Saturday, June 6, 2009

Burgundy Report - Gilles Guerrin

We started our first morning by heading south to the Macon, about 45 minutes from Beaune. First stop was Gilles Guerrin, in Pouilly Fuisse. Gilles has two ranges - a "Tradition" range, vinified in stainless steel and a Cuvee Prestige range, vinified partly in oak. He also tends to put the older vines fruit in the prestige range. He has 3 wines in each range - a Macon Vergisson, a Saint Veran and a Pouilly Fuisse. So it is all nice and symmetrical, the way I like it.

He keeps these two families separate from each other in the cuverie, it is almost as if they don't get on, a little bit of family tension. We first tasted the country cousins of the "tradition" range and these wines are very straightforward, no-nonsense, down to earth examples of their type. Ronseal wines, they do exactly what they say on the bottle and they do it very well indeed.

We then went into the barrel room, which is a bit posher, but not much. You get the impression that that these wines have a bit of a superiority complex, little do they know that they will get blended with 50% from the tradition range for the final blend in any case. They are all a bit richer and smoother alright - the only one that maybe needs to lose a bit of puppy fat is the Pouilly Fuisse Vieilles Vignes.

We have always gone for the straight Macon Vergisson and Pouilly Fuisse and the Saint Veran from the Prestige range - this visit did nothing to suggest we should change; I still think they have the best balance in their respective appellations.

Overall, I was happy with the quality of the wines; Gilles has been a good source of reasonably-priced, well-made white Burgundy for a few years now and he continues to be on top of his game. Gilles is never exactly bubbly, but he was quite vociferous this year on how bad sales were all over - even local people weren't buying for communions or stuff that usually happens this time of year. We will have new stocks of wines from Gilles in the next few days...

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