There is an old wine trade requirement to answer the question, "How much do I have to pay for a decent bottle of Red Burgundy?" with the snappy response "300 quid: £275 for all the disappointments and £25 for the good bottle you eventually find." The good news is that standards across the region have never been higher - and a guarded hooray to that - but you still have to watch your step. Burgundy is not a place to look for bargains: evidently cheap lines should be avoided like a dalek with a hangover.
Our selection consists entirely of examples from individual growers, each a specialist within his or her district and all making finely tuned wines particular to and characteristic of their appellations.
When you find growers like Francois Lumpp (Givry's finest) who gets it very, very right and it all comes together like a velvet poem, Red Burgundy simply has no equal. The other side of the same coin features the beguiling imprint of what, to its many fans, provides about as much fun as you can have with your trousers still on: White Burgundy. Although Chardonnay is the world's most widely grown grape variety with great examples from several countries, it is in this small area that it reaches its peak. From the crisp minerality of Chablis to the north through the richer glories of the Cote de Beaune, south to the Cote Chalonnaise (and the extraordinary Francois Lumpp again), and on to the happy hunting ground of Macon, all this is crammed into an area that would barely merit a dot on a map of Australia.
The seductive wines of the Manoir du Carra, an estate in the hands of the Sambardier family for generations, reflect the granitic geology with minerality and incisive perfume. This is a grower making top class Beaujolais.