Burgundy 2010: Outstanding and Affordable!

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You might think that these are mutually exclusive terms in Burgundy especially for a vintage of fine quality that was 30% to 50% down in quantity from 2009. Indeed, access to wines from growers like Mugneret-Gibourg, Lafarge, Bachelet, etc., will be very limited and prices will be high. Happily, Chambers Street has been sourcing wines from excellent but lesser-known estates that will provide fantastic quality and value in this very interesting vintage. As most of you are aware, the wines are stylistically appealing, particlarly to those who found the well regarded 2005s and 2009s to be a bit too concentrated and alcoholic. Alcohol levels in 2010 range from 12 to 13 degrees, and acidity levels are firm. The wines are light to medium-bodied, have great purity and complexity of fruit and have fine tannins that lead to fabulous length and mineral character in the finish. The growers represented in this email have produced particularly good wines in 2010.

Domaine Bart, Marsannay - The energetic Martin Bart produces lovely single-vineyard Marsannays as well as Fixin, Bonnes Mares and Chambertin Clos de Beze. Champs Salomon is a great mid-slope parcel giving full, well-structured wines, while Les Echezots, a bit further north and higher on the slope, gives a brighter more delicate style.

Domaine Rapet, Roland and Vincent, Pernand-Vergelesses - The wines of Vincent Rapet seem to get better and better each year. Great vineyard and cellar work including "griffage," a scraping of the soil rather than deep plowing, harvesting by hand into small baskets, no pumping of the juice, no over-extraction and moderate (20%) new oak. The 1er Cru Les Vergelesses is particularly good in 2010, from clay/gravel soils over limestone, very high in iron.

Domaine Jean and Gilles Lafouge, Auxey-Duresses - 2010 is a great vintage at this wonderfully old-fashioned estate. Our tasting there in February was a fabulous lesson in terroir, from the intensely mineral Meursault Les Meix-Chavaux to the superbly elegant Pommard 1er Cru les Chanlins. All these wines are excellent values and are highly recommended.

Domaine Stephane Magnien, Morey Saint-Denis - This four-hectare estate is totally unknown in the US, but is making superbly elegant and transparent Burgundies. Herbicides have never been used, fertilizing is with organic composts, there is minimal new oak and minimal extraction. These are beautiful light-bodied wines of great finesse.

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Bart 2010 Marsannay Les Echezots

This excellent east-facing vineyard on the upper slope in Marsannay has shallow soils loaded with marine fossils and gives a light-bodied aromatic wine. The vines average about 40 to 50 years-old, a mix of clones, massale selection and pinot fin. In 2010 the fruit is high-toned chalky strawberry and black-cherry, dense without weight and with good length and acidity. We buy this wine every year from the jovial young Martin Bart; it's a nice glass of Burgundy for drinking over the next five to eight years, at a great price.

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Bart 2010 Marsannay Champs Salomon

From one of the best mid-slope vineyards in Marsannay. In some vintages this wine seems a bit too heavy, and we often buy only the higher elevation Les Echezots and Les Saints-Jaques.  In 2010, however Martin Bart's Champs Solomon is really lovely. We quote the recent review from John Gilman's "View from the Cellar."  "... a very classy wine on both the nose and the palate, delivering a complex bouquet of black cherries, cassis, grilled meat, a touch of bonfire, lovely soil tones and a gentle base of cedary wood. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, pure and complex, with a black fruity personality tied to superb transparency. The finish is long, shows great backend minerality and is modestly tannic, with tangy acids and lovely focus and grip. This is really a high class bottle of red Burgundy and a bargain at it's price."

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  • $27.99

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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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, Père et Fils 2010 Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru Aux Fournaux

The Rapets own a parcel that includes both the lieu-dit and the 1er Cru Aux Fournaux. The premier cru side is on much thinner, better drained soil and gives a lovely round and elegant wine similar to Lavieres. It's particularly fine and elegant in 2010 with super red and black fruits and good acidity, very focused and long — this will drink well young and cellar for 10 to 15 years.

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Rapet 2010 Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Les Vergelesses

In our enthusiasm for the 1er Cru Ile des Vergelesses we sometimes neglect its neighbor across the road, but in 2010 the Rapet Les Vergelesses is simply outstanding! The soil is a bit richer here with iron-rich clay and gravel giving wines with more body and tannin. A melange of red fruits, violets and earth on the nose, the palate is ripe and pure with great balance and a very long and stylish finish. Ideally, put this away for 5 to 8 years...

