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‘People were afraid of Burgundy when I started,’ says broker Becky Wasserman

Burgundy has come a long way from the days when people feared Pinot Noir, but whole swathes of the region's terroirs remain underrated, says groundbreaking broker Becky Wasserman in the latest issue of Decanter magazine.

Becky Wasserman talks to collector Paul Chiu (left) and hedge fund manager Robert Lyster (right) during a trip for Burgundy enthusiasts in 2006. Image credit: Bloomberg/ Getty

Soaring consumer demand for certain grands cru Burgundy wines has left merchants with allocation headaches in recent years, but Becky Wasserman remembers when the region was not such hot property.

Pinot Noir was seen as a weak and temperamental grape when I started,’ said Wasserman, who is celebrating 35 years as a Burgundy broker and who has been lauded by none other than Domaine de la Romanee-Conti’s veteran co-director, Aubert de Villaine.

‘Burgundy had already been around but people were afraid of it,’ she told Rosi Hanson in an interview published in the November issue of Decanter, out this week. ‘It was still an era when commentators wanted big wines.’

After exchanging urban life in Philadelphia for the Burgundian village of St Romain in 1968, Wasserman became ensconced in the local winemaking scene and has ended up as one of its chief ambassadors – especially for those exporting to the US.

She founded export business Le Serbet in 1979, runs educational programmes for visitors to the region and is a ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre du Merite Agricole‘ for her work in promotion of Burgundy wines.

However, she believes there is still work to do. ‘I hope to continue to make the case for lesser-known Burgundies,’ she said. ‘My current thing is to get people to drink appropriately. ‘There are times for grands crus, but not at every meal. Pierre Morey [winemaker] does not drink his Meursaults every day.’

She also highlighted several of her favourite underrated premier crus, including Les Aigrots and Pertuisots in Beaune.
De Villaine praised Wasserman’s conversion to his native region. ‘Becky has understood Burgundy better than anyone else,’ he said.

Read Rosi Hanson’s full interview with Becky Wasserman in the November issue of Decanter. Follow this link to subscribe to the magazine.

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Written by Decanter.com staff

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