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Red Burgundy Starter bottle

Any recommendations for a ‘starter’ burgundy? I have had a few bad bottles in the past so interested to know what the good stuff is and how to buy it.
Thank you.

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Try Sylvain Pataille.



Thank you Stephen

I’m sure @Toby.Morrhall did an article on the main site (in response to complaints about TWS own brand red burgundy) about ‘where to start with Red Burgundy’ - something along the lines of starting near the top end of personal affordability, then work back from that point.

Unfortunately since the great website re-vamp, I now cannot find the article.

Stephen’s suggestion regarding the entry level Pataille is a good one. By coincidence last night I was drinking this 2017 Pataille bought May 2020 @ £22.50 ea. Wasn’t that good originally but has improved enormously with 18 months additional cellaring.

Domaine Sylvain Pataille, Bourgogne Clos du Chapitre 2017


Wot Lapin Rouge says.

Pataille is probably a decent bet. Though I think that (as Toby suggested) the very concept of a “starter bottle” is flawed in this context.

Don’t buy cheap Burgundy - it’ll put you off and will probably end up in a sauce or down the sink! Of course that MAY also happen with the more expensive stuff :grinning:

Basically, if you want to get into Burgundy, expect to spend a lot of money and have plenty of disappointments for every hit!


Hi Jack, I’d also keep an eye open for an old bottle of pinot noir that’s affordable, it’s often acidic in its youth but it ages quite beautifully giving you complex savoury flavours mixed with the fruit. Fixin, marsannay, beaune and hautes cotes de beaune are places you should find value.

That’s one of the great advantages of the wine society who offer aged wines at reasonable prices, where other merchants often double or triple the price. If you’re patient you should be able to find a bottle in the coming months. The wine society had a 2005 cote de beaune for around 35 pounds last year.

Wine bars like noble rot are also great, anything with some age that is reasonably priced is worth a try. I had a 2005 beaune there for 60 pounds two years ago that was outstanding, I can still taste it today. Once you have a taste of this, your passion should be fired.

Vintages are important too, many close down for years before they open up again. 2017 is a great vintage to explore in the last eight as it’s still open.

Pinot is expensive but it’s one of the best to age and express what it’s grown on.

Le vin c’est la terre ! :wink:


I had a bottle of this this week and it is lovely.

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You have asked three questions, a starter bottle, what is the good stuff and where can you get it.
I am interested to know which makers you have tried and found them to be bad. Also, which vintages did you buy and when did you consume them? This is an important point because red Burgundy often goes through a rough grumpy phase often after about 2-3 years in bottle and opens up after about 5-8 depending on the level.

You did not mention budget. Good Burgundy is going to be £35 upwards.
In my experience at an introductory level Bourgogne rouge/blanc entry level growers like Hudelot Noellat, Ghislaine Barthod, Pataille, Galeyrand, Stephane Magnien, Gachot Monnot,Caroline Bellavoine for reds, (There will are loads of others that I have not tried, I have only pulled out 3 or 4) But as a general rule good growers make excellent bourgogne rouge/blanc. Also do not overlook younger generation growers like Jean Guiton and Agnes Paquet.

Do be aware that if you want to buy en primeur most of the good stuff goes on allocation. These days even village level Barthod, Pataille, Hudelot Noellat and all the other very good growers too numerous to mention are hard to get. So often merchants who make en primeur offers are more generous to customers who have regularly bought from them each year and buy across the board and don’t just cherry pick. But with small crops and high demand buying en primeur is now getting more and more difficult for first time buyers entering that den of frenetic financial fray.

Once you have discovered a grower(s) whose wines you like then look at wine searcher.com for sources. But by that time you will know which merchants sell the wines you want. My experience is the well known specialist UK merchants are helpful and honest with their advice.