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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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Lafouge 2010 Auxey-Duresses Rouge

One of our favorite, if somewhat unknown domains of Burgundy, Jean Lafouge and his son Gilles make classic, balanced, beautiful Burgundies at affordable prices. Their village level Auxey-Duresses is always lovely and a great value — here's John Gilman's review of the 2010: "The 2010 Auxey "villages" from Domaine Lafouge will drink very well indeed with only a few years of bottle age and shows off the great purity and transparency of the vintage. The young and classy nose offers up scents of cherries, a touch of quince woodsmoke, gamebirds, incipient notes of sous bois and a gently spicy topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, fullish, pure and nicely structured, with good mid-palate depth, moderate tannins and a long, tangy and soil driven finish. Best 2015 to 2030."

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Lafouge 2010 Meursault Les Casses Tetes

"Casses-Tetes" is a vineyard high on the slope in Meursault on thin soils giving racy, mineral wines. We've never tasted a bad vintage of this wine, chez Lafouge, and in 2010 it's really outstanding. Subtle aromas of citrus and stony acids, terrific weight and length on the palate with white fruits, lemon and earthy acidity. Intense, lean, elegant and long, this lovely wine is the antithesis of flabby, over-oaked Chardonnay. Highly recommended!

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Lafouge 2010 Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru La Chapelle

The Lafouge trio of 1er Cru Auxey-Duresses all showed well during our visit on a freezing cold day last February. The La Chapelle had lovely earthy cherry and raspberry aromas, the palate was full but not heavy, round and elegant, balanced by great mineral acids . Red fruit confit lingering in the finish — really a lovely well-balanced wine. Enjoyable now, this will be best with a few years in the cellar and will drink well till 2030...

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Lafouge 2010 Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru Les Duresses

Lovely cherry and blackfruit aromas, hints of earth and citrus, fairly full on the palate, very chalky with good acidity and length. As with the La Chapelle, this is enjoyable now but will benefit from a few years in the cellar and will keep nicely another 10 — 15 years. Highly recommended.

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Lafouge 2010 Pommard 1er Cru Les Chanlins

This is a terrific Pommard with deep super-elegant aromas of cherry, strawberry and citrus with earthy complexity. The palate is deep and fine with chalky tannins, lovely red fruits and great acidity and length. Jean and Gilles Lafouge are making oustanding traditional Burgundies that are real wines of terroir — their Chanlins is an excellent value in this great vintage. Highly recommended.

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Magnien, Stephane 2010 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Les Faconnieres

On very stony soil, just below Clos de la Roche. Beautiful red fruits, raspberry, strawberry, red currant. The palate is dense but not heavy, as with all these wines, with fabulous balance. Lovely length of fruit in the finish with bright acidity, highly recommended!

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Magnien, Stephane 2010 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Aux Petits Noix

From two premier crus, Les Gruenchers and Clos Baulet, mid slope in Morey Saint-Denis, giving a slightly fuller wine than Faconnieres. As with all of Stephane's parcels, there is a high percentage of old vines of "pinot tordu." Elegant dark fruit aromas, the palate is the most dense and round of the 1er crus, with hints of earth, coffee, spice. Fabulous length and depth in this wine that should cellar beautifully. Great juice!

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Magnien, Stephane 2010 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Sentiers

Les Sentiers is a superb premier cru, just below Bonnes Mares, north of the village. This had just been bottled, before our February visit, and was a bit shut down aromatically. The palate showed the lovely combination of lightness and density in all Magnien's 2010s, very supple and elegant with perfect acidity. Intense cherry/strawberry fruit with a very slight oak presence. This should age beautifully — Stephan pointed out the variety of terroirs in Les Sentiers (and in Bonnes Mares) giving the wines a bit more muscular style than other Chambolles.

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Billard 2010 Bourgogne Pinot Noir

Laurence Jobard (formerly of Drouhin) and her sister Mireille Desmonet make this lovely Bourgogne Rouge from vines around Pommard. 2010 is a good vintage here with bright cherry and berry fruit and a nicely balanced palate — it's light and refreshing, a great everyday Pinot Noir at a great price!

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