Keeping it real After a few years of small harvests, demand for wines from Burgundy, in France, has outstripped supply, pushing prices to stratospheric heights. There are, however, still some quality wines from the region that offer value. One commune worth a look at is Pernand-Vergelesses, located between the hill of Corton and the eastern slope of the Côte d'Or. The appellation comprises 138 hectares, 57 of which are dedicated to premier cru, across eight vineyards. There are also three grand cru vineyards, namely those of Corton, Corton-Charlemagne and Charlemagne.
Pernand-Vergelesses is best known for its white wines, which are characterised by their minerally, stony character. Red wines, depending on location and vintage, may not reach optimum ripeness and may be a little austere, with high acidity and hard tannins.
Domaine Rapet is named after one of the oldest winemaking families in Burgundy, one that can be traced back to 1765. The house's current stewards are Vincent Rapet and his wife, Sylvette. Located between the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune, the domaine has 20 hectares of vineyards based around the villages of Pernand-Vergelesses, Savigny Lès Beaune, Aloxe-Corton and Beaune.
The Rapets' wines are known for their understated and restrained character. White wine grapes are fermented in barrels that are 30 per cent new oak. Wines undergo further ageing for 12 months before bottling.
Burgundy is notorious for its variable vintages, producing wines ranging from the sublime to the downright thin and disappointing. The year 2012 was no exception. The first six months were disastrous, as the region underwent severe hailstorms, decimating yields. The situation had improved by July, however, with warm, sunny weather, allowing grapes to reach optimum maturity. Master of wine Clive Coates writes, "Quality wise, 2012 has turned out, not merely 'all right' but really very good indeed, if not perhaps even very fine … The whites are fine, too. A vintage for the long term but a pretty good one."
Domaine Rapet Père et Fils Pernand-Vergelesses Les Combottes 2012
"Les Combottes" is a diminutive of " combe", a reference to the valley-like shape of the vineyard. The grapes come from young vines planted in the early 2000s. Wines are approachable and easy to drink.
Attractive citrus fruit with some floral notes. Quite a broad palate, with softer acidity and simple fruit notes. An easy-going wine ready to drink now. HK$304
Domaine Rapet Père et Fils Pernand-Vergelesses 1er cru Sous Frétille
The name Frétille refers to the location of the vineyard, under a 385-metre-high ridge.
Restrained, citrus, mineral notes. Tight structure, balanced acidity, with some spicy notes and finishing fairly long. HK$403
Domaine Rapet Père et Fils Corton-Charlemagne 2012
Originally planted with red grapes, Corton Hill was once owned by the Emperor Charlemagne, whose fourth wife, Luitgard, had the vineyards replanted with white varieties as red wine tended to stain the white beard of her husband. In 775, Charlemagne donated most of the hill of Corton to the Abbey of St Andoche, in Saulieu.
Restrained, mineral and smoky notes. A taut structure, powerful and elegant, with crisp acidity, discreet oak tannins and finishing very long. Still youthful and will benefit from further cellaring for another three to five years. HK$916
The wines are available from Kerry Wines Hong Kong kerrywines.com