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What a difference 2 kilometers makes! Bruno Dangin's Crémant de Bourgogne is made from 100% Pinot Noir from organically farmed vines in Molesme, located just beneath the southern border of Champagne's Aube.The limestone rich soils are the same as those of their pricier neighbor to the north. Boasting a fine bead and soft mousse and aromas of red fruits and autolyse, one would be hard pressed to spot the difference. The palate offers great depth, pure pinot fruit, and a suave, layered, persistent finish. This is a great value in bubbles and will grace the holiday table nicely. John McIlwain
While the Côte Chalonnaise has long played second fiddle to the Côte d’Or (and third fiddle one supposes to the Côte des Nuits), there’s happy hunting and relative value for those who look. There’s plenty of terroir (even if from a different geological era ), good farming at a number of domaines, and the classic tension between fruit and soil that Burgundy at its best embodies. And if there’s a cream of the crop of to this Côte—and it being Burgundy, there’s definitely a hierarchy—it’s certainly Domaine de Villaine. Monsieur de Villaine's day job certainly gets the lion’s share of the press, but even in the humble south, there’s praise to be garnered and pretty delicious wine to be drunk. And while the Bouzeron is justly famous among the Burg Nerd set, the reds are nipping at the heels of that Aligoté pony. And the 2018 La Fortune Rouge deservedly rates. The robe is a deep ruby hue. The nose offers aromas of dried roses, violet, crushed strawberry, and just a whisper of sweet anise. The palate, while concentrated and displaying the best of the 2018 ripeness, hews the line between ripe and detailed with red and black fruit flavors vying with sapid notes of black tea, game, and powdery tannins girded by a distinctly mineral core. So while this is certainly delicious there is a whole lot of ‘there’ there. And this is manifest in the punchy, lingering, savory finish. The dry extract, persistence, and pinpoint balance give me the impression that this has excellent potential for cellaring, but I have to admit that opening a bottle now is equally compelling. A heck of a bottle with Rohan Duck breast and Japanese turnips and greens, this has enough gras to accompany pork cutlets with a mint pesto à la Highlands Grill or even a medium rare squab with farro. Lovely juice, indeed. John McIlwain
Paul and Marie Jacqueson are third generation winemakers in the Côtes Chalonnaise carrying on their grandfather's tradition of crafting high-quality wines from Rully and Mercurey. Today the domaine consists of 13 hectares farmed using organic treatments, all hand-harvested. All of their reds are 100% destemmed and aged in 25% new oak for one year. The 'Champs Martin' shows an elegant balance between density of flavor and remaining light on its feet. The nose is a like a walk through a Burgundian forest; complete with tree bark, wild flowers, raspberry brambles and wild cherry, with a dash of fresh cinnamon for good measure. Lush and concentrated on the palate, but not the least bit weighted down. Michelle DeWyngaert