Burgundy is divided into a number of sub-regions and these are important in
sorting out this jigsaw puzzle of a viticultural area.
White Burgundies are, typically, Chardonnay wines. There are a few exceptions:
"Aligoté" is a rather simple and acidic dry white, making its most noteworthy
wine in the area of Bouzeron.
"Sacy" is responsible for some wines designated "Bourgogne Grand
Ordinaire" which come from the Yonne (Chablis) region.
"Sauvignon" (blanc) makes some very nice little wines in the Chablis sub-region
of "St-Bris-le-Vineux" and we've, periodically, had some of this steely, dry
white here in the shop.
I have seen references to Pinot Blanc and Pinot Chardonnay with respect to Burgundy. There
is even a supposedly "mutant" clone of Pinot Noir, said to be first isolated at
the domaine of Henri Gouges in Nuits-Saint-Georges.
So, for the most part we're dealing with CHARDONNAY.
Now, you need to know the sub-regions here:
"Chablis," located about 60 miles
northwest of the heart of Burgundy. There is a wine known as "Petite Chablis"
from small pockets of vineyards scattered around the region. This is usually really
simple, acidic, bone dry and very light. "Chablis" can be magnificent wine. The
most prestigious are of Grand Cru status and encompass seven "crus": Blanchot,
Bougros, Les Clos, Grenouilles, Les Preuses, Valmur and Vaudésir. These can be the most
interesting and long-lived wines, going ten or more years. The most common Premier crus
include: Beauroy, Fourchaume, Montée de Tonnerre, Montmains and Vaillons.
These often take three to five years to blossom.
Click here for a page with
Chablis photos and maps...
"Côte d'Or," the heart of
Burgundy and where the most prestigious wines come from is divided into two sub-regions:
the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune. It is from the latter area that the most
well-known white Burgundies come from. Here you'll find Corton Charlemagne, Meursault,
Auxey-Duresses, Saint-Romain, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet and Saint-Aubin.
"Do you know the way to Montrachet?"
"Cote Chalonnaise" makes some
good, lighter-weight Chardonnays. These might be found with the appellations of Givry,
Mercurey, Rully or Montagny.
"Macon" is the most southerly
region of Burgundy and it's most famous wine is Pouilly-Fuissé. There are a number of
producers attempting to make oakier, richer white wines here, but, frankly, the
wines sold by the large negociant firms are expensive and, to our taste, rather soulless
and empty. Happily some small estates have figured out how to make
more interesting and complex wines. A few of these rival good California
Chardonnays and offer an alternative to good Côte de Beaune whites. Few,
though, reach the level of quality of fine Premier Cru or Grand Cru white
the other hand, the area is loaded with producers of good, simple, straight-forward,
non-oaked Chardonnays and these, costing around fourteen bucks, can be pretty satisfying.
White Burgundy Producers We Like:
7th generation of Pinsons is running this family estate right near the
'wash-a-teria' in beautiful downtown Chablis.
No kidding...the winery is right along the little creek that flows through
town and there's an ancient community clothes-washing place right there in
case you're visiting and feel a need to beat the hell out of your
laundry. I didn't notice an automated laundromat in town, by the way.
The Pinson family traces its roots back to the year 1640. We think
their Chablis wines are better than ever, but then we weren't around to
assess the wines made in the 1640s.
The winery was one of the first to bottle its own wines. They hadn't
thought of this in the 1600s and it took them until 1940 to come up with the
notion of vinifying wine and selling it in glass containers which customers
could transport home. The property encompassed some 3 hectares back
then. By the 1982 vintage the domaine comprised all of five
Laurent and Christophe run the estate today and they care for a whopping 12
hectares of vines. In 2004 they built a new, modern cellar. We
found a nice installation of temperature-controlled stainless steel
fermentation tanks. This allows them to really capture the fruit and
minerality of the various parcels of vines.
Laurent explained they like to incorporate a small percentage of
wood-fermented wine into most lots. Even the basic Chablis has a small
amount of barrel-fermented juice, though the wood is rather neutral.
Laurent explains they like the complexity this adds to the wine.
Yields are much less today than in their father's day. The grand cru
vines produce about 35 hectoliters per hectare, while the premier cru vines
turn out 45 to 48 hectoliters/hectare. Quality seems to be the name of
the game here and we tasted some very fine bottles on our visit.
