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...More White Burgundies

 

MOREY-COFFINET
This small property is the work of Michel Morey, whose wife's family is the "Coffinet" part of the family tree.

With holdings in Chassagne-Montrachet, we've been delighted with the red wines made by this domaine.  

 
 

Thibault Morey.
 

Unusually good is their entry-level Bourgogne Blanc.  Few winemakers devote much in the way of oak to this level of white Burgundy, but Morey-Coffinet's shows a whiff of wood.  The 2012 has a bright, stony, minerally edge to it which we like quite a bit.  Nice richness, too.

Also from the 2012 vintage we have a stellar Chassagne-Montrachet which is a beautiful example of Morey-Coffinet's style. It comes from a site called Les Houillères and this is a small patch of vines at the northern part of Chassagne not far, actually, from Montrachet.  It's a south, southwest-facing site.   Morey-Coffinet's wine is a classic white Burgundy showing toasty and smoky notes and a minerally, stony character.  It's crisp and bone dry, of course.  If you're interested in tasting what White Burgundy is all about without dropping a few hundred bucks on a trophy bottle, check out this wine, please.
Well...sold out now...
 
 
 
 
 
We recently tasted the 2012 Premier Cru of La Romanee.  
Now this is a grand vin!
It is a showpiece of both White Burgundy and Chardonnay.

Morey-Coffinet owns about 2 acres of La Romanee and has made a wonderfully intense White Burgundy, using about one-third new oak for the wine.  The vintage produced a smaller-than-normal yield and the wine spent a tad longer in wood than normal, apparently, as the malolactic fermentation took more time than usual to finish...the resulting wine has great fragrances of pear and peach-like fruit, with perhaps a touch of apricot.  Add in the spice notes from the oak and lees time and you have an exceptional wine.  Don't miss this.

 


Currently in stock:  
2012 Bourgogne Blanc $29.99
2012 Chassagne-Montrachet "Les Houillères"  Sold Out
2012 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru LA ROMANEE  Sale $74.99


MICHEL NIELLON

niellon.gif (14636 bytes)Owning something like 5 hectares of vines, Michel Niellon is an exceptional winemaker. We are periodically fortunate enough to receive some bottles of his glorious white Burgundies. His wines, noted for their intensity and richness, are almost oily in texture. The real proof is that in so-called "smaller" vintages, this fellow's wines are terrific.  

 
 
 


Niellon is a master winemaker...his wines always have style and we've never been disappointed, so we routinely try to have some of his wine in the shop.





Currently available:  
2013 Batard-Montrachet $359.99 

2012 Chassagne-Montrachet "Maltroie" $99.99


 
 
 
 


RAMONET
ramonet.gif (16553 bytes)The Ramonet family is the "first family" of Chassagne-Montrachet.   They routinely make exceptional wines for which there is great world-wide demand.   With something like 14 hectares of vineyards, brothers Nol and Jean-Claude have assumed the reins from Papa André.  We are big fans of their red wines, though the enterprise is known for the Chardonnays.

The wines are started in some sort of neutral tank such as stainless-steel before being transferred into cask.   They use about 35% new wood for their premier cru wines (more for the grand cru level bottlings) and it's from Chatillonais and Tronçais oak. While many Burgundian winemakers stir the lees, Ramonet does not. They do, however, leave the wine in contact with the lees for a lengthy period.

Honey and hazelnuts are the typical notes one finds in a Ramonet Chassagne. The wines have a subtle quality about them, yet there's an underlying power and weight to these wines. Undoubtedly, this is a result of old vines, small yields and meticulous vinification. The Ramonets consider vines of less than 18 years to be "young" vines!  


I read an amusing article about this crew.  They shun the spotlight and are not keen to have visitors.  One the Ramonets is standing in front of the winery, having an appointment with a visitor.  A woman arrives for her rendezvous, only to be told the fellow she intends to meet had other business and is not available after all.  The funny part was, of course, the appointment was with the very Ramonet brother who brushed off this visitor! 

