WHEN TO DRINK YOUR BURGUNDY

The following applies to a very good (but not great or super-concentrated) vintage, and to 75 cl bottles. For a great year multiply by 25 percent. For a lesser year take off 25 percent. For half bottles reduce by 20 percent. For magnums increase likewise.

Village red wines, Côte de Beaune

Start four years after the vintage. Drink over the next 6 years.

Village red wines, Côte de Nuits

Start five years after the vintage. Drink over the next 7 years.

Premiers Crus, Cote de Beaune

Start six years after the vintage. Drink over the next 10 years.

Premiers Crus, Côte de Nuits

Start seven years after the vintage. Drink over the next 12 years.

Grands Crus

Start ten years after the vintage. Drink over the next 15/20 years.

Village white wines

Start three years after the vintage. Drink over the next five years.

Premiers Crus

Start five years after the vintage. Drink over the next 8 years.

Grands Crus

Start eight years after the vintage. Drink over the next 10.

One word of advice: one of the silliest things I have ever seen written about fine wine – in this case the journalist was writing about Musigny – was that 'great wine should be great from the get-go'. This is absolute nonsense. Many wines, especially those from the biggest, most concentrated vintages, go through a period of adolescence, and during this period they taste far from great, especially to those unaware that the optimum drinking window may not open up for a decade or more. Meanwhile a more superficial wine may be all singing and dancing and get all the plaudits. Remember the story of the Ugly Duckling.