We have their 2016 basic Chablis in stock. Here's a lovely example of
Chablis at a most affordable price. I seem to recall that 80% of the
wine is from one vineyard in particular. Only 7% of the wine sees
wood, as they strive to retain the character of "Chablis" in the
wine. Moderately stony and quite dry, it's a perfect accompaniment to
simple, pan-fried fish filets, a platter of oysters, etc.
Their 2015 Petit Chablis is a bargain, as the importer needed to clear space
in the warehouse for the next vintage. As a result we're able to offer
the terrific 2015 vintage for a very modest price of $15.99. And it's
easily identifiable as a Chablis wine.
The Grand Cru of Les Clos reaches great heights in this cellar. Very
fine and deep. It is delicious in its youth and one can see if will
continue to develop handsomely for a number of years.
By the way, I understand the Pinson wines cost more than
the famous Chablis wines from the Raveneau family at the cellar door.
The Raveneau wines, though, due to their fame and demand, end up commanding
insanely higher prices when they reach the consumer.
We are fortunate to have access to the Pinson wines through a reliably good
and honest importer here in the area.
Currently in stock: 2016 PINSON "CHABLIS"
SALE $24.99 (750ml)
2015 PINSON PETIT CHABLIS SALE $15.99
2015 PINSON CHABLIS Grand Cru "Les Clos" $65.99
Chablis Meister, Laurent Pinson
Mr. and Mrs. Pinson
- DOMAINE Des COMTES LAFON
- It's not fair
to "tease" you with a huge write-up of a domaine whose wines are
so highly regarded and so scarce that we can't offer you but a bottle from
time to time.
I had the good fortune to visit this small domaine in Meursault in March
of 2002. The property covers some 13.9 hectares, 8 of which are
devoted to Chardonnay. This is one of those domaines run by a
perfectionist. Dominique Lafon took over for his father René some
years ago. "Dad" was a highly regarded wine-grower and
Dominique has the same reputation.
It was really
great to taste these wines out of barrel (sorry if I'm torturing you),
because when I've tasted the wines fresh-off-the-boat I've wondered what
all the fuss is about. Tasting them out of barrel (we tasted very
fine 2000s and still-developing and hard-to-assess 2001s), I found the
elements about which I've read. These are deep and profound wines
which are refined and elegant. Dominique Lafon's right hand man, Stéphane
Thibodaux told us that the wines are really nice after five or six years
in the bottle. But he said their 1992s, at ten years of age, were
still "closed" unless you decant them and let them
"breathe" for about an hour!
Ellen visited the estate in February of 2005 and described the wines she
tasted as "magical."
a property in Macon, so
we are now able to have a taste of how a Meursault-Maniac handles
Macon. The first vintages have been rather promising, so this will
be a project whose progress we will follow with great interest. (How
many Macon producers make great Montrachet? Only Lafon!)
Macon Milly-Lamartine. Good wines, though I didn't mistake them for
Lafon's Meursault Clos de la Barre. I am curious to see how these
develop with cellaring. Time will tell.
Post-script: I recently had a chance to taste some "older"
bottles of Lafon's Macon wines. Wow...what a difference with a year
or two of bottle aging! These are remarkably good wines but you
can't really evaluate them when they're just-bottled and
first-released. These showed nice depth and hints of ripe apple,
honey and toast (but not oaky). The texture on the palate was much
Post-Post-Script: In Match of 2016 we tasted the current roster of
Macon wines from Lafon...they're better than ever and, in fact, I asked Dominique
about the wine I dubbed not Pouilly-Fuisse but "Pouilly Fuissault."
Montrachet, of which there is precious little! Lafon has one-third
of a hectare of vines in this appellation. Some vintages they are
fortunate enough to make six
barrels. Some years, not so much. We were fortunate to be on the allocation list for this
rarity. Delicious and expensive. But at today's prices,
we are out of the game.
Currently in stock:
We have some older vintages of Meursault...
Leflaive name has long been highly-regarded with respect to the wines from
Puligny-Montrachet. Having been privileged to taste these wines over
the years, I can say it is in the past decade that the wines have really
become a reference point for the appellation and for white Burgundy in
Part of the rise in quality may be attributed, perhaps, to the conversion
of their vineyards to biodynamic farming practices. Another
contributing factor is due to a modest change in management back in 1990
when Anne-Claude Leflaive took over running the domaine. Her cousin
Olivier runs his own business, the Olivier Leflaive negociant company.
