17 AUGUST 1985, Page 42


The first two wines are in plentiful supply, in any case. Avery's shop around for their famous white house Burgundies, and it should not surprise us in the least that in 1983 they went to the Maconnais for this fine, fruity specimen, bottled in Macon Vire. The 1983 Macon Villages whites are so excellent — and so likely to prove our last taste of inexpensive white Burgundy for several years — that I would like to include at least one example in every offer until they have disappeared. However, claret drinkers are getting restive, so I had better announce that the September offer will be entirely devoted to clarets including a most unusual selection of the 1972 premier crus of Medoc and a premier grand cru of St Emilion whose prices will make everyone gasp. For August, claret drinkers must simply go to Bordeaux and eat lampreys, worms etc.

Avery's White Burgundy (1) is blander, with less acid, than the delicious Macon Clesse 1983 which I found in Cambridge

Richer and grander Burgundy

Auberon Waugh

for the June offer and which soon ran out. It will probably not improve much with keeping, but at the generously reduced price of £3.99 it is an excellent buy and I defy even the greedy Spectator punters to exhaust Avery's stock of over 500 cases. It will see the autumn out and be a very pleasant discovery in the cellar next spring.

The Château de Mirande (2), also from Macon Villages, breaks my under £4 rule at £4.38 but it is such a substantial and delightful example of the pure Chardonnay taste that I could not resist it. Shut your eyes and you would swear you were drink- ing something far, far richer and grander and more expensive. It beats all the pre- mier crus whites from Chablis and most of those from Beaune which 1 have tasted this year, and there is no faulting it. This wine, with its excellent balance between richness and acidity, will undoubtedly go on im- proving for several years.

The Cuvee Suzanne le Goux 1976 (3) marks the end of an era, being the last of John Avery's magnificent declasse red Bur- gundies, taken from the accidental over- production of famous single vineyards and labelled with names of his own invention. Since 1976 production quotas have been raised astronomically, with the shocking results we saw in 1982. This is a wine for really serious Burgundians since no pre- stige attaches to the name of Suzanne Le Goux, whoever she may be, and they have only my word for it that they will not be disappointed. I bought cases and cases of these declasse Burgundies when they were much cheaper two and half years ago; the Suzanne has now overtaken my other favourite, the Cuvee du Dragon 1976, to make one of the best wines in my cellar: deep, dark red colour, massive Burgundy nose and taste and all the characteristics of a famous grand cru except price. I had better not praise it too highly as only 39 cases are available, and they will be allo- cated on a first-come-first-served-basis. In any event £12 a bottle is quite a hefty price to pay on my own unsupported recom- mendation, but Avery's refused to reduce it any further and I will be happy to buy unopened bottles from anyone who does not like it at £10 a time provided they have not been left standing too long.

Avery's Fine Burgundy 1979 (4) at just under £6 the bottle is now in even shorter supply, with only 30 cases available, but after the amazing 1982 red Burgundy from Coulanges, in the Auxerrois, which I found last month at only £3.86, I imagine there will be no great rush for it. It is very much for drinking now, a healthy brick colour such as one sometimes sees in much older Burgundies from the Nuits, it starts as if it is going to be thin but half way through the bottle one realises one has a powerful, smooth and mature wine, despite its initial lower middle weight. My wife, who is no Burgundian, raved about it, rather oddly. Nobody could possibly dislike it Remoissenet's Pommard Rugiens 1967 (5) was a new experience to me. You do not see many 1967 Burgundies around, which may explain why wine merchants and other experts in the trade tend to mark it down. Certainly it does not have the richness of a 1966, but it has a grand old Burgundy taste, lacking only the depth to make it a great wine. The difference between Burgundies in this class is so small and the price differences so huge that one can never be certain at what point one is merely being extravagant and at what point one is paying for pretending to be richer than one is. I should judge the £14.16 this bottle costs just about falls within the bounds of sanity for anyone earning £20,000 a year or more, but poorer Bur- gundy fanatics would be better to ruin themselves on the Suzanne Le Goux 1976 which will remain at its present glorious peak for many years.