“You taste and you taste and you taste until you see the light!”

How does one understand Burgundy? According to Jacques Lardière, who spent forty-two years as Louis Jadot’s technical director before officially handing the reigns to Frédéric Barnier in 2012, “You taste and you taste and you taste until you see the light!” It’s a deceptively simple aphorism that cuts through the usual wine jargon to underscore the essential truth that a wine can only be known through your senses – seeing the color, smelling the aromas, tasting the wine and experiencing how it feels in your mouth.

Sampling enough Burgundy to begin to know the wines requires a strategy for sourcing bottles that are both affordable and compelling. Wine from the high-integrity producers in Burgundy’s southern appellations, the Mâconnais, Côte Chalonnaise and Beaujolais, are an excellent place to start. The Domaine Leflaive Mâcon Verze is a chardonnay of exceptional complexity and finesse. The Domaine Francoise & Jean Raquillet Mercurey exhibits the classic wild strawberry and violet aromas associated with Burgundian pinot noir. The Cru Beaujolais of Stéphane Aviron are lucid expressions of vineyard site. When choosing wines from marquee villages on the Côte d’Or, the négociants Louis Jadot and Joseph Drouhin consistently offer value and quality, both are major landowners throughout Burgundy and leaders in organic and biodynamic practices.