A friend told me of arriving for an appointment with a famed vigneron in another village.  The fellow told this trio of American visitors he couldn't see them, as he had an appointment or business elsewhere.  He jumped in his car and drove off.  They were curious, so they jumped into their chariot and followed him.   All the way around the corner and back in front of his winery.  He got out and returned to his work (or whatever), apparently happy that he avoided  another appointment with "foreigners" or "customers."
 

Currently available:
Sold Out



HENRI BOILLOT
Some people describe this terrific domaine as being run by a perfectionist and given the wines we've tasted, we're inclined to agree with that notion.

Henri Boillot had been working at the family negociant business before taking a leave of absence to pursue his own winemaking enterprise.  His own wines so impressed his grandfather, that gramps asked him to return and make the wine for the family domaine.  He did and in the process, bought out the sibling's shares to again have full control over his own winery.

He changed the name from Domaine Jean Boillot and these days you'll find wines labeled as "Henri Boillot" (for the non-estate wines) and "Domaine Henri Boillot" for wines coming from his own 14 hectares of vines.  The former are produced in a cellar in Meursault and the "domaine" wines are vinified in Volnay.  

Despite the two different cellars, the wines are handled identically, whether from their own vines or from purchased fruit.  

These days Henri Boillot is joined by his son Guillaume in making the wines.  They are insistent upon no pesticides or herbicides are used in the vineyards.   Vineyards are pruned to produce small yields.  They try to pick late to have greater hang-time and slightly riper fruit.   Once the Chardonnay grapes have been gently crushed, the must is then cooled to around 45-48 degrees and the juices is fermented in a barrel that's larger than the normal sized barrique.  It's a 350 liter barrel rather than the typical barrel used in Burgundy which is 225 liters.  Boillot believes this allows the wines to better show their character and "terroir."  Whatever he's doing, he's doing it right!


The wines undergo a full malolactic fermentation and are bottled after about 18 months in wood.

Very fine.  Beautiful nose with some apple/pear tones and just a touch of oak.  There are stony elements, but as soon as you take a sniff, you'll sense you're tasting the work of a serious vigneron.  This is classy White Burgundy.

As an aside, we had tasted a really good Meursault from another well-regarded grower.  Winner.
Then we tasted the Henri Boillot wine...even better!  In fact, the sales rep said he probably shouldn't show the Boillot wine when he's showing the wines of other (good) Burgundy domaines.  
"The Boillot wines always outshine the others." he explained.

We are not surprised.

Currently in stock:  HENRI BOILLOT 2013 MEURSAULT $54.99

 


 

 




BONNEAU DU MARTRAY
bonneau_du_martray.gif (6777 bytes)2004 Corton-Charlemagne (list $150) SALE $139.99
2007 Corton-Charlemagne (list $150) SALE $129.99
This famous domaine is run by the Count and Countess Jean le Bault de la Morinire.   The property has been the possession of René Bonneau du Martray, the uncle of the countess.  The property consists of 9 hectares of Corton-Charlemagne and two hectares of Corton.
The Bonneau du Martray wines are the standard by which other Corton-Charlemagne wines are judged.  However, they take years to blossom, so drinking a three or four year old wine would be a bit premature. 

The Chardonnay starts its fermentation in stainless steel before finishing its fermentation in wood.  One-third new Limousin oak barrels are used, one-third are second year barrels and the rest are third year cooperage.  After nearly a year the wine returns to stainless steel for another six months to await bottling. 

The 2004 is marvelous and has great potential.  There's an appley aspect to the wine presently, with some steely notes.  It's dry and crisp and will only improve over the next five to eight years as it becomes, truly, "grand."

The 2007 is a baby...but refined and poised to be a grand bottle.





CHATEAU de PULIGNY-MONTRACHET
This property was taken over by a bank, the Caisse d'Espargne back at the turn of the century, or thereabouts.  It's a lovely estate, with some 20 hectares of vines, 2/3s of which are in Chardonnay grapes.  