The winemaker is Pierre Morey, whose name appears on his own brand of
wines, both home-grown and negociant bottlings.
The winemaking is straightforward, adding credibility to the
notion that "wine is made in the vineyard."
Leflaive has segmented its vineyard holdings into numerous
"blocks" and harvests according to the maturity of the
The Leflaive holdings are outside the village of Puligny-Montrachet in various
Once the grapes have come into the cellar, the fruit is pressed
and the juice is allowed to settle in stainless steel tanks. I have heard
some winemakers argue against this, claiming it robs the wines of a dimension of
character, while other winemakers assert this allows for a "cleaner"
fermentation. You can't argue with the results from Leflaive, however.
The juice is then racked into small French oak barrels and the
fermentation is initiated. They're big fans of stirring the sediment
following the fermentation. The French call this battonage and you
can't miss it in the Leflaive wines as they show a really intensely smoky,
"leesy" character which is their signature.
Some people may describe the wines of Leflaive as oaky or the product of really
toasted oak barrels. But this isn't the case. The wines are
smoky from their maturation on the spent yeast.
been a fan of the Clavoillon wines, a cru which is just north of Les Pucelles
and east of Folatières. Leflaive owns nearly the entire site, holding
4.79 hectares of the 5.59.
The 2011 Clavoillon is young and delicious, but probably
won't really shine for another couple of years. You can see the wine has
some outstanding qualities, however. We're big fans of this steely
dry, smoky, minerally white Burgundy.
The 2009 and 2010 are in stock, as well...both very fine and still a bit young.
Currently in stock:
2004 Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet Sold Out
Puligny-Montrachet "Clavoillon" SALE $139.99
Puligny-Montrachet "Clavoillon" $139.99
Puligny-Montrachet "Clavoillon" $139.99
a long history of the Prieur family in the wine village of Santenay, dating back
to the early 1800s.
This domain, though, took the its current name when Guy Prieur married a woman
from Meursault named Elisabeth Brunet. With her vineyards, the united
properties tallied a good quantity of vineyards, more than 20 hectares in a
number of appellations.
Over the past decade, or so, it's been run by a mother and son team...and
they've been making good wines.
Their Meursault-Charmes is an exceptional wine.
Soon after we tasted this and brought some in to the shop, we were sad to read
reports of the winery and its vineyards being sold to the behemoth Burgundy firm
of Louis Jadot. Damn!
They produce mostly white wines.
The juice for this killer Meursault Charmes went into small oak barrels.
They like wood from the Allier forest for their white wines.
Once the fermentation is complete, they routinely stir the lees every couple of
weeks to develop the distinctive smoky, toasty notes in the wine. This
sees maybe 25% new wood, so the oak is certainly apparent, but it's not the
central feature of the wine.
If you've never experienced a really classic, old-school French
White Burgundy, we think this is bottle worthy of discovery.
Currently in stock: PRIEUR-BRUNET 2014 MEURSAULT
DOMAINE FRANCOIS MIKULSKI
and Francois Mikulski launched this little winemaking enterprise in the
early 1990s while Francois was making the wines for his uncle, Pierre
Mikulski's father was from Poland and was in the Polish military as World
War II was starting. He managed to escape to England and it's there
he met a woman whose family was in Burgundy. They married and
Francois was born in the 1960s. He was not much interested in school
and he did enjoy working with plants. Uncle Pierre's kids were not
interested in vineyards and winery work, so he took on the challenge of
working for the Boillot domaine.
After a stint in the military he made his way to California and worked at
Josh Jensen's Calera winery. Mikulski had met California Ted
Lemon at the domaine of Guy Roulot, a very famous little domaine.
Having traveled a bit back then and even with more recent excursions, he's
got a good idea of the wines and techniques employed in various wine
He confesses he's not much of a fan of California Chardonnays, saying it's
really too warm to make energetic, crisp wines.
In Burgundy, of course, there's a special terroir and challenging climate.
We've tasted his Meursault wines over the years and generally find them to
be quite good.
These days his domaine comprises about 9.5 hectares of vineyards.
Many of those are rented. The farming is done organically.
This basic Meursault is a blend of fruit from 4 to 6 different small
sites covering perhaps a hectare and a half. The vineyards are
roughly 35 years of age and farmed organically, but without certification.
