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Fresh and cool-toned aromatically, the 2016 Philippe Chavy Bourgogne Blanc balances charm and energy at a civilized (for white Burgundy) price point. Meyer lemon, white flower and stone fruit aromas dominate the nose. The briskly fresh palate displays citrus peel, white apricot, and stony flavors on a succulent and zesty finish with good mineral detail. A fine aperitif, but with enough depth to grace the table with shellfish, sea bass, and milder cheeses. John McIlwain
Here's a rarity, a new organic grower in Chablis. Brothers Romain and Damien Bouchard whose father Pascal is a famed negotiant. In 2015 their father sold the winery and passed on his vines to the sons who've built a new winery and begun the process of organic certification. The wines are fermented with natural yeasts and aged in stainless steel and bottled with minimal sulfur. The 2016 Beauroy 1er cru from the left bank of the Serein river is bright, high-toned and redolent of white flowers and sea spray on the nose. The palate is fresh, vibrant and nervy with punchy flavors of lemon zest, apple peel, and chalk on a galloping finish. This has great tension between the pungent mineral notes and ripe orchard fruit with a compelling, cool savory herbal notes. The Bouchard brothers are vignerons to watch. John McIlwain
From .75 hectares of organically farmed vines dating from 1995 high on the hillside on the western end of the climat (per Jasper Morris). Fermented in wood with native yeasts without batonnage and bottled with minimal sulfur. The vibrant 2017 Mont de Milieu is perfumed , yellow-fruited, generous, and pretty on the nose. There's a dynamic interplay between the ripe citrus and stone fruit flavors and the snappy oyster shell saltiness on the brisk, energetic palate with a long, lingering succulent finish. Terrific now, but certainly a good candidate for mid-term aging. John McIlwain
From .57 hectares of organically farmed vines dating to 1992. The 2017 Vaudésir Grand Cru has an expressive nose redolent of lemon blossom, citrus peel, white peach skin and wet stone. The supple palate has good concentration and cut with the ripe stone fruit flavors framed by a sapid earthiness and a long, lifted, expansive finish. This has grand cru class and is a delicious Vaudésir. Decant now or cellar for 5-7 years and beyond. Highly recommended. John McIlwain
The 2016 Montmains from Duplessis shows great poise and nuance that belies the struggles of the early portion of the vintage, first with calamitous frost and then with two straight months of rain (and attendant disease pressure). Yet what’s in the bottle is generous and vibrant, if not as flamboyant, as Chablis from other growers such as Fevre, Billaud-Simon, or Dauvissat. The robe is a pale greenish yellow to the rim. The nose offers aromas of stone fruit and golden apple, white flowers, and a touch of brine with some notes of pear skin and mint. The palate is supple on the attack with flavors veering more toward orchard fruits than citrus and a building a sense of minerality on the mid-palate that carries over on the persistent and building finish. This has a rather subtle expression of the left bank of the Serein terroir, that while nuanced becomes more intriguing with each sip. Rather more Chopin than Sousa, but quite agreeable. A fine pairing with pan-roasted scallops, sautéed white corn and braised scallions, and an heirloom tomato salad. Fine texture and breed that would be lovely with crab and pasta or grilled oysters with garlic butter. This should knit beautifully over the next few years in the cellar, but a is sheer joy to drink now. John McIlwain
One of my favorites wines from the vintage and if anyone is thinking of a great gift for the Burgundy lover, this is a fine selection. The 2016 Fichet Meursault Les Tessons has a gold-green robe. Upon opening there’s a fair amount of reduction with aromas of citrus, ripe apple, and stone, which give way after a couple of hours to ripe orchard fruit, hazelnut, wet stones, and lemon curd. The mid-weight palate offers a firm core of minerality with fine density and pure, vibrant ripe fruit that offers a perfect balance of richness to accompany a deeply stony, palate-staining finish. This is a truly beautiful Tessons that should age effortlessly. I love Fichet’s wines, but this is truly beautiful and emotionally satisfying. I’d lay this down for 5-8 years and enjoy for the next 15-20. A truly fantastic Tessons and shows just how adept Jean-Philippe Fichet is in even hugely difficult vintages. John McIlwain
The robe is a pale lemon yellow with glints of green to the rim. A bit of reduction and gun flint on opening. This blows off quickly to reveal inviting floral aromas of apple blossom and honeysuckle, giving way to pretty notes of orchard fruit, Meyer lemon oil, wet stone, and herbs. The palate is supple and generous, with ripe citrus and stone fruit flavors underpinned by a discriminating core of stony flavors with a long, compelling succulent finish with a nice burst of fresh acidity at the end. This is already revealing nascent complexity, though I’m inclined to believe this will knit beautifully and shows a nice upside. I’ll concede to loving Fichet’s wines and consider him to be one of the great, albeit lesser known vignerons in a village seemingly overrun with fantastic growers. This is really satisfying and a truly lovely Meursault villages. John McIlwain
From vines dating to 1918 located beneath Meursault Charmes. Always one of Jean-Philippe's most mineral-inflected wines.