Management of the firm was then assumed by Monsieur Etienne de Montille, a famous name from nearby Volnay.  We found the wines here to be of very fine quality.
Etienne brought the domaine back to life and finally in 2012 he and his sister, Alix de Montille, purchased the estate and have been running it ever since.

 
 


The simple "Bourgogne Blanc" is a really good indicator of the style and quality of wines you'll find here.  It's called "Clos du Château" and it comes from a single parcel of 5 hectares that's right in front of the chateau.  This is right on the border of Puligny Montrachet, so it's a terrific entry-level wine to the world of Pulignys.
The fruit is hand-harvested and the juice is pressed immediately and they figure out how hard to press dependent upon the vintage.  After a short period of settling the juice, it's transferred to wood.  Some of the cooperage holds 600 liters and some 228 liters.  New oak is scaled according to the vintage as well, ranging, as we understand it from 5 to 20 percent.  Light toast.  Allier oak.
The 2013 doesn't seem to have much in the way of wood...it's a mildly stony dry white.  We might prefer a bit more wood, but that's just us.  The wine sells quite well with many bottles leaving the shop with people who had one previously and have returned for another.  That's a good sign!
 
We can special order their other wines, if you like.
The range is impressive...





I asked Etienne's son Louis to pose for the camera in the vast barrel room.  The little fellow was more than happy to oblige!
Currently in stock:  2013 "Clos du Château" BOURGOGNE BLANC SALE $29.99


MICHEL GROS

Michel Gros is a highly-regarded winemaker and he works in all phases of his domaine.

The photo above shows him at a trade tasting event in France in 2016 and, as you can see, he's pouring red wine.  His estate's vineyards tally to about 26 hectares if we've understood the various vineyard plantings correctly.  

Only 12% of his vineyards are planted to Chardonnay but when you taste his "simple" Hautes Côtes de Nuits, you'll think this guy is an old master at white wine.  This is such a fabulous bottle of wine, it puts to shame so many whites from places you expect to have great White Burgundy.  Chassagne?  Puligny?  Meursault?  

The vineyard for this are about 20+ years of age.  The grapes are hand-harvested and the juice is settled briefly before he starts the fermentation.  If we understand correctly, the fermentation begins in tank but then, when it's two-thirds completed, this goes into oak barrels.  Twenty percent of the wood is new.  They stir the wine when they top up the barrels, which is fairly often at the outset.  
 

 

 

 

 

POMMIER

Denis & Isabelle Pommier started their winemaking adventure in 1990 with a mere two hectares of vines in Chablis.  They're in the village of Poinchy, a few minutes by car from the town of Chablis.

In those early days, we gather they sold the grapes, but by 1994 they were able to vinify some of their own fruit and bottle some wine.  Things have gone well for the couple and today they have something like 18 hectares.

They started out farming sustainably (everyone seems to say this, don't they?), but these days the domaine has been certified as farming biodynamically.  And they are vigilant in the vineyard so yields are rather modest in an effort to ramp up quality.
 
 
The juice is fermented employing indigenous yeasts.  The wines are matured in tank or cooperage and the top vineyard bottlings spend perhaps 18 months before bottling to stabilize (settle, clarify, etc.)

We tasted a terrific range of wines with the Pommiers.  Everything was, in fact, quite good and well made.

Currently in the shop is their 2013 Chablis Premier Cru "Fourchaume."  They have one hectare in this site and the wine is nicely showy. This does see a bit of wood before bottling...

 
 
There's a nicely smoky and toasty element here and it's rather full-flavored in deep.  On one hand it's perhaps a bit more robust than typically nervy Chablis and yet on the other the wine is snappy and youthful.  Very fine now, you can probably give this a number of years of bottle aging.  But you'd have to have more will power than the average bear, since it's so attractive right now!

Currently in stock:  2013 POMMIER CHABLIS 1er Cru "FOURCHAUME"  $41.99

 



 


 

DOMAINE JEAN-BAPTISTE PONSOT
The name Ponsot is actually quite well-known amongst Burgundy aficionados.  

