Malcolm Jolley meets Burgundy wine trader Michael Stephens to talk about a difficult vintage.
Can you say a wine is a good deal if it costs $45.95? I guess it depends on the wine, but I bet a lot of people would pay much more than that for the Cedric et Patrice Martin Pouilly-Fuisse 2016 that Michael Stephens of Vins Divins let me taste recently. It’s a wine that seems to embody, as the great Burgundy whites do, a kind of Platonic ideal of Chardonnay, somehow showing lean and mineral, while also being rich and mouth filling. It was good, and peaked my curiosity: how does a negociant like Stephens find bargains in one of the world’s most expensive wine regions? Before we got into details for the video below, Stephens poured two more wines, also both from 2016, a vintage that was difficult and produced a shortfall of wines because of a massive spring frost. First, Domaine Mouton Givry 1er Cru La Grande Berge 2016, a beautifully elegant, yet lively, red fruit driven wine with a touch of salinity. Another bargain for Burgundy at $62.95. Then, Aurélien Verdet Nuits St. Georges 2016 which was concentrated and perfumed, with notes of violets among dark cherry fruit, and deep and light all at the same time. This was less of a ‘bargain’ at $104.95 a bottle, but man it was delicious. The serious work of tasting through, I set up my camera and trained it on him to find out how this Englishman ended up in Burgundy and what he’s learned in two decades or so in the wine trade there.
Can’t see the video? Please click here.