2012 Annual White Burgundy Round-Up!

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Summer is here and for us this means it's time to stock the refrigerator with white Burgundy. Let us draw your attention to the Summer Solstice, the day all of our Druid friends have been waiting for, the longest day of the year. For us this means an additional, languorous stretch of daylight in which to relax over a leisurely meal and a meaningful bottle of wine. Clichéd it may be, but we find the flavors of cool Chardonnay and Aligoté from anywhere in Burgundy - whether it's a fresh, citrusy Mâcon wine from the southern edge of the region, a full-flavored and powerful wine from the Côte de Beaune, or a steely and razor sharp wine from Chablis - to harmonize perfectly with farmer's market bounty, the fresh seafood and vegetables, not to mention the mood of summer.  

 

We like to say about Chardonnay that it is amongst the most terroir expressive and age-worthy white grapes. In fact there is such variety amongst white Burgundies that we feel compelled to offer a little bit of direction. Mâconnais wines from the southern part of Burgundy include Mâcon, Saint-Véran, and Pouilly-Fuissé, and they are - for the most part - light and fresh. We like these wines on their own or with salads, vegetables, raw seafood, and simple fish preparations. The more substantial Pouilly-Fuissés and Mâcon-Viré wines are more full flavored, wonderful alongside richer foods such as fish and chicken with rich sauces. The Côte Chalonnaise has great values in wines like Rully, Montagny, Mercurey, and Givry, which also have more body and intensity than the typical bright Chardonnay from the south of the region. In the Côte de Beaune we find the very famous and fantastic wines: Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet, and Corton- Charlemagne. These are wines to ponder over the course of a meal as they open up to reveal mellow, earthy flavors and powerful finishes. We attempt, at all times, to stock mature Côte de Beaune white wines so that the drinker may experience where these wines go with age. From the lesser known appellations/villages like Pernand-Vergelesses, Saint-Aubin, Monthélie, and Auxey-Duresses, come great buys from the Côte D'Or. Please note the wonderful and traditionally styled wines of Prudhon and Rapet in Pernand-Vergelesses. In Chablis there is a great range from the modest and affordable Chablis AC up through the Premier Crus and up to the fantastic Grand Crus. We have a lovely range of well-priced AC Chablis for your drinking pleasure this summer, also the beautiful 2010 Vézelay Blanc from Patrick Bringer of Domaines les Faverelles.
 

Our suggestion (also what we'll be doing ourselves) is to make a trip to your local Farmer's market for fresh produce, fish, and poultry, chill down a bottle of white Burgundy and enjoy a long, lazy summer evening... and, please, if you're in need of a suggestion or two, we are always here to help. -jbt

 

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Sabre, Fanny 2009 Meursault Sous La Velle

One of the most memorable wines I have tasted in the past several months, this is a wine to buy and drink. Dense with honeyed, ripe orchard fruit on the nose, the palate is quite intense, almost explosive with sappy fruit, acid, and mineral. Normally when we think of Meursault, we think of the big names: Coche-Dury, Jobard... Sabre's Meursault shares the quality of lactic intensity that marks the village with these big guys, but with just beautiful, vibrant fruit and resounding structure. The wine is swoon-worthy. -msb  

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Lafouge 2010 Auxey-Duresses Les Boutonniers (Blanc)

We have not purchased this cuvée from Lafouge for a few years, but at our tasting at the domain in February, it really stood out and was a beautiful example of this excellent vintage in Burgundy.  Very lovely floral and white fruit aromas, slightly honeyed white and citrus fruits on the palate with great balance. Superb acid and mineral character. Long and racy, dry but with subtle, expressive fruit, really lovely for a village wine...

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Lafouge 2010 Meursault Les Meix Chavaux

We buy the Lafouge 'Meix Chavaux" every year, although in warm vintages it can be a bit too ripe for some palates. In 2010, it sings! Here's John Gilman's recent review: "In my experience, the Lafouge parcel of 82 year-old vines in Meix Chavaux produce one of the best "lieu-dit" bottlings in the village... The 2010 has turned out splendidly, jumping from the glass in a deep and superb blend of apple, pear, gentle notes of almond, stony minerality and a topnote of white flowers. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, pure and racy, with beautiful mid-palate depth, ripe acids and a long, nicely reserved and very promising finish. A beautiful wine. Drink 2014-2030.

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Lafouge 2009 Meursault Les Casses Tetes

High on the slope above the premier cru Goutte d'Or, the Casse Tetes vineyard is a mass of stone with thin soils giving wines with high acidity and mineral flavors on the palate. The 2009 version is superb with subtle aromas of white fruits and citrus, and an elegant stony middle with great length and acidity even in this ripe vintage. A rare and wonderful wine!