They are famous for their slow-to-mature Morey-Saint-Denis and Gevrey-Chambertin wines.

Well, this Ponsot domaine is not related to the red wine-Ponsots of the Cote de Nuits.  
This estate is located in the Cote Chalonnaise, just south of the Cote de Beaune.  

The Rully appellation is about 6 miles from Chassagne-Montrachet and comprises the towns of Rully and Chagny.  The appellation has been the source of some good sparkling wine, though more recently it's well-regarded for its white wines.  In fact, today about two-thirds of the vineyards are planted with Chardonnay and one-third devoted to Pinot Noir.

Jean Baptiste Ponsot has been running the domaine since the early 2000s.  They currently farm 7.5 hectares of vineyards and he told us in 2011 he expects to purchase another hectare nearby.  Vineyards are not farmed biodynamically, but "lutte raisonnée" (leaning towards organic farming).




Jean Baptiste Ponsot

 

Chardonnay is cultivated on clay soils and Ponsot's white wines are quite good.  We found the wines we tasted in Burgundy to be good and the wine that's arrived here in the summer of 2011 is even more showy.    Perhaps this is a result of the boat ride to the west coast or, simply, a bit of time in bottle.

The Rully Blanc is easily identifiable as "white Burgundy."  It's got a nice appley fruit character and a pleasantly minerally, stony note.  Sure. this is not a Montrachet or Corton-Charlemagne, but it's not priced in those lofty neighborhoods, either.




The 2013 was fermented entirely in oak barrels, with about 25% of the wood being new.  The oak is nicely in the background, so the balance of fruit and wood strikes us as just right.   It's showing magnificently right now and should be fine for a couple of more years.  We find it comparable to wines from much more famed and expensive appellations in the area of Puligny and Chassagne Montrachet...yes, it's that good!

Currently in stock:  2013 PONSOT RULLY BLANC  $27.99


Yes, they make a couple of 1er Cru wines...

 



 

JOSEPH DROUHIN

Over the past few decades, Burgundy has become a remarkably complicated maze for most wine drinkers to explore.  

It used to be easy:  The names of the various villages or bus stops were well known and all you had to do was find a reliable "shipper" (the various negociant firms were called 'shippers' by the old-timers) to buy a decent bottle of wine.

The famous names were those such as Bouchard, Louis Jadot, Faiveley, Patriarche, Mommessin, Coron Pere et Fils, Pierre Andre, Moillard, Louis Latour and Joseph Drouhin.

The firms dominated the Burgundy market, buying grapes and sometimes wine from small growers who were thought to be too small to compete with these big companies.  The big houses could dominate the market, dictating prices for grapes during the harvest and for wine post-harvest.

But years ago a number of small growers began bottling their own wines and, over the years, more of these little companies have decided to stop selling fruit and/or wine to the large houses.  This caused some issues for the big guys.

Drouhin is still a family-operated company and I'd bet most Burgundian growers and vintners have the utmost respect for this winery.  They've been good about being a serious ambassador for Burgundy, traveling around the world to meet & greet trade partners and consumers.   And they helped put Oregon on the world's wine map when they purchased a property there and set up a thriving winery in the Willamette Valley where they make some very good Pinot Noir.

We've long been friendly with the Drouhin family, having first visited their Burgundy cellar in Beaune decades ago.  The wines have routinely been elegant and classy.  And the wines continue to improve.


BEAUNE CLOS DES MOUCHES BLANC
The word "mouches" refers to flies, but this vineyard parcel is not really named after those little insects, but after honey bees, "mouches à miel."
The vineyard is located south of the city of Beaune and just near the border of the appellation of Pommard.   The Chardonnay vines in this Premier Cru site average about 45 years of age and Drouhin routinely short-crops the vines to well under the legal maximum production.

