One of many bottles that were consumed over dinner with legendary wine merchant, Noel Young, at the Three Horseshoes Inn, was a Vincent Girardin Santenay Les Gravieres Premier Cru 2009 that impressed me greatly with its juicy succulence of berry fruit and sheer drinkability. This is of course an attribute of the 2009 Burgundy vintage with ripe and plush red wines across all the appellations however, it surprised me that these wines have not gone into their shell at all yet, normally characteristic of red Burgundy after a couple of years in bottle.
Making short work of the bottle, Noel opined that the Vincent Girardin wines have improved immensely lately, citing that Vincent is actually no longer involved and that the last few vintages have seen a marked change in quality. The Girardin wines have generally offered correct, good value for money drinking in the giddy realms of Burgundy but had gone off the boil a bit.
Even though this wine is markedly flirtatious, it has lost none of its Santenay terroir and southerly firmness although clearly in different league from some of the more rustic wines of the appellation; this is a good deal more generous and fleshy with the characteristic deep colour and bright notes of violet and black berry fruits.
I’ve always found Vincent Girardin wines are dependable and normally affordable choice on restaurant wine lists (assuming the restaurateur has not applied extortionate mark-ups), particularly so in white wines but also Côte de Beaune reds. One of my favourite French restaurants, Brasserie Gavroche is a good example, providing affordability with a good representation of Burgundy on a concise bistro list using Girardin wines.
All that said, the southern red Burgundy appellations and lesser known regions like Santenay struggle in the popularity stakes against the northern Côte de Nuits however if you’re looking for genuine quality and value, the Vincent Girardin Santenay Les Gravieres Premier Cru 2009 delivers.