The wine sees a small percentage of new oak, but Mikulski
says he really wants to showcase the minerality of Meursault's terroir. We
typically find a bit of leesy and smoky notes in his wines and there's some
of those features in the 2015 vintage bottling. It's dry, crisp and
Currently in stock: FRANCOIS MIKULSKI 2015
A good bottle from Mikulski at a dinner in Beaune...some sort of foie gras
mousse with a seafood soup.
It sounds a bit unusual, but the flavors were exceptional.
The wine was nicely toasty and was quite nice with this dish.
- The name of Etienne Sauzet is
well-known to most fans of
Sauzet was born in the early 1900s
and the domaine comprised about
12 hectares of vines by 1950.
Sauzet passed away in 1975 and
the estate has been run since then
by grand-daughter Jeanine and her
husband, Gerard Boudot.
The domaine comprises approximately 9
hectares today, with the full spectrum of
wines being made. You can start at basic
Bourgogne and work your way up to
Boudot follows in the footsteps of the late founder, keeping the
wines in barrel on the spent yeast for 10 to 18 months, depending upon the
appellation. The premier cru and grand cru wines are entirely fermented
and aged in small oak barrels. Boudot seems to prefer about one-third new
cooperage for these wines and I understand he'll put wines into stainless steel
if he feels they need more aging but not more wood or exposure to oak.
We tasted Boudot's range of 2009s and found them to be really special
wines. Each was very fine and they all tasted "expensive" to me,
a rarity with respect to most tastings.
"IS" Puligny-Montrachet. So's Leflaive, for that matter and both
make some terrific wines. Leflaive's tend to be more smoky and toasty,
with a bit more of a lean aspect, while the Sauzet wines have a more opulent
quality to them while still retaining their expressive terroir and being complex
The Champ Canet parcel is approximately one hectare and the vines are close to
50 years of age.
Troncais and Allier barriques are used for the fermentation and aging, with
perhaps 40% being new according to Boudot. The wine may spend close
to a year in wood and then it may go into stainless steel for another 6 months
or until Monsieur Boudot deems the wine ready for bottling. The 2009 is
fairly full, mildly woodsy with some apple and peach notes in a 'reserved' sort
of fashion. Nicely acidic, too, so this is zesty at this stage and should
remain in top form for a few more years...
The 2013 Champ Gain is a young, crisp, tangy white Burgundy. There's a
ripe aspect to the fruit, yet it's presently a bit taut and lean on the
palate. This should show really well in 2016.
Currently in stock: 2009 ETIENNE SAUZET
Puligny-Montrachet "Champ Canet" Sold Out
2013 ETIENNE SAUZET Puligny Montrachet "Champ Gain"
DOMAINE MICHEL JUILLOT
ago when we first visited France and explored the vineyards and
restaurants in Burgundy, we quickly became acquainted with the wines of
Domaine Michel Juillot. It was partly a matter of economics, as it
remains today: finding good, soulful Burgundy without having to refinance
We dined in some rather fancy places and would ask the somms for a
suggestion of something particular good quality with a modest price.
The wines of Michel Juillot were recommended, though in those days, we
were being guided to their red wines.
The domaine is one of the most prominent in the Côte Chalonnaise village
of Mercurey. Back in the 1960s, we believe, they had perhaps 6
hectares of vineyards. Today they take care of 31 hectares and the
winery is run by Laurent Juillot. Twenty-one hectares are devoted to
Pinot Noir and 10 to Chardonnay.
- Most of their vineyards are in an around Mercurey and environs, though
they have some holdings north in Aloxe-Corton. He explains if those
wines didn't sell for a premium price, it would be a money-losing matter
to have to drive so far away (more than 40 kilometers).
They farm sustainably, saying their vineyards are cultivated "lutte
raisonnée." And their vineyards are all picked by
In tasting through wines of the Côtes Chalonnaise, it soon became
apparent that this estate is at the top in the region, making wines worthy
of comparison to the Côte d'Or brethren. Every wine, white or red,
was quite good and showing beautifully.
We presently have a Rully Blanc in the shop with the cru designation of
- The vineyard was planted in 1979, so the vines are quite mature.
If you're keeping track, the soil is clay and limestone. The grapes
are hand-harvested and anything not perfect is culled out on a sorting
table. The bunches are then whole-cluster pressed and the juice is
allowed to settle for half a day.
The juice then goes into a combination of wood: one-third is
fermented in barrel and the rest goes into puncheons. Indigenous yeast
fermentation. The wine spends about a year in wood before bottling
and only 10% of the barrels are brand new.