The grapes are pressed after being sorted and the juice is then settled before the cleaner, clearer juice goes into small French oak before the start of fermentation.  Drouhin insists on proper weathering or seasoning of its oak barrels, another detail adding to the quality.

We have the 2011 in stock presently...really classy White Burgundy!  

 

CHABLIS 

Chablis is a major part of Drouhin's portfolio.  Robert Drouhin realized several decades ago that Chablis was, in fact, a wine of special characteristics.  With many growers abandoning vineyards (in the 1950s there was a major frost which killed a lot of vineyards and into the 1960s, demand for Chablis was not great.

He purchased a lot of vineyards and today Joseph Drouhin is a bit of a Chablis specialist.  (And unlike some of the Chablis specialists which are actually headquartered in Chablis, you won't find Drouhin's wine in anything resembling a "hipster" bottle.)

They usually keep the pricing on the basic Chablis at a reasonable level, so we've had a most attractive wine at a most attractive price.

The Chablis sees a brief pass in oak, but not a single barrel is new.  The wood is used to mature the wine, not give it oak flavors.  As a result, you'll find this to be snappy and bone dry, with hints of green apple and a slightly chalky, flinty note.  

We enjoy this wine from time to time as a white to set up a more important red.  So in our world, this is typically paired with seafood, though we enjoyed a pour at a place in The City paired with Fried Okra and Crayfish Hush Puppies and it was delicious.  2014 presently...




CHASSAGNE MONTRACHET Premier Cru "MORGEOT"
This parcel of Morgeot is owned by the Laguiche family, who also own a prime parcel in Le Montrachet.

Drouhin has long been buying the fruit from those two vineyard sites and making truly wonderful wines.

For this Chassagne Montrachet, the wine is barrel fermented and Drouhin says they use about 20% new oak.  Whatever they're doing, they're doing it right.

The wine exudes class.

It's beautifully balanced, showing magnificent fruit and just the right amount of toasty oak.  It's dry, of course, and complex...there's just something about this site and it sings here.
2011 in stock at this writing.
Yum!

 

Currently in stock:  2011 BEAUNE "CLOS DES MOUCHES" Blanc SALE $119.99
2014 CHABLIS  Sale $19.99
2011 CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET "Morgeot" SALE $99.99




MAISON LOUIS JADOT

I know this firm gets some nice reviews from various journals.  I buy bottles of their wines, from time to time, in hopes of tasting something that's extraordinary.  I simply haven't found much in their line-up of reasonably-priced wines that excites my taste-buds.  I suppose when you produce 150 wines annually, you're not going to excel at all of them 

We did taste through a handful of new releases in early 2012 and had to admit the wines are better than the dreary plonk we'd been accustomed to tasting some years ago.
I made a point of sampling a handful of Jadot offerings at a big event in Burgundy in 2016 and can't say I found anything compelling.  
I was surprised by their use of oak in a Premier Cru Chablis...now I like wood in a wine, but this tasted like a brandy that had been in the barrel for too long!  It was oaked to a fare-thee-well and then some.  So I wondered why there's not someone in charge of actually monitoring their wines and having a somewhat consistent house style.

The winery enjoyed a nice bit of popularity some years ago when Louis Jadot's Pouilly-Fuisse was all the rage and a sign of a "sophisticated" wine drinker.  Society folks from Hillsborough would amble in and request a bottle of "Lew-ie Jar-dot's Poo-wee Foo-see" back in those days, knowing a bottle of this on tonight's dinner table signified they knew their shit when it came to wine.

These days those people buy Rombauer wines, either in Feinherb Chardonnay or Spatlese Zinfandel.

Jadot must make a couple of dozen different white Burgundy wines and while things are competently made, we're not privileged to taste those wines which might, in fact, be somewhat exciting.
  

Currently in stock:  Special orders are possible if you're hell-bent on their wines.

 

 

 


DOMAINE HERVE AZO

This little domaine was founded by a fellow who hailed from Brittany.  He'd been living in Paris, working in the world of advertising.  Someone invited him to take a few days off and go pick grapes, toiling in the vineyards of Chablis.  

