Did Johnson drink Burgundy?


I was looking at the Aldi and Lidl websites the other day, wondering if either were selling legs of jamon, as in previous years. None to be found but I did come across the Aldi Christmas wines page. My local shop had a few, which I bought, including a 2008 red burgundy from Maranges made by Delaunay (12.5 £16). Premier cru on the label but in Burgundy that doesn’t mean very much – better than other wine from the village is all you could really say.

I’m not an expert on burgundy – although we’ve done several blogs – but even Geoff (aka Mr Burgundy, at least in Sutton Coldfield) had never heard of Maranges, although Dave (with whom I’ve shared several disappointing bottles from the region) had caravanned there. Local supermarkets have lots of overpriced, indifferent reds, he reported.

Anyway – what of the wine? Very pale, obviously pinot from the colour but not, unfortunately, from the nose which was just ‘generic grape’. Compare any New World pinot at £16. On the palate, some thinnish raspberry/strawberry fruit, easy to drink, quite savoury but little length. So, another overpriced disappointment which leads us onto Samuel Johnson who spoke of the ‘triumph of hope over experience’, actually in the context of, errr, second marriages but the observation still holds for wine buying. I was almost sure the wine would be a waste of money so why did I spend £16? Some over enthusiastic reviews, certainly. But perhaps also because the greatest wine I have ever tasted was from the region – a Chambertin by Rousseau – and I was hoping this this would be another one to remember, rather than forget.

The great thing about drinking a 12.5% wine is that you feel you can indulge in another glass of something else, in this case a Cotes de Ventoux, Les Amidyves 2007 purchased in 2009 from the vigneron’s shop across the road from our gite in Villes-sur-Auzon, just visible in the background on the linked website. Composition is 60% grenache, 40% syrah, cost €12 and 15%. The wine is big, spicy, as dark as the burgundy was pale but rather clumsy I thought, although not an obvious head-banger. No oak apparent and at least there was none of the jammy taste so common in Ventoux wines, something I’m not keen on. Tasted a day later it was exactly the same. Angie preferred it to the burgundy but for me neither wine was especially good.

(Geoff – this is definitely a three day wine, not surprising really at 15% ABV. Richard played the milkman and left a third of the bottle on the doorstep. No vacuum seal, just re-corked. It was lovely. Rich, powerful and all the clumsiness mentioned above had been smoothed out. Really nice glass of wine, no hint of sweetness at the finish, matched the steak superbly)


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