We like the toasty and smoky elements of the wine. It's
medium-bodied and dry. It's not as dramatic as our $50-$150 bottles
of white Burgundy, but for less than $30, this is a winner.
Currently in stock: MICHEL JUILLOT 2015 RULLY BLANC
"Les Thivaux" $28.99
Apparently they've grown tired of the old-fashioned and beautifully
distinctive art on their label and are changing it to appear as this design
Now their bottles will look virtually like everyone else's.
Girardin name is well-known in the Côte de Beaune and the family traces
its roots back to the late 1500s.
Justin Girardin's grandfather Jean began cultivating vineyards in his
hometown of Santenay shortly after World War II.
He had three sons who went on to make wine, Yves, Vincent and Jacques. A
fourth offspring didn't pursue a career in the wine business.
The wines of Vincent Girardin are well-known and have a following here in
the US and France. Vincent's brother Jacques maintained a lower
profile, but his son Justin is becoming a young and rising star with his
beautifully made Burgundies.
Justin's parents increased their vineyard holdings over the years,
branching out from Santenay to Chassagne-Montrachet, Pommard and
Savigny-Les-Beaune. The ownership of the domaine passed from Jacques
to Justin in 2012.
Today Justin farms about 17 hectares of grapes and his loves being
outdoors and working in the vineyards. He employs some organic and
biodynamic practices in the vineyards
"We are not
'organic' winegrowers but for many years we have endeavored to listen to
nature and only intervene when appropriate. Certain methods that we use
and that today are called 'biodynamic' are in fact those that our
ancestors used to meet the needs for the well-being of the vine.
Each of us recognizes that it is necessary to return to a healthier
agriculture and for that the work of the winegrower is imperative: a
well-maintained vine will produce healthy grapes and therefore a wine of
- We had tasted the 2016
Santenay Blanc and liked it...acquired a bottle for a blind-tasting and
liked it in that "beauty contest."
- They had planted or
replanted some Santenay parcels in the 1960s and we dissatisfied with the
resulting wine. They ended up terracing some of the hills and
replanting again between 1970 and 1986. This time they got it right.
Girardin vinifies the wine in small oak, using maybe 15-20% new
barrels. The wine spends about a year in wood and has a nice,
delicate balance of oak; there's just enough that you might wonder
if it had been barrel-aged but not so much that it's the focal point of
We have the 2016 in stock presently...delicious and well-priced,
Girardin's Uncle Vincent's Santenays arrive here at a wholesale price near
Justin's retail pricing!
stock: JUSTIN GIRARDIN 2016 SANTENAY BLANC "Les Terrasses de
Justin Girardin in 2018
Charleux founded this small domaine back in the 1890s with less than a
hectare of vineyards. He enlarged the esate to two hectares by the
time of his death in the 1920s. Joseph Charleux took over and added
another 6 hectares by the time he retired in 1960. Maurice took over
and today he and his son Vincent farm about 12 hectares of vineyards in
and around the below-the-radar appellation of Maranges as well as having a
few vines in nearby Santenay.
They farm sustainably and say it's important for one generation to leave
the earth in good condition for the next.
As a result, you'll hear them speak about "lutte raisonnée."
They plant grasses between the rows of vines as a means of controlling
erosion, as many of the vineyards are on slopes.
We have long known this domaine as a source for good quality, reasonably
priced red wines, but the past few years their Maranges Blanc from the
"La Fussière" cru has been remarkably good.
We had tasted this in the shop and it was a pleasant
surprise. Over in Burgundy we tasted Charleux's wines again alongside
wines from other domaines with more prestigious appellations and were delighted
to see this estate is quietly cementing its reputation as a source of good
quality and stylish wines (with sensible price tags).
The juice is given a day of skin contact and then goes into small French oak
barrels. Perhaps 20% of the cooperage is new. Barrel-fermented and
aged for about a year and then bottled...voila! Nothing fancy, but this
wine is a good example of Burgundian winemaking.
It goes for $29.99 a bottle, far less than many California Chardonnays of which
few are worthy of comparison.
