Wine Press: Burgundy wines have so many guises and glories

womenmenTHERE’S a jokey cartoon that makes the rounds occasionally, supposedly illustrating the complicated thought processes inside a woman’s mind.

It’s an intricate network of nuts, bolts, wires and electric circuits, all cross-connecting and interweaving – and nothing seems to make sense.

All I can say is that whoever drew that hadn’t tried to get their head around the intricacies of French wine appellations, local terroir, hierarchies of classifications, labelling – need I go on? Believe me, a woman’s brain is simplicity itself compared to understanding the French wine system.

Take Burgundy wines. When I think about them my head hurts. Not because I’ve drunk too much of it, I hasten to add.

This region is a confusing little beast and no one column could ever do it justice.

However, I’ve found a helpful little guide – and very user friendly too.

Inside Burgundy: The Côte de Beaune is an interactive eBook to pop on your iPad, produced by Berry Bros. & Rudd Press.

Just for the photographs alone, this is a stunning addition to any wine enthusiast’s library.

Learn more about the famous wine-producing regions such as the Hill of Corton and Pommard – the people, the wines and the terroir.

Master of Wine Jasper Morris can be seen on videos walking through the vines; there are interactive maps which, with one click, take you to more detail on the vineyards and producers of individual areas.

He says: “I feel that over the last 30 years I have developed a body of knowledge and more especially a depth of understanding, of Burgundy that I want to share. If you open a bottle of Burgundy, or go to a tasting, if you visit the vineyards – you can add your own notes and experiences to mine.”

(It is available through the Apple bookstore at £14.99)

I’ve also been tasting Burgundy this week at Vinea on Albert Dock, under the auspices of the Liverpool Wine School.

Chardonnay and pinot noir are the classic grapes of Burgundy – with gamay making fruity wines in the southernmost Beaujolais.

Here’s one of each.

Domaine Gerard Tremblay, Chablis AC (£14.49) is pale lemon with the aroma of freshly cut green apples. It has cheek-pinching acidity with lime and citrus dash through your mouth with the cutting edge, and taste, of a wet steel knife. It is a refreshing, crisp, example of chardonnay from this northern part of Burgundy, where the vines gather their nutrients from ancient seabeds.

Domaine de la Plaigne, Beaujolais-Villages AC (£11.49) is a simple, no-nonsense ruby red wine from the gamay grape with strawberry jam on the nose and to taste. It has medium tannins. This isn’t a complex wine but is very drinkable.

Finally, one of the stars of the show, Domaine Heresztyn, Gevry-Chambertin AC (£45.99). A quality pinot noir, pale garnet with intense aromas of strawberries, herbs, and hints of old oak. Complex, concentrated and classily divine.

The wines are available from Vinea at

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