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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 McIlwainThe 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
From Chardonnay grown on an excellent limestone/clay parcel in Aluze, next to Mercurey. Certified organic, hand-harvested, low yields, very long (10 month) wild-yeast fermentation in barrel, bottled by gravity, unfiltered. This is an outstanding Chardonnay of terroir thanks to the great farming and vinifications at Champs de l'Abbaye. Subtle aromas of stone, white fruits, lemon peel and herbs with a bit of new oak. The palate is intense and crystalline with strong mineral flavors, white fruits, citrus, spice and oak. (We are reminded of the Bourgogne Chitry by De Moor) The finish is dense and long with citrus, pear and stone - this is a serious glass of white Burgundy that will accompany oysters, grilled fish, roast chicken and much more. Not for lovers of Napa Chardonnay....
From a 1/2 hectare parcel of 35 year-old vines in Rully on clay/limestone soils. Aromas of dried pear, herbs, citrus and stone with lime flower and new oak. Intense stone and mineral flavors typical to Rully on the palate with citrus and white fruits. Fabulous stony finish. This is an austere and elegant white Burgundy to drink now in its scintillating youth with oysters, grilled seafod, chicken and goat cheeses. Hold 5 to 10 years for a mature experience.
Comprised of fruit from Bressandes (2/3) which per Claude de Nicolay lends richness and Chaumes, located beneath Les Pougets (1/3) which lends a degree of “saltiness.” The 2014 Corton Blanc shows a lovely balance between power and elegance. Aromatically it shows yellow flowers, orange peel and hints of sea spray and wet stone. The palate displays pretty flavors of stone fruit, Meyer lemon, and apple overlying an overt, if not overwhelming minerality on a medium weight (for Corton) palate. This shows plenty of energy and drive, if not mass, on a long, detailed, and mouthwatering finish. John McIlwain
As easy as it is to forget the quality of Auxey-Duresses Blanc, it's just as easy to overlook the sensational quality of Domaine Lafouge. The Auxey-Duresses Blanc Les Hautés (from the lieu dit situated next to Les Vireuils in Meursault) displays a fine balance of white floral aromas (acacia and honeysuckle) with white orchard fruits on the nose. The palate is racy and mineral with pear and nectarine fruit vying for attention with a good degree of mineral cut. This is pretty and a fine value in white Burgundy. John McIlwain
The 2014 Magnien Aligoté is a bright and lively wine, at 11.5% alcohol, showing herbal, lemon-lime, melon and almond aromas, with pear, mirabelle, stone and ctrus flavors on the fresh, very dry palate. Serve with vegetable soups, fish dishes, quiches and mild cheeses - or make the perfect Kir with 1/5 Creme de Cassis.
Another cracking 2014, Rapet's Combottes has bright aromas of white flowers, honeysuckle, Meyer lemon, citrus pith. The mid-weight palate offers layers of stone fruit, chalk, lemon peel, and quinine, which persist on the long, lithe finish. This is great Combottes and a bargain in white Burgundy. John McIlwain
Jean-Claude Rateau makes lovely wines in the Hautes Côtes de Beaune in his east-facing vineyard of clay/limestone and marne soils. Quite racy and bright even in 2015, the wine shows subtle aromas of lemon,almond, stone, pear and apple. Intense, very mineral palate with pear, citrus and stone flavors and terrific length. Decant or open in advance if drinking now, serve with oysters, grilled seafoods, roast chicken and mild cheeses or cellar for 5 to 8 years. This is a real Chardonnay of terroir and a great value!