Currently in stock: DOMAINE CHARLEUX 2016 MARANGES
1er Cru "La Fussière" $29.99
DOMAINE PAVELOT (Pernand
appellation of Pernand-Vergelesses is one of those relatively 'forgotten'
names amongst Burgundy aficionados. It's a little village of perhaps
300 people tucked away at the northern part of the Cote de
Drive ten minutes north and you're in Vosne-Romanee. Drive ten
minutes south and you're in Pommard, Volnay or maybe
Puligny-Montrachet. All those names are far more famous than
Pernand-Vergelesses. And the most prestigious domaine situated in
Pernand doesn't make a wine from vineyards within the AOC of Pernand-Vergelesses,
but Corton and Corton-Charlemagne (that would be Bonneau du Martray).
The entire appellation of Pernand-Vergelesses tallies to around 132
hectares, so it's not exactly a large place.
You can easily be confused as to the name Pavelot, for there are two
wineries with this name. One Pavelot is located in
Savigny-Les-Beaune and this little domaine of 9 hectares is in beautiful
It's run, these days, by a brother and sister team, Luc and Lise
Pavelot. Both of them graduated from the wine school in nearby
Beaune. Each had good winemaking experiences in doing
internships: he ventured to California and spent some time at
Navarro, while Lise headed to the Loire Valley to see how things operated
at the Dagueneau winery.
Importer Gary Roshke and his wife Lise Pavelot.
- Grapes are all hand-harvested into these special harvesting baskets.
vineyards of Pernand-Vergelesses used to be the source of much Aligoté,
but in the past few decades most has been replaced by the more
financially-rewarding Chardonnay. Pavelot, however, still cultivates
a modest amount of Aligoté. It's planted, keep in mind, in sites
which would be AOC Pernand-Vergelesses were they planted to Chardonnay, so
the pedigree of the terroir is particularly good.
It has been fermented, typically, in stainless steel and then left in
stainless until bottling, but with the 2012 vintage, a remarkably tasty
wine, this was matured in neutral oak barrels.
While old-time Aligoté was a shrill little white wine, you'll find this
to be marvelously stony and crisp with some "there" there.
also were delighted by the 2011 Pernand-Vergelesses Blanc. This
comes from a variety of vineyard sites, some facing east and others
catching the afternoon sun being west-facing. There's also a small
amount of a parcel which is a Premier Cru site (En Caradeux).
The wine sees about 10% new oak, so it's actually more along the lines of
a really serious Chablis than big, white Burgundy. We like the
lemony and stony notes here...a delight with seafood,
- Showing off the map of some of the Pavelot vineyard sites.
Lise opens a number of bottles to show off the family artistry...
Currently in stock: 2012 PAVELOT ALIGOTÉ $20.99
2012 PAVELOT PERNAND-VERGELESSES BLANC $36.99
DOMAINE PARISSE (DOMAINE THIBERT)
of the wines from this little winery are sold as "Domaine Thibert,"
but they have another brand and label called Domaine Parisse and we have a
source for their terrific Mâconnais wines under that banner.
The winery and vineyards are owned by a brother and sister team,
Christophe Thibert and sister Sandrine.
The family traces its roots back 7 or 8 generations, but the story of
their little winery began more recently, starting in 1967.
Grandfather Thibert's family owned two hectares of
vineyards. René Thibert and his wife Andrée Parisse wanted to work
with vineyards and wine and sold grapes to a local grower's co-op winery.
Their first harvest was in 1967 and over the years they were able to
purchase additional land in the Fuissé area.
Christophe Thibert finish his wine schooling and came to work in the family
business in 1990 and it was around this time period that the idea of making
wine on their own became a viable prospect. They still sold grapes to
the co-op while making some of their own wine.
Sandrine joined the business in 1999 after finishing school and traveling
around the world.
These days they have 22 hectares of vineyards with nearly half being in the
Pouilly-Fuissé appellation. They have parcels in nearby
Pouilly-Vinzelles, St. Veran, Pouilly-Loché, Mâcon Fuissé, Mâcon
Vinzelles, Mâcon Prissé and Mâcon Verzé..
They've been farming organically since 2007, though it's not a selling point
for them. As a result they do not have any sort of certification, but
they don't employ chemical fertilizers as had been common years
ago. They don't use weed killers but are now plowing the
vegetation in and around the vines.
Whatever they're doing, it seems to be providing good quality grapes as
their wines are a model for Mâcon wines.
We currently have a couple of bottlings.
There's a 2014 Pouilly-Vinzelles comes from a site called "Les Longeays."
This is a few kilometers southeast of Fuissé and produces a wine with
minerality similar to their Pouilly-Fuissé. It's vinified in oak and
stays in wood for just less than a year before being racked into stainless
steel for a bit before bottling. It's not always filtered, as they
evaluate the wine and make that call if it's necessary.