A mention of vintages may help you. Burgundy has had over the last 12 years or so a run of good vintages, although 2013 was a bit hit and miss. It is now not like the minefield it used to be. So if you get wines from a good grower the vintage need not be of critical concern. similar points can be made about vineyards. The well known vineyards are now highly expensive. Trust the grower more than any vineyard or vintage.


Mercurey, in my limited experience seems to be generally good for affordable red burgundy. TWS don’t have any for sale, Faively & Tastevinage labels are OK, looking at £25 to £30 ish.

Personally, I would absolutely 100% avoid anything from a UK supermarket, when the wine is made in large volume, to sell on the ‘name’ & quality suffers.


I should also add that TWS do a springtime E.P. Burgundy offer, most years. Often there are few mixed cases which would be a great place to start. Below was the mixed case for Feb 2021. But note the drinking window: 2027 to 2030.


Even as a relatively inexperienced (especially at the top end!) burgundy drinker I’d echo all of the above. I drink more red than white, and would recommend Pataille, Bellavoine and Fornerol for sub-£25 entry wines - though I’d agree that you probably need to drink more expensive bottles to determine whether any red burgundy matches your tastes, then drink down the price scales (ideally with the same grower).

The mixed cases at EP (Feb 2022 with TWS) are good, but do read the exact drinking dates for each wine. Sometimes you end up with a case in reserves with a window of “2022-2023”, but when you check it actually turns out that 2022 is the end date for one wine, and 2023 is the start for another - unless you have home storage this is a pain as you can only withdraw the entire case.


This one here - under learn and discover on the homepage. A very interesting read!



The Wine Society guide is very good, as is the Burgundy section in the oxford companion of wine, which you may be able to read online if you have a look around. One thing it alerted me to is that while most wine classified as bourgogne is from the bottom of the valley and suffers the issues described in the WS guide not all is. Some vineyards located above the cru vineyards is also designated bourgogne and so are priced more keenly. With the right wine maker these wines are light, ready to drink fairly young and full of fruit. Armed with this knowledge I came across this (Buy 2019 Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits, Les Dames Huguettes, P. & M. Rion Wine - Berry Bros. & Rudd) and having tried a bottle with friends - who all appreciated it - went back for a case. Yields are 40hl/ha. If you do decide to try it please let me know what you think.

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In addition to Pataille, the new vintage of Caroline Bellavoine’s Bougogne Rouge 2020 will be on sale soon. The 2018 was flamboyant, the 2019 a little restrained, and I think the 2020, midway between the two styles, is the best of the lot, and we have much more stock. I have found an excellent red Givry from an up and coming grower Desvignes which will be about £20-21 a bottle, available in good quantities, with a single vineyard Givry from same supplier at £26 or so, but this will be in quite small quantities. There is a 2019 red Monthélie from new supplier Changarnier at about £26. I am looking at a new supplier of red Mercurey but this will be £30 plus. So a few new wines in this category coming through soon. I have tasted one or two Hautes Côtes de Nuits but none impressed me, but will carry on looking.


I forgot to mention the new 2019 vintage of Nicolas Perrault’s 2019 Maranges Premier Cru Clos de Loyse which will be available from approx March onwards, supply chain willing. Even better than the lovely 2018 and 2017. There is a small amount of the 2018, £24 a bottle, available as I write.



This is all great, if potentially ruinous, news - thank you for the update.

I still hanker for the old Exhibition Monthelie, which was delicious. I think it disappeared from the range a few years ago now. Perhaps this will be a replacement.


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The first few vintages of Exhibition Monthélie, from Jadot, were excellent. Subsequent vintages were less consistent so we stopped. Changarnier is excellent, in a pretty, fine boned style, a junior Volnay. 2019 is already lovely. We buy some Monthélie from Bouchard’s own domaine which is good too and will appear when ready for drinking.


Thanks for the heads up, really looking forward to these now.

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£17-26/bottle wines from Bellavoine, Desvignes & Changarnier on web now





Do I spend my Burgundy cash on this, or wait until EP… The obvious choice is just to spend on both!