There he was bitten by the wine bug and ended up buying vineyard land.  And so he started a nice little winemaking enterprise with most of the domaine situated in premier cru sites near the town of Milly, west of beautiful downtown Chablis.

Most of the vineyard holdings were in premier cru sites, with a few vines in a Petit Chablis area.

A few years ago the domaine was purchased by another vintner in Chablis, Jean Marc Brocard.  He admired Azo's wines and bought the property with the idea of retaining the domaine as a separate entity.

Good move.  Brocard's wines have been of classic styling, though I've usually found them to be almost sterile and a bit superficial.  So, it's a bit surprising to see they're making the Azo wine with its usual style and depth.

 

Azo's parcel of Vau de Vey (also known as "VaVaVaVoom!") is quite steep and as it's a relatively below-the-radar site, its price remains attractive.
 
 


A nice little sign posted in the cellar to commemorate the inaugural vintage.

 

I was surprised, in searching the internet, to read an article about the winery on a web site of an Irish wine merchant who stocks Azo Chablis.

I was sad to learn in their article summarizing the history of the domaine, that the owner of the estate died in 2005 and it was soon purchased by Marc Brocard.

If you see the photo above that I shot of Hervé in 2002, he was not exactly a senior citizen and so it was surprising to me, at least, to read he apparently died.

Well, the local importer, who's more up-to-date on these things than those Irish blokes, explained that Hervé is alive and well.  He and his wife realized their three daughters had no interest in the world of wine and Kimmeridgian clay, so they sold the winery split their time between Brittany and their sailboat which they keep in the Caribbean.

 

Well, no matter.  The winery is, apparently, in good hands.  At least we can say that judging by the 2010 Chablis Premier Cru of their Vau de Vay site.  The wine is classically-styled and you'll find it to be a textbook example of Chablis:  minerally, stony, bone dry, flinty...shall I go on?  It's delicious presently and ought to continue to develop nicely over the next few years.

Currently in stock:  HERVE AZO 2012 CHABLIS Premier Cru Vau de Vay Sold Out








 




 

DOMAINE DES TERRES DE VELLE

So many of our favorite Burgundy domaines are family-operated enterprises, handed down from generation to generation and tracing the family tree back hundreds of years.  This isn't one of those stories, however.

It's a story of three young people, two from Burgundy, pooling their resources and starting a brand new winery.  Fabrice Laronze and his wife Sophie are from the region.  He studied winemaking in Beaune (and Montpellier), while Madame Laronze did some school work in Germany and Champagne before returning back to Burgundy and the wine business.

Fabrice worked producing sparkling wine, then at a little winery in Pommard before becoming the cellar guy at the Alex Gambal wine facility (a negociant firm which also makes a bit of wine...owned by an American fellow, in fact).  Sophie worked for the big negociant firm of Albert Bichot before working for a barrel building company in Mercurey.  

They are joined by a Japanese friend, Junji Hashimoto.  This fellow left his home country to follow his dream in France and met Fabrice working at a domaine in Pommard, Lejeune.  He studied French and can now order sushi in several languages when dining out in Beaune and environs.  Hashimoto-san also worked at the domaine of Hubert Lignier in Morey-Saint-Denis, so he's no stranger to good Burgundy.

The cellar under construction in 2011.
 

These days the place is fully-constructed.

The cellar is in an old mill resembling a small garage on the outskirts of Auxey-Duresses when we visited in 2011.  They were building a new cellar at that time and we understand the place is now functional.

Fabrice had a nice line-up of all their wines for us...

We tasted a nice range of wines on our visit...all showing good quality, good rocks, good fruit and good cellar practices.  

Now back home, it's always interesting to re-taste wines you made notes about "on the road" and compare the findings from here to back there.  You know, for many people, wine simply tastes better at the source.  Whether you're visiting a tasting room in California, Washington or in Europe (or elsewhere), the fact that you're a bit in tourist "mode" makes for a better reception than tasting the same wine at home with the phone ringing, the kids screaming and the door-bell ringing...