"Les Boutonniers" is contiguous with Meursault "Meix Chavaux" on shallow soils of clay, high in iron, over the limestone bedrock, usually giving a somewhat lean and very "mineral" white Burgundy, but still with a bit more fat and fruit expression than the Lafouge "Les Hautés." The 2016 shows very floral aromas with pear, citrus and stone. The palate is crystalline, supple and dense, with nice weight on the palate, with pretty white fruits leading to a long finish with citrus peel, spice and mineral flavors. This is a lovely, very refreshing Burgundy to enjoy with grilled fish, roast chicken and goat cheeses. It's delicious now and will cellar nicely for eight to ten years. DL
From a north-facing parcel fairly high on the slope next to Meursault Les Vireuils. The Lafouge "Les Hautés" is a beautifully dense and well-structured Burgundy in this low-yielding vintage. The wine shows a bright gold color with aromas of spiced pear and apple, melon, honeysuckle, stone, flint and lemon zest. The palate is dense and well structured with ripe white fruits, toasted almond, citrus and flinty mineral flavors - quite ripe but with firm citrusy acids and fabulous length. Serve now with sole meunier, turbot and cod - this will be a beautiful wine with 5 to 8 years of cellaring. David Lillie
The Meursault lieu-dit Les Casses Têtes is located on the hillside above the premier cru Les Gouttes d'Or and next to Le Tesson. The soils are thin and rocky producing wines of great energy and lift.Green-gold robe. White flowers, honeysuckle, lemon blossom, faint creaminess on the nose with aromas of wet stone, citrus peel and pith following. This is bright and cool-toned aromatically, and not just a bit reticent on opening. The palate is nervy and electric on the attack with a salty mineral cast, followed by flavors of orchard fruit, lemon curd, and hints of green tea on a lean, albeit concentrated mid-palate with a pleasing bit of bitterness on the succulent, rising finish. This is mouth-watering and has a coiled tension that hints at greater complexity to accompany the vibrant, juicy character at the moment. I like the energy and suspect this will put on weight and benefit from short to mid-term aging and beyond. On day 2 the wine has picked up weight and gras with more stone fruit flavors and still more mineral spice notes and layered complexity. The aromatics have taken on more dimension as well with richer fruit, a touch of toast, and a hint of sea spray. There is far more here than meets the eye, so I'd decant if enjoying now or age for a few years to allow the elements to knit. Perhaps not cut from the same cloth as the excellent 2014, but fantastic energy and surprising depth the longer it's open. Paired with pan-roasted scallops, braised leeks, and Sea Island grits. Would likely be a splendid pairing with sautéed flounder and brown butter or poulet à la creme. For lovers of well-priced, pure Burgundies, Lafouge is always worth investigating. John McIlwain
Les Meix Chavaux is located beneath Les Luchets and adjacent to Les Chevalières. Lafouge's vines are 80 years old, planted in calcareous clay producing Meursault with textbook richness and minerality. "The bouquet is lovely, offering up a deep and youthful blend of pear, apple, hazelnut, a fine base of soil and a touch of lime peel in the upper register. On the palate, the wine is deep, full-bodied, pure and complex, with a fine core and very nice focus and grip on the long easy-going finish." John Gilman "The View from the Cellar."
"The Pouilly-Fuissé cuvée Pierrefolle is made from the only vineyard situated outside the Clos at Rontets: this plot is set only 500 meters south and is warmer because of its plain East exposure and the sheltered position from the North wind. This climat has older geological origins, preceding the Jurassic era: it sits on a granitic bedrock and its soil has no clay or limestone. This is why at the beginning of the 1970s it was planted using the Riparia rootstock, which has low vigor and guarantees limited yields and very good quality grapes. All these characteristics produce wines with lower acid, compared to those produced within our Clos. Although larger and somehow more generous, Pierrefolle is always sustained by a precise mineral expression and citrus aromatic note." In the warm 2015 vintage, the Pierrefolle shows ripe aomas of white and exotic fruits with a bit of spice and earth. The palate, however, remains very mineral with firm saline acidity underlying the pear and citrus fruit. The finish is long with mineral flavors lingering on the palate. This is a beautiful Burgundy and a great food pairing - drinking well now, but five to ten years of aging will be very interesting. Highly recommended. David Lillie
This beautiful Pouilly-Fuissé is from old vines in the Clos on hard limestone with very thin silty clay topsoil. Certified organic farming, long slow fermentations with wild yeasts and aging in large oak barrels, none new.The 2017 shows aromas of ripe pear and apricot, stone, chamomile and lemon confit, quite elegant. The palate is primarily mineral, with firm acidity and subtle white fruits that continue in the long very mineral finish. Delicious now but will age gracefully for 8 to 10 years. Serve this racy Pouilly-Fuissé with an elegant white fish preparation, chicken with morels, mountain cheeses... David Lillie
Jean-Marie Chaland owns two estates in Viré (Macon), Domaine Sainte Barbe and Domaine des Chazelles, both certified organic since 2006. The Sainte Barbe "la Perriere" is made from 35 year-old grapes from a half-hectare parcel near Viré on clay/limestone soils, never treated with herbicides. The grapes are hand-harvested and vinified with wild yeasts, the wine ages for 18 months, half in barrel, have in cuve inox. The 2017 shows pretty aromas of pear, apricot, lime flower and stone. There is nice richness on the palate, which is supple and elegant with chalky white fruits, a bit of nectarine, verbena and a hint of oak, with firm acidity, silky fruit and mineral notes in the long finish. This is a stylish white Burgundy that will accompany any full-flavored fish dish, chicken in sauce and mild cheeses, and it will age nicely for 5 to 8 years.