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Burgundy is divided into a number of sub-regions and these are important in
sorting out this jigsaw puzzle of a viticultural area.
White Burgundies are, typically, Chardonnay wines. There are a few exceptions:
"Aligoté" is a rather simple and acidic dry white, making its most noteworthy
wine in the area of Bouzeron.
"Sacy" is responsible for some wines designated "Bourgogne Grand
Ordinaire" which come from the Yonne (Chablis) region.
"Sauvignon" (blanc) makes some very nice little wines in the Chablis sub-region
of "St-Bris-le-Vineux" and we've, periodically, had some of this steely, dry
white here in the shop.
I have seen references to Pinot Blanc and Pinot Chardonnay with respect to Burgundy. There
is even a supposedly "mutant" clone of Pinot Noir, said to be first isolated at
the domaine of Henri Gouges in Nuits-Saint-Georges.
So, for the most part we're dealing with CHARDONNAY.
Now, you need to know the sub-regions here:
"Chablis," located about 60 miles
northwest of the heart of Burgundy. There is a wine known as "Petite Chablis"
from small pockets of vineyards scattered around the region. This is usually really
simple, acidic, bone dry and very light. "Chablis" can be magnificent wine. The
most prestigious are of Grand Cru status and encompass seven "crus": Blanchot,
Bougros, Les Clos, Grenouilles, Les Preuses, Valmur and Vaudésir. These can be the most
interesting and long-lived wines, going ten or more years. The most common Premier crus
include: Beauroy, Fourchaume, Montée de Tonnerre, Montmains and Vaillons.
These often take three to five years to blossom.
Click here for a page with
Chablis photos and maps...
"Côte d'Or," the heart of
Burgundy and where the most prestigious wines come from is divided into two sub-regions:
the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune. It is from the latter area that the most
well-known white Burgundies come from. Here you'll find Corton Charlemagne, Meursault,
Auxey-Duresses, Saint-Romain, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet and Saint-Aubin.
"Do you know the way to Montrachet?"
"Cote Chalonnaise" makes some
good, lighter-weight Chardonnays. These might be found with the appellations of Givry,
Mercurey, Rully or Montagny.
"Macon" is the most southerly
region of Burgundy and it's most famous wine is Pouilly-Fuissé. There are a number of
producers attempting to make oakier, richer white wines here, but, frankly, the
wines sold by the large negociant firms are expensive and, to our taste, rather soulless
and empty. Happily some small estates have figured out how to make
more interesting and complex wines. A few of these rival good California
Chardonnays and offer an alternative to good Côte de Beaune whites. Few,
though, reach the level of quality of fine Premier Cru or Grand Cru white
the other hand, the area is loaded with producers of good, simple, straight-forward,
non-oaked Chardonnays and these, costing around fourteen bucks, can be pretty satisfying.
White Burgundy Producers We Like:
- DOMAINE Des COMTES LAFON
- It's not fair
to "tease" you with a huge write-up of a domaine whose wines are
so highly regarded and so scarce that we can't offer you but a bottle from
time to time.
I had the good fortune to visit this small domaine in Meursault in March
of 2002. The property covers some 13.9 hectares, 8 of which are
devoted to Chardonnay. This is one of those domaines run by a
perfectionist. Dominique Lafon took over for his father René some
years ago. "Dad" was a highly regarded wine-grower and
Dominique has the same reputation.
It was really
great to taste these wines out of barrel (sorry if I'm torturing you),
because when I've tasted the wines fresh-off-the-boat I've wondered what
all the fuss is about. Tasting them out of barrel (we tasted very
fine 2000s and still-developing and hard-to-assess 2001s), I found the
elements about which I've read. These are deep and profound wines
which are refined and elegant. Dominique Lafon's right hand man, Stéphane
Thibodaux told us that the wines are really nice after five or six years
in the bottle. But he said their 1992s, at ten years of age, were
still "closed" unless you decant them and let them
"breathe" for about an hour!
Ellen visited the estate in February of 2005 and described the wines she
tasted as "magical."
a property in Macon, so
we are now able to have a taste of how a Meursault-Maniac handles
Macon. The first vintages have been rather promising, so this will
be a project whose progress we will follow with great interest. (How
many Macon producers make great Montrachet? Only Lafon!)
