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Best Value Burgundy

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Wine enthusiasts love to wax lyrical about top-shelf Burgundy and precious pinot noir. With its trademark of elegance, only the red carpet will do when Burgundian winemakers release their latest vintage and serious collectors sip, swoon, and reach for the spittoon.

Along the boulevard of cherry-red beauties, there are some bottles for budding sommeliers that will impress the most demanding of cellar masters.

To help you discover the joys of pinot noir (vintage matters - pinot can’t be blended like in Bordeaux where merlot and cabernet can shine together), here are some suggestions that will pull on the purse-strings, without breaking the bank.

Pinotphiles on the hunt for a bargain Burgundy should try Louis Jadot Cote de Beaune Villages 2008 (£11.29, Sainsbury’s), from this excellent Beaune producer in the heart of the Cote D’Or.

While the fruit-driven wines from the 2007 harvest are pretty much ready to drink, 2008 is just hitting the shelves. Young and berry-delicious, this bright, food-friendly pinot has soft tannins and a gentle freshness.

An international star, family-owned Louis Latour boasts some of the best vineyards in Burgundy. Try Louis Latour Aloxe-Corton Premier Cru Les Chaillots 2006 (£27.99, Waitrose) - a seductive pinot from the family’s home town that ticks all the right boxes. Silky and well rounded with fine tannins and a glint of minerality, it’s ready to be uncorked.

For a rhapsody of fruit and exotic spice, try Beaune, Les Teurons, Premier Cru, Domaine Rossignol-Trapet 2007 (£33.40, www.bbr.com). Not quite ready to grace the table yet, this superbly scented purple fruit will taste even better with another year in a cool, dark corner.

Further south, a stone’s throw from the celebrated village of Chassagne-Montrachet (home to world-famous whites), pretty Santenay produces little gems such as Lupe Cholet Santenay Tastevine 2007 (£14.49, www.laithwaites.co.uk). A ripe, ruby red with delicious depth of fruitiness, a blossomy finish and hint of spice, this bottle is good to go.

A Burgundian grape escape wouldn’t be complete without passing through the Cote de Nuits in the north, and the celebrated village of Gevrey-Chambertin.

Supermarket giant Tesco has an exciting offering with its Laboure-Roi Gevrey-Chambertin 2008 (£16.99, Tesco). Partly due to the spicy character and higher acidity, the 2008 harvest needs a little more time to evolve. This robust, and yet elegant, pinot with a lovely intensity will bring pleasure to the palate for up to eight years.

For an easy-drinking, supper-party wine, try Cotes de Nuits Villages Domaine Gilles Jourdan 2008 (£18.49, www.corneyandbarrow.com). With summer berry compote flavours, a hint of violet and a fragrant finish, it’s a smooth, morello cherry charmer your friends will love.

Sainsbury’s is another keen contender with its Antonin Rodet Gevrey-Chambertin 2008 (£25.99, Sainsbury’s). Weighty with dense black cherries, a hint of tobacco and subtle tannins, it’s a perfect partner with roast chicken. For a bold red, try Gevrey-Chambertin Ostrea Domaine Trapet 2008 (£34.99, www.corneyandbarrow.com). Very smooth and moreish with lovely blackcurrant flavours, soft tannins, super length and fine structure, it’s worth decanting an hour before to let the flavours develop.

According to the experts, the 2008 vintage from the famous village of Chambolle-Musigny appears to be the bee’s knees. I can only vouch for this polished example from the previous vintage. Try Chambolle Musigny Vieilles Vignes Maison Roche de Bellene 2007 (£27.65 www.goedhuis.com). Garnet red, it’s smooth as a silk stocking with a lovely mouthfeel, good lingering length and freshness on the finish.

Holy of holies, if you’re looking for a Burgundy to lay down or invest in, The Bordeaux Index recommends Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 2008, Laurent Roumier (£64.09, www.bordeauxindex.com). Another star from the same village, your patience will be rewarded with this trophy red which will develop in the cellar for up to 15 years.

It’s not just the elite who can enjoy a taste of the good life!

Best buy

Enjoy a little bit of South African sunshine in a glass with Arniston Bay’s new-look wines, just in time for the Easter parade. Choose from Arniston Bay Chenin Blanc Chardonnay, Arniston Bay Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, and Arniston Bay Pinotage Rose (£5.99 each, Tesco) and a sneaky chance to win one of 50 UK coastal breaks. For more info visit: www.arniston-bay.com

Liquid news

A sauvignon blanc with your haddock and chips, or a merlot with your chicken tikka masala? Pairing wine and food can be a conundrum for anyone who buys wine, but help is at hand. April sees the launch of What Food What Wine? - a competition to discover the best vino to go with Britain’s top 10 dishes. With world famous sommelier Gerard Basset on the judging panel, alongside BBC Good Food wine editor Sarah Jane Evans, What Food What Wine? promises to give galloping gourmets and wine lovers a great excuse to try new wines with food.

For more info visit:

www.whatfoodwhatwine.com