Nuits-Saint-Georges (April, 2016) after severe frosts ravaged the vineyards. (photo: J. McIlwain)

A Bit of Spring Cleaning in the Fall - Burgundy Edition

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Despite our best efforts to keep the cellar organized, on occasion there are some beautiful wines which manage to fall between the cracks. Often, a vintage change necessitates making room for new bottles and there are a few odd bottles on the racks, sadly neglected. Today we'd like to offer a few of these strays in order to find them loving homes. There are some real gems on this list, which provides a fine opportunity to back-fill one's cellar with some splendid Burgundy. We would also note, that between the short harvests of the past few vintages and the terrible frost of 2016, prices on new vintages are higher and allocations slimmer, so now's an excellent time to squirrel away a few bottles for that rainy day. Happy hunting! John McIlwain

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Buisson, Henri & Gilles 2012 St. Romain Blanc Sous la Velle

Sous Velle, comprised of limestone, clay, and marls produces Chardonnay which is vibrant and fairly muscular. (It is also home to a beautiful wild cherry tree whose blossoms perfume the air should you be lucky enough visit in the spring when it blooms.) The 2012 vintage is floral, yellow-fruited and a hint leesy on the nose with hints of nectarine and pear skin. On the palate the wine is amalgam of ripe pear, fine acids, zesty acidity, and has a savory sense of minerality. There's great energy here with a pungent core of stoniness beneath the fruit. Really fun to drink now with a roasted chicken or baked halibut, this should knit further with a couple years in the bottle and pair beautifully with a washed-rind cheese such as Epoisses or Grayson. John McIlwain

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Buisson , Henri & Gilles 2013 St. Romain Blanc Absolu Sans-Soufre

As much as a rich meal such a Thanksgiving makes one think of richer, more powerful reds, one should never be afraid to use this occasion to embrace the idea of WWWP (white wine whenever possible). Bright acid and minerality will cleanse the palate and can lift the spirits. Organic Burgundy grower Henri and Gilles Buisson produce one of our favorites from their beautiful vines in St. Romain overlooking the Côte de Beaune. The cooler vineyard sites produce nervy white Burgundy which has a great tension between effusive citrus peel and floral perfume and a distinctly mineral palate. The Absolu bottling is made completely without SO2 which lends even more aromatic purity, and greater clarity to the fruit. John McIlwain

The Buisson family is constantly experimenting in the vineyard and the cellar, pushing ever closer towards the goal of not using any chemicals or additives (pesticides, herbicides, sulfur, etc.) during any part of the winemaking process. Obtaining organic certification by ECOCERT in 2009 was a big step in the right direction, and their addition of the two Absolu cuvées to their current lineup of wines is a marked commitment to their efforts. The Absolu Saint-Romain Blanc is vinified the same way as their other cuvées but forgoes the addition of sulfur at bottling. This truly adds another dimension to an already thoughtful and delicious wine giving it an energy and texture that only comes from naturally made wines. Vivid fruit and nut aromas mingle with a delicate spiciness on the nose and the palate is sharp, a touch salty, and very fresh. It’s not often you are able to taste a sulfured wine alongside its sans soufre companion so that makes for a fantastic experiment! Tim Gagnon

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Chauvenet 2012 Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Perrieres

From .23 hectare of vines dating back to 1948 between the parcels farmed by Gouges and Regis Forey. Les Perrières high on the slope between Les Poulettes and Les Poirets. The soil contains many stones which retain heat and Christophe Drag says this is the first vineyard harvested after the Bougogne. As Clive Coates has noted, somewhat atypically for Nuits St. Georges, the wines from this climat are more floral and feminine though certainly displaying great minerality. The 2012 Les Perrières is effusively floral with cherry blossoms and white flowers giving way to bright, pure cherry aromas and notes of spice. In the mouth it shows pretty black cherry, herb, and minerals on a medium bodied, but fine, palate with good sap and excellent energy following through on the lilting finish. John McIlwain

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Rapet, Père et Fils 2011 Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Ile des Vergelesses

Ile des Vergelesses is certainly one of the best premier cru vineyards in Burgundy — a perfectly exposed mid-slope vineyard on limestone and iron-rich soils, steep enough for ideal drainage, producing wines that age beautifully for 15 to 20 years. The 2011 is a superb young wine with subtle red-currant aromas, with floral, spice and berry notes emerging. Lovely deep but high-toned fruit on the palate, really elegant and bright, wrapped in seamless tannin and acidity. Terrific length of berry fruits and saline acids. Decant to enjoy now for it's bright, youthful fruit and terroir expression — ideally hold for 6 to 8 years and enjoy until 2030.

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Rapet, Père et Fils 2012 Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Ile des Vergelesses

(The 2014s have arrived - take advantage of these discounted prices on the last of our 2012s and 2013s! ) Ile des Vergelesses is certainly one of the best premier cru vineyards in Burgundy — a perfectly exposed mid-slope vineyard on limestone and iron-rich soils, steep enough for ideal drainage, producing wines that age beautifully for 15 to 20 years. The 2012 is a superb young wine with subtle red-currant aromas, with floral, spice, mineral and cherry notes emerging. Lovely deep black cherry fruit on the palate, really elegant and sappy with earth and mineral flavors , wrapped in seamless tannin and acidity. Terrific length of berry fruits and saline acids. Decant to enjoy now for it's youthful fruit and terroir expression — ideally hold for 6 to 8 years and enjoy until 2030. 

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