Domaine de Roally is one of the great estates of the Macon. The original owner/grower was Henri Goyard, who made old-fashioned Chardonnays with a bit of residual sugar, from his superb organically-tended estate on a limestone ridge overlooking the Saone Valley. Discovered by Joe Dressner in 1987, we made a number of visits there until Goyard's retirement in 2000. Sometimes the juice would still be fermenting after 18 months in tank, and a 1989 tasted in 1999 was simply sensational. Gautier Thevenet of the Domaine Bongran took over in 2000 and has happily kept up the quality and style of Goyard. The 2014 is a fabulous white Burgundy, showing beautiful aromas of ripe pear and apple, lime-flower, lemon zest and honeysuckle, really lovely! There is fabulous density on the palate with pear, citrus, butter and exotic fruit backed by very firm acidity and saline minerals. Gorgeous now, it will age beautifully, perhaps best in 2026? DL
Also made from 100% Chardonnay with zero dosage, this wine spends a full 27 months on the lees before disgorgement. The result is a broad and powerful wine with tropical fruit, green apple, pineapple stalk, orange peel, and a hint of spearmint and lime blossom on the nose. The palate is rich and lush with mango, mandarin orange, and a hint of spicy green walnut coming forward, balanced by a dense mineral core. In fact, it actually reminds me of some of my favorite Champagnes (but for half the price). Céline and Laurent don’t make much of this wine and we are thrilled to have it in magnum size! An elegant but no-fuss wine that should always have a place on your dinner table or at your New Year's Eve party, it would pair well with creamy poultry dishes, whole-roasted fish, or soft, tangy cheeses. Tim Gagnon
Julien Guillot's 2012 Cremant Sainte Genevieve is simply brilliant, showing extraordinary aromas of red fruits, spiced pear and blood orange with hints of cinnamon. The palate is creamy and full, with pear, red currant, honey, stone and brown spice with fabulous length. This is a beautiful living wine from soils that have never been treated with herbicides, pesticides or modern fertilizers. Highly recommended. ** All fruit is from the Clos (25% Pinot Noir, 25% Gamay, 50% Chardonnay).
From a vineyard first planted by the Abbey of Cluny in 900 AD, acquired by the Guillot family in 1952 and always tended with organic methods. On thin clay soils over limestone, organic since 1954, biodynamic since 1998. This is a complex bottle of Chardonnay combining ripeness with firm acidity and great mineral expression, definitely not "typical" of the Mâcon. Aromas of lemon confit, pear, dried herbs, stone, lime-flower and honey. Ripe pear, apple, almond and saline acidity on the palate with pear, citrus and chalky minerals lingering on the finish. A beautiful wine from the living soils at the Clos des Vignes du Maynes, Biodynamic farming, minimal SO2. Serve with full-flavored fish dishes, farm chicken, goat and comté cheeses.
This is a superb, subtle and very mineral Chardonnay from a replanted parcel at the very top of the Clos, abandoned since 1896, with thin clay soils rich in iron over limestone. A great terroir, never chemically treated and worked in biodynamic farming by Alain and Julien Guillot. The 2014 "les Chassagnes" is a beautiful wine! Yields of 18 hl/ha, giving a racy, stony wine with hints of white fruits, spice and honey, the palate is silky and crystalline - all mineral with subtle citrus and white fruits, very long and elegant. Highly recommended! David Lillie
Carved from vineyards once owned by the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny and farmed organically by Julien Guillot's family since 1954, Clos Vignes du Maynes is one of the most distinctive growers in Burgundy. Aragonite comes from 40- to 80-year-old vines high on the slope, on thin soils of clay, crystallized limestone, and laced with other minerals. This wine is incredibly aromatic upon opening with aromas of golden pear, green apple, apricot, white grapefruit, honeysuckle, and bergamot; there is a hint of earthy heather honey and butterscotch. On the palate it is quite rich and luscious, and much more tropical and salty than in years past. In fact, if tasted blind, I could see this being mistaken for a great Chardonnay from the Jura as it has fantastic acidity, and is beautifully textured, long, and mineral. On day two the aromas have softened a bit, and the palate has gained an added savory note that contributes to a still stunningly long finish. The 2015 Aragonite is not to be missed. Tim Gagnon