars, you may well find yourself in the vanguard of the next big thing.”

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It’s no secret that we are major fans of the wines of Berthaut-Gerbet and indeed in our report we mentioned their Echezeaux as a contender for wine-of-the-vintage. What is truly exciting about this domaine, however is the way Amelie Berthaut champions her home village of Fixin.

While the ultra-limited yields are likely to drive the prices skywards, the quality of the year has meant that those looking for top-tier quality can look to the lesser-known appellations of Marsannay and Fixin, which while badly hit by frost, made spectacularly powerful and age-worthy wines. The best producers in these regions are ones to look out for.

Just to the north of Fixin, and the final appellation of the Côte de Nuits, Marsannay is similarly emerging from a period of obscurity owing to the efforts of their own hometown-hero. When we visited Jean Fournier this year we’d already had the chance to enjoy their wines from other vintages, but we have to say that there was something truly special about the 2016s.

Both Marsannay and Fixin suffered from the same maladies that blighted quantity across the rest of Burgundy in 2016, but like the best regions they both made some of their best wines ever. The most exciting thing about the rise of these regions and others like them is that they bring much needed reinforcements to the beleaguered supply of fine wine in Burgundy.

What we're getting at here, is that if you don't get your top choices, or the wines you've bought each year because there simply isn't enough, it's not the end of the world. Look to these magnificent Côte de Nuits rising stars to fill the gaps in your cellar. They'll mature with the best of them and you may well find yourself in the vanguard of the next big thing. There's no better year to do so than 2016!