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Colin, Bruno 2007 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru En Remilly

Chassagne Montrachet  1er Cru en Remilly is a tiny vineyard  (1.56 hectare) right next to Chevalier Montrachet.  This racy and elegant wine has great fruit character, good acidity and a stony minerality.  It is elegant and has real breed and finesse and a very, very long finish.  It is a great value for a top white Burgundy and is very nearly Grand Cru in quality for $59.99

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Bonneau du Martray 1980 Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru

Bonneau du Martray Corton Charlemagne is a very long lived wine and 1980 was a good vintage but...this wine was probably better a few years ago.   It has been perfectly stored and the color is bright and clear and I enjoyed the bottle that I had.  It can be a wonderful birthday gift for the right person if they love mature White Burgundy.  If you want a chardonnay with lots of fresh young fruit then I recommend you try something else. -jbt

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Prudhon 2007 Saint-Aubin 1er Cru La Chatenière

Henri Prudhon's 2007 whites have just arrived, here's Burghound on the Chateniere "A complex and layered nose blends together notes of citrus peel, white flowers and ground stone plus nuances of clove and anise that are reflected by the almost painfully intense middle weight flavors that possess superb underlying tension, all wrapped in an explosive and palate staining finish. This is a wine of energy and personality that possesses truly impressive length." It seems he likes it...

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Litaud 2010 Saint-Véran Les Pommards

Saint-Véran lies in the Mâcon just south of Pouilly near the border with Beaujolais. Litaud produces this wonderful Chardonnay from the "Les Pommards" vineyard, widely considered one of the finest locations in Saint-Véran. Made from 40 to 50-year old vines, it has a refreshing absence of oak, packed with ripe tropical scents and buttery flavors which complement the mineral and spicy elements. This is an oustanding Macon wine, with the better acidity and balance of the excellent 2010 vintage.

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Litaud, Jean-Jacques 2010 Mâcon Vergisson Vieilles Pierres

Litaud's Mâcon-Vergisson is grown in hillside vineyards next to Pouilly-Fuissé. Picked late for maximum ripeness, the wine retains an earthy quality and good acidity. A great value in White Burgundy!

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Litaud 2010 Pouilly-Fuisse La Roche Vieilles Vignes

The affable Jean-Jaques Litaud produces this lovely Pouilly-Fuissé from old vines (some up to 100 years-old) in "La Roche"  one of the finest parcels in the AOC on the southeast facing slope of Vergisson, with limestone/clay soils. Litaud harvests by hand and likes to pick a bit late giving rich wines with complex citrus and exotic fruit aromas. No new oak is used in aging this wine, allowing the mineral character to shine through in the intense, mouth-coating finish. 2010 is a great vintage here with the generous fruit off-set by good acidity.

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Rapet, Père et Fils 2010 Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Sous Fretille

The premier cru "Sous Frétille" is on a south-facing slope directly behind the hill of Corton. 2010 is a superb vintage for this wine — elegant white fruit and floral aromas, fabulous density and mineral acids on the palate, terrific length. Although this will provide exciting drinking when young, 5 to 15 years in the cellar should bring out the power and depth of this lovely wine.

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Rapet 2010 Pernand-Vergelesses Les Combottes (Blanc)

"The Rapets have been making wine (in Pernand) for more than two centuries and the wines are now very exciting" says Clive Coates. Our yearly tastings with the modest Vincent Rapet are fabulous lessons in un-forced, terroir expressive winemaking. 2011 gave slightly less acid whites than 2010, this being a bit riper and softer as a young wine but nicely balanced and showing lovely acid/mineral character. Whites in Pernand often have an ethereal, stony, herbal character overlying the pretty white fruits — in 2011 there's a bit more fat making the wine more immediately accessible.  Really lovely white Burgundy at a reasonable price.

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Roally (Gautier Thévenet) 2010 Viré-Clessé

Under the original owner, Henri Goyard, this was one of the finest of all Macon wines (and one of the greatest values in White Burgundy) and the tradition has continued under the talented young Gautier Thevenet of Domaine Bongran. The 2010 has just arrived — we look forward to trying it — it's a good vintage in the Macon and this wine should be delicious young and age-worthy also.

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Vignes du Maynes 2011 Macon-Cruzille Aragonite

Julien Guillot's Aragonite is a great bottle of white burgundy. The aromas are very subtle and expressive of the wines firm acidity. Citrus peel and stony flavors on the palate with crystalline acids and hints of white fruits. Left alone for a few days the wine softens, with exotic fruit flavors emerging but still subtle and balanced. Think of a drier and more mineral version of Thevenet's superb Bongran. Decant for best current drinking or keep open, re-corked, for a few days.

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Roulot, Guy 2010 Monthelie Les Champs-Fulliot

This tiny vineyard lies just outside of the Meursault appellation. Very bright and lively with very good structure and an attractive bitterness on the finish. A powerful wine that has lots of the characteristics of Domaine Roulot's bigger wines. Better than many other producers Meursault 1er Crus. -jbt

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Matrot, Thierry et Pascale 2011 Bourgogne Chardonnay

Certainly among the best values in White Burgundy, Thierry and Pascale Matrot make this lovely wine from certified organic grapes grown in a parcel adjacent to Meursault. There is a long fermentation in barrel with wild yeasts followed by 11 months sur lie élevage. This is a crowd-pleasing Burgundy at a great price and highly recommended!

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Faverelles 2010 Bourgogne Vezelay Blanc

This is such a pretty bottle of wine, from its label to its green wax cap to the lovely Chardonnay in the bottle. Former bookseller, Patrick Bringer, owns six hectares of vines surrounding the organic village of Asquins in the Vézelay appellation (close to Chablis in the Yonne department of northern France). This is a super wine for De Moor lovers to try. It has some of the same soft, lactic, and stone fruity qualities of De Moor's Chablis, Aligotés, and Sauvignons. The soft textures and ripe flavors are balanced by apple-y acidity. Charming! -msb

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