The region of Burgundy has enjoyed two successful vintages, very fine to excellent. The 2009s have shown remarkable forwardness—many are quite drinkable already—yet critics have noted that the wines have the structure to age. The 2010s proved more troublesome for growers, with frost damage, poor fruit set, and damaging hail. A perfect September with cool nights and warm (not hot) days allowed grapes to reach optimal ripeness with good acidity. The legendary vineyards cost what they cost—it has been ever thus—but they reward with all the sumptuous drama that great wines can offer. The lesser appellations present the joys of the region in more affordable form.
The region of Burgundy enjoys renown for its cuisine. The wines from Burgundy are made with that in mind. From the little appellations to the grandest of Crus, the wines are to be enjoyed at the table.
Bourgogne “Les Sétilles”, Olivier Leflaive $19.99
At the median price for California chardonnay, a wine made from grapes grown in the famed villages of Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet. Seems like that right there provides enough sell for this wine. Add that Olivier Leflaive is a scion of the renowned Domaine Leflaive, and you ought to be even more intrigued. A superior value for a classically-styled burgundy. Precisely drawn fruit with the clear voice of the terroir where the grapes were grown. Highly recommended!
Chablis-Vaillons, Simonnet-Febvre $27.99
The Chablis vineyards suffered severe frost damage in 1985. Since then, prices have been stratospheric for the Grand Crus. The Premier Cru as well, but here’s an exception. English wine critic Jancis Robinson calls this wine “distinguished”, and indeed it is If you have never tasted Chablis, the ultimate shellfish wine, this is a great place to start. The combination of lemony, buttery fruit with racy mineral flavors provides an ideal match with shellfish, and with all manner of seafood.
Bourgogne Blanc, Tollot-Beaut $39.99
A small, respected producer located in Chorey-Les Beaune, this producer makes well-scaled, predominantly red wines. This impressive chardonnay shows that they have the handle on whites, as well. Full and rounded, with a defined mineral element, this is no ordinary Bourgogne. Tollot-Beaut typically performs green harvest during the summer. After fruit set, workers carefully removed bunches to limit production and concentrate flavor.
Meursault, Oliver Leflaive $41.99
The commune with the most vineyard acreage in the Cote-de-Beaune, the wines of Meursault appeal with power and ripeness. According to Leflaive, the chalky, calcareous soil adds to the aging potential of the wine. Being an 09, it already shows the lush drama of the vintage. A real treat!
Chassagne-Montrachet “Vergers”, Philippe Colin $79.99
Chassagne-Montrachet “Morgeot”, Bruno Colin $79.99
It is typical of Burgundy that you will see repetitions of family names among producers. Philippe and Bruno are the sons of legendary producer Michel Colin. Michel gave parcels of his domaine to his sons. The tradition carries on in fine fettle with eye-poppingly delicious wines from two of Chassagen’s 1er Crus.
Meursault-Charmes 1er Cru, Oliver Leflaive $94.99
Fun fact: Charmes means communal land allowed to lie fallow, like a New En gland green. Fat, rich, and buttery, this is classic Burgundy from a great vintage. For the most special occasions.
Cote de Brouilly, Potel-Aviron $17.99
This is a cru Beaujolais, but wait! Produced in the old style, it is a wine of Burgundian depth and distinction. The vineyards of Cote de Brouilly sit on an extinct volcano, Mt Brouilly. This wine comes from two separate parcels, one with 60 year old vines, the other with 40 year old ones. Those old vines do not produce prolifically but the resultant wines enjoy great concentration. The wines age in new and old oak for a year. Delicious now, it can cellar for 10 or more years, becoming more and more burgundian.
Bourgogne Rouge, Tollot-Beaut $39.99
Though the appellation suggests the extent of the region, Tollot-Beaut is only using fruit from a focused part of Burgundy. That is to say, the large négotiants may gather wines from all over, to produce a solid wine for daily enjoyment, small producers like Tollot-Beaut deliver from their own domaine, with the opportunity to assert local terroir. Really a great deal in red Burdundy.
Pommard, Drouhin $49.99
Ready to please you, this is Burgundy for the here and now. Not to say it lacks structure or aging potential, but this wine offers sparkling fruit and plenty of depth. Pommard is the classic Burgundy, not to stand in awe of, but to enjoy on a sumptuous table.
Chambolle-Musigny, G. Roumier $124.99
Vosne-Romanée “Les Beaux Monts”, J. Grivot $149.99
A couple of superstars of a superstar vintage. We have just a few bottles remaining. Replacement, if even possible, will be much more expensive. A gift for yourself, or others.
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