LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Wine-lovers are buying Burgundy wines en primeur at the moment. France's Bordeaux region may be best-known for selling wines before they are bottled and released for wider public sale, but many winemakers in Burgundy also sell their vintages en primeur. London-based independent wine merchant Flint Wines (www.flintwines.com) specializing in Burgundy offer their top 10 tips for buying en primeur. Any opinions expressed are those of Flint Wines. Reuters has not endorsed this list:
1. 2009 is a great vintage to buy the generic and village wines. In the best vintages these wines always flourish and they are exceptional this year. Prices are good, too, as the increases this year have tended to be on the wines further up the scale.
2. Nuits-St-Georges has really performed well in 2009. The naturally mineral, slightly austere style of the appellation works beautifully with the lusciousness of the vintage.
3. For white wines try and get hold of a map of the vineyards. In a rich vintage such as this, those vineyards on very stony soil or on the higher parts of the slopes have really blossomed. The minerality and vibrancy of their wines has helped to lift the naturally rich fruit flavors of the vintage.
4. The seductive character of the red wines will mean that, as well as having the capacity to age, they will drink well in their youth. This makes them perfect wines for those in the early stages of building a cellar.
5. Remember that many of these wines are made in minuscule quantities, some as little as 50 cases for the whole world, so be decisive when buying as they won't be around in a few months.
6. A new generation of ambitious winemakers have "sexed up" previously ignored appellations such as Marsannay and Rully, yet they are still selling at prices based on old reputations.
7. Follow growers as a good grower will often make a better wine from a lesser vineyard than a poor grower from a better vineyard.
8. If you are looking to buy wedding or christening presents for godchildren buy your chosen wine in magnums. They age better and arguably even taste better, too. They are great for grand occasions and generally the supplementary charges are minimal.
9. If a young grower doesn't have any top vineyards in his portfolio he will have to work that bit harder with what he has to establish himself. This often results in wines performing well above their station, offering great quality/price.
10. Christophe Coillot's Fat Head (Grasses Têtes) Marsannay 2008 is being lapped up by London's top sommeliers but his 2009 version tops it. However, he might just have another in the yard even better!
Editing by Paul Casciato