The 2015 Pouilly-Fuissé comes from older parcels of
vineyards, averaging about 75 years of age. While those old vines
don't produce a bumper crop of fruit, they do provide grapes with remarkable
intensity and character. Thibert vinifies the wine in wood but the oak
plays a supporting role. Thibert uses somewhere between 5 and 15% of
new barrels as he wants to showcase the vineyard character and the special terroir
of their area. It's a bit fuller than the Pouilly Vinzelles.
The Thibert/Parisse cellar.
Currently in stock: DOMAINE PARISSE 2014
POUILLY-VINZELLES "Les Longeays"29.99
DOMAINE PARISSE 2015 POUILLY-FUISSÉ "Vieilles Vignes"
CHATEAU DE CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET
- The Bader-Mimeur family own most of the property known as the Chateau de
Chassagne-Montrachet with another vintner owning about 2% of the
vines. The family can trace its Burgundian roots back to the
early 1900s and one of the old-timers had a little wine shop in Paris
which is still in operation as an outlet for the winery.
Alain Fossier married into the family and he's viewed as the engine that
runs this place these days.
One of our top importers was visiting Burgundy recently and tasted the
range of wines they're making...he came away fairly impressed and brought
some wines to taste. A nice little Bourgogne Rouge was very
good...and their 2010 Chassagne-Montrachet with the "Chateau de
Chassagne-Montrachet" label is very handsome!
- The 2010 vintage of Chassagne-Montrachet comes from vines averaging
about 35 years of age. The wine is matured in small oak cooperage,
with 20% of the barrels being new. This makes for a nicely balanced
wine...you can sense the wood in the glass, but it's not the centerpiece
of the wine.
Currently in stock: 2010 BADER-MIMEUR "CHATEAU
DE CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET" Chassagne Montrachet Sold Out
Claude Manciat and his wife Simone Poncet have been growing grapes for
decades, but they only began bottling their own wines in 1979.
have about 4.5 hectares of vineyards in the Pouilly-Fuissé appellation and
another five in Macon. While most of the vineyards in Macon are
machine-harvested, Manciat-Poncet vineyards are still picked by
Though they both qualify for the senior citizen's discount at the local
cinema, both Claude and Simone are vivacious and still enthusiastic about
We tasted a variety of tank and barrel samples on our visit a few years ago. Claude buys oak, for example, from several different coopers and
the wines aged in each has a slightly different "seasoning" as a
result. To complicate matters, slightly, Manciat-Poncet works with one
importer whose preference is for lavishly-oaked wines and another whose
preference is more for wines which have no oak or merely a hint of
wood. The importer we purchase from prefers the wines which taste more
of the grape than of the lumber.
Pouilly-Fuissé we have is the "Les Crays" bottling, a wine which
shows just a bit of wood. One part of the wine is exposed to a
percentage of new barrels, while most is matured in seasoned, more neutral
oak. Large negociant firms such as Louis Jadot bottle a small lake's
worth of Pouilly-Fuissé which is rather bland, simple white wine of little
character. (And I'm being polite.)
Manciat-Poncet's wine actually has quite a bit of Chardonnay character and a
hint of wood.
- Their Macon-Charnay (Charnay is a village whose wines can be sold either
as Macon-Villages or Macon-Charnay) is a delicious, light, uncomplicated
white wine. It still has character, though, even though wood is not
part of the equation. The 2011 comes from a good vintage and the fruit
in this wine is reminiscent of the fragrance we get from a bucket of
fresh-picked apples from our friend's place in Woodside.
Delightful! It's an uncomplicated, yet delicious, wine.
- They make a bit of Pinot Noir and Gamay.
Simone organized a lovely lunch for us.
Crudités and Macon-Charnay.
This is a lovely combination!
Asparagus, Haricots Verts and Jerusalem Artichokes along with
some Pike Quenelles made for one nice lunch!
CURRENTLY IN STOCK:
2016 MACON-CHARNAY $14.99
A. et P. DE VILLAINE
isn't exactly the center of the universe when it comes to Burgundy.
It's a small appellation (and a new one, at that) which is devoted to the
white grape, Aligoté. When wine connoisseurs visit Burgundy,
Bouzeron is almost certainly on the itinerary. Visiting there
would be a bit like heading to a fancy car dealer and taking a spin on a
scooter, instead of test-driving a Bentley.
