An interview with Allen Meadows
JCL: Jeannie Cho Lee  AM: Allen Meadows 


JCL: What are the most challenging aspects about learning about the wines of Burgundy and what do you recommend as the most effective way of overcoming these challenges?  


AM: The most problematic aspects are learning the classification system and then distinguishing between many names that are similar but can connote huge differences in potential quality…..and price.  For better or worse, the only really effective way to overcome these challenges is to read one or two quality reference books and begin to commit the pertinent particulars to memory.  Another effective option is to attend one or two Burgundy 101 seminars where an expert can help beginners understand the nuances.  The good news is that even though Burgundy is complicated, it is also logical and once someone understands the basics, learning more about it is actually pretty straightforward.


JCL: If you were putting together a case of wine for someone new to Burgundy and wanted to show them the range of what red Burgundy has to offer, what would you include and why?  


AM: I would include at least two wines from the bottom of the classification system; possibilities would include wines from Domaine Denis Bachelet, Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg or Domaine Michel Lafarge.  I would then suggest village wines from Chambolle-Musigny, Gevrey-Chambertin, Nuits St. Georges and Pommard; all of these choices will provide an appreciation of the different characteristics inherit in these villages.  Then I would include two premier crus from so-called value areas such as Savigny-lès-Beaune and Beaune and then two from classic villages such as Volnay and Vosne-Romanée.  Finally, I would suggest two grand crus such as Chambertin-Clos de Bèze and Richebourg.  The total cost would probably be around $1200 though it should be noted that half of that total is from the grand crus.


JCL: Are there any trends (in viticulture, winemaking or styles) among top Burgundy (reds & whites) producers that we should be aware of? 


AM: Most really dynamic wine regions have many trends occurring simultaneously but the two main movements in Burgundy at present are biodynamic farming and a push for purer winemaking.  The greater awareness of farming’s impact on the environment and a winemaking philosophy that emphasizes less intervention can only benefit the quality of the wines in my view.


JCL: Do you see any differences in the appreciation for the wines of Burgundy between the American consumers and those in Hong Kong/China?  


AM: American consumers are a bit more sophisticated, primarily because there has historically been a much broader range of burgundies available to them compared to the main markets in Hong Kong and China.  This disparity is gradually diminishing however and may one day be erased completely because the wines of Burgundy marry especially well with many traditional Chinese dishes.  It wouldn’t surprise me if in 10 year’s time the wines of Burgundy rivaled those of Bordeaux in terms of popularity in Hong Kong.



’s book:The Pearl of the Côte – the Great Wines of Vosne-Romanée


About Allen Meadows


Allen Meadows, hailed as “the world’s foremost Burgundy expert” by acclaimed author Matt Kramer, the founder of . A site that first of its kind to offer specialized and exhaustive coverage of a specific wine region/grape and pioneered the on-line format, this highly respected and critically acclaimed quarterly publication has subscribers in more than 50 countries and nearly all 50 states. Subscribers have access to a fully searchable database of more than 50,000 of Meadows’ tasting notes with recommended drinking windows for present day vintages all the way back to 1845.
Meadows has published his first book, The Pearl of the Côte – the Great Wines of Vosne-Romanée , just released in July 2010. A 350-page expedition through Vosne-Romanée, the legendary region aptly referred to as “the Pearl of the Côte”, Meadows guides the reader through each of the grands and premier crus . With rich and fascinating historical coverage and detail, even Burgundy novices will reap pivotal knowledge. Pearl is only available through .

© Photos from / Allen Meadows