I've been pleasantly surprised to re-taste some wines I'd tasted across the pond and find them better than I did at the cellar door!

The Terres de Velle (did I mentioned the "Velle" is a little stream running near the winery?) Bourgogne Blanc showed nicely when we visited, but I think it's showing better now (maybe some time in bottle has allowed it to grow and blossom a bit).  

The 2012 Bourgogne comes from two parcels.  There's a patch of vines which are 30 years old and are located on the plain below Puligny-Montrachet and two-thirds comes from a parcel in Meursault.  It sees about 10% new oak, not enough to be particularly noticeable as a wood-aged wine.  It's showing a faint note of pineapple (we detect a light spice note) and some pear-like tones.  There's some minerality in there, as well and the wine tastes like "Bourgogne" from the Cote de Beaune which is what it should taste like, after all.  

Their 2011 Monthelie comes from a tiny parcel (less than a quarter of a hectare!) situated on a steep hill with an eastern exposure.  The vines are now mature and produce a classic white Burgundy.  And, since the town of Monthelie is not on most consumer's shopping list, the wine sells for a price which should attract those who have taste for classy Burgundy, but not the deepest of pockets.  We like the stony notes of this beautiful dry white and its mildly toasty elements, probably a combination of oak (30% new barrels) and some lees-stirring.  Young at this stage, but still quite drinkable...we expect it will really blossom in 2014, or so.

The 2013 Meursault is an old vines bottling from a parcel called Les Luchets.  These vines were planted in 1936 and they have about 1/3 of a hectare of it.  The grapes are gently pressed and the juice is settled overnight in a stainless steel tank before being transferred to barrel for its fermentation.  Perhaps 25% new oak is employed and the wine shows more the grape than the barrel.  It's bone dry and nicely acidic.  Medium bodied.  Very fine and elegant, so we suggest serving it just lightly chilled to maybe 50-degrees.  

Currently in stock:  2012 DOMAINE TERRES DE VELLE BOURGOGNE BLANC  $26.99
2011 DOMAINE TERRES DE VELLE MONTHELIE BLANC $36.99
2013 DOMAINE TERRES DE VELLE MEURSAULT  Sale $54.99

 

 


  
 
 
 

 


CHÂTEAU DES RONTETS

A couple of architects didn't have any designs on making wine, but when an elderly relative died and left them this estate, they soon found themselves up to their eyeballs in grapes.

Claire Gazeau and her Italian-born husband Fabio Montrasi run this small domaine just a short drive south of the town of Fuissé.  
 
There are about 6 hectares of Pouilly-Fuissé and a half a hectare of Gamay in Saint Amour.  The couple took over the estate in 1994 and their first vintage was 1999.   

The property is nice and the couple farms in an organic fashion.  "We don't like chemical farming." explained Fabio.  "We do a lot of plowing and work responsibly in the vineyards."

They do not acidify their wines and they avoid chaptalization, too.  Fabio says he did more battonage with the wines (stirring the yeast in barrel) when they started.  Now he prefers to do a bit of battonage when the fermentation is slowing down and finishing.  

We have now had quite a few vintages of Rontets Pouilly-Fuisse in the shop.  These have been consistently fine and they've even gotten bette over the past decade.  Routinely, though, our favorite is a wine called Birbettes.  This comes from the oldest patch of vines within their Clos Varambon vineyard.  This part of the vineyard has four patches.  Two of them were planted around 1920 and the other two went into the ground shortly after World War II. They produce some fruit which makes a wine rivaling Chassagne and Meursault wines for which you'd pay a bit more.    Only 10% of the cooperage used to mature this wine is new...so there's a hint of wood, lots of stony Chardonnay on display and a faintly smoky tone in the background.

Currently in stock:  CHÂTEAU des RONTETS 2013 POUILLY-FUISSÉ  "Birbettes"  List $50  SALE $44.99 


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