The Bouzeron appellation was created in 1998 and today it
comprises about 52 hectares of vineyards and there are perhaps a dozen vintners
who offer wine of this designation from La Côte Chalonnaise.
The most famous is this domaine, which is run by the main man of the Domaine de
la Romanée-Conti, Aubert de Villaine. He's the "A", while his
wife Pamela is the "P." She's the first cousin, by the way, of
Carneros (Napa) grower, Larry Hyde. They have a modest estate in Bouzeron,
with about half the production devoted to this looked-down-upon grape. The
domaine, these days, is run by Aubert's nephew, Pierre De Benoist.
Aligoté, however, was, once-upon-a-time, more highly regarded and even
cultivated in such esteemed appellations as Pernand-Vergelesses and
Meursault. There still may be scattered plantings in those towns and in
other places around Burgundy, but it's typically cultivated in places where you
wouldn't bother with the more noble Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.
In Bouzeron, however, it's a different story: Aligoté is cultivated
exclusively on slopes and not on flat land. Not surprisingly, what is
often a meager, skinny, runt-of-a-wine in other areas, produces a somewhat more
interesting white wine in Bouzeron.
I don't want you to think this is a wine of the complexity of a major league
White Burgundy. It is not.
It is, though, a very enjoyable, stony, minerally, bone dry white wine which may
strike you as being sort of like a crisp Sancerre with the minerality of a good
Chablis. It's a good partner for shellfish starters as it will provide a
lovely contrast with a more complex and opulent wine with the main course.
Currently in stock: 2014 DE VILLAINE
family traces its history in Chablis back to the year 1690. Three
hundred and fifteen years later, we finally bought some wine from
them. I'm sure they're hoisting a glass of bubbly to celebrate.
We've tasted various vintages of the Lamblin's simple "Bourgogne
Blanc" and typically found the wine to be well-made, crisp, nodding in
the direction of Chablis. The 2005-2015 bottlings were very good and now the
2016 vintage is here...quite nice! And it's selling for but twelve
bucks and change! There's a touch of
the minerally, lime-like, appley, mildly mushroomy note...sort of Chablis-Meets-Vouvray
(except no sugar). It tastes like it
comes from Chablis or near Chablis and is a good example of non-oaked
We like this paired with steamed clams, pâté, cold chicken and other light
fare. The Lamblin's suggest serving this with cream-sauced
fish. Your mileage may vary.
Currently in stock: 2016 LAMBLIN "Bourgogne - Chardonnay"
GERALD & PHILIBERT TALMARD
is a father and son team located in the village of Uchizy in Macon.
They actually have holdings in a couple of places and produce
attractively-priced, crisp, snappy Chardonnays.
They make two wines, one from Uchizy and the other from the town of
Chardonnay (yes, the grape is Chardonnay and the town is called
We stock the Macon-Chardonnay and this has been a frequent offering here
in the shop since the 1980s!
The wine is not exposed to wood and it's a simple, crisp, bright dry white
wine. You won't confuse this with Montrachet, but then, you can buy
cases and cases of Talmard Macon for the price of a single bottle of
Currently in stock: 2017 TALMARD
Nothing fancy in the cellar...just typical, easy-to-clean stainless steel
tanks, some bottling and labeling equipment, a few wine glasses and, voila!
HOT AIR IN MERCUREY
Françoise & Denis Clair
is a well-below-the-radar domaine, situated in the village of Saint Aubin,
an appellation that's a good place to scout for wines if you're looking
One of our favorite white Burgundy producers is Pierre Yves Colin-Morey
and his Saint Aubin wines are superior to many wines from far more
expensive appellations such as Chassagne and Puligny Montrachet.
The wines from the Clair estate are especially handsome in terms of
They started out with five hectares of Santenay and have since grown to
about 15 hectares. Their son now is working for the domaine, too.
We have a really terrific Saint Aubin from the premier cru climat called
The juice is fermented in oak, with perhaps 15% of the barrels being new.
We like the mildly toasty notes on the nose here...classic White
Burgundy. The wine is dry, of course, and has nice, crisp
- We have the 2014 in the shop
presently...you can enjoy this now or hold on to it for another 5+ years.
stock: 2014 FRANÇOISE & DENIS CLAIR SAINT AUBIN 1er Cru
"Les Frionnes" $37.99
- More White