Macon Milly-Lamartine. Good wines, though I didn't mistake them for
Lafon's Meursault Clos de la Barre. I am curious to see how these
develop with cellaring. Time will tell.
Post-script: I recently had a chance to taste some "older"
bottles of Lafon's Macon wines. Wow...what a difference with a year
or two of bottle aging! These are remarkably good wines but you
can't really evaluate them when they're just-bottled and
first-released. These showed nice depth and hints of ripe apple,
honey and toast (but not oaky). The texture on the palate was much
Post-Post-Script: In Match of 2016 we tasted the current roster of
Macon wines from Lafon...they're better than ever and, in fact, I asked Dominique
about the wine I dubbed not Pouilly-Fuisse but "Pouilly Fuissault."
Montrachet, of which there is precious little! Lafon has one-third
of a hectare of vines in this appellation. Some vintages they are
fortunate enough to make six
barrels. Some years, not so much. We were fortunate to be on the allocation list for this
rarity. Delicious and expensive. But at today's prices,
we are out of the game.
Currently in stock:
We have some older vintages of Meursault...
Burgundy fanatics have great respect for the
Leflaive name, as there is the prestigious (and expensive) Domaine Leflaive.
It is viewed as a reference point for white Burgundy wines and some of their
wines are as exceptional as the price tag indicates.
Olivier Leflaive is related to that domaine, as his grandfather had two
sons. Grandpa Joseph was in the steel business and he had invested in
vineyards as well. In the 1950s Olivier's father Joseph-Regis teamed with
Uncle Vincent in running the Leflaive winery in Puligny-Montrachet.
Olivier Leflaive was one of five children and he took off for Paris as a
youngster and worked in the entertainment business, laboring in the world of TV
and radio for a decade before coming home to Burgundy and joining Domaine
Leflaive. He was co-captain of that team with his cousin Anne-Claude, but
eventually the Board of Directors decided it would be better to have one person
leading the team and she, apparently, was more focused on that project, while
Olivier had also launched his own little winemaking enterprise back in 1984.
At the outset he had Jean-Marc Boillot as his winemaker (a good name in
Burgundy wines) and this fellow was succeeded by Franck Grux (who early on
worked at the famed estate of Guy Roulot). Grux, today, also has help from
a fellow named Philippe Grillet.
Leflaive did a good job in working with numerous growers around Burgundy and the
company grew as they focused on Chassagne Montrachet, Meursault and
Puligny-Montrachet wines. He's purchased a number of vineyards, too, along
with inheriting some jewels from the family: Chevalier-Montrachet and
Bâtard-Montrachet, along with some Premier Cru holdings in Puligny and
CLICK HERE TO SEE A
GOOD MAP OF LEFLAIVE'S MAIN HOLDINGS
It's been said Olivier retired in 2010, but you wouldn't know it seeing what
he's doing these days!
he's still quite active in all phases of the Leflaive "empire."
In 1997 he opened a little restaurant and in 2006 he launched a four star
hotel. In the middle of that, the company took on another winemaking
challenge in Chablis.
It's been said they get fruit from about 120 hectares of vineyards, owning close
to 15% themselves.
In September of 2020 we assembled a set of 2017
White Burgundy wines for a blind-tasting and, in addition to a bunch of $90,
included wines from some less-prestigious appellations which were less pricey.
Olivier Leflaive's Pernand-Vergelesses was exceptional and one of the top wines
in the tasting.
The nose was exceptional, displaying good fruit and some toasty notes, if less
extreme compared to the typical Domaine Leflaive wines. It seems Olivier
Leflaive keeps the new oak to about 15%, enough to where its detectable, but not
so much that it dominates the fruit.
This was a most pleasant surprise!
Currently in stock: OLIVIER LEFLAIVE
2017 PERNAND-VERGELESSES Sale $45.99
DOMAINE FRANCOIS MIKULSKI
and Francois Mikulski launched this little winemaking enterprise in the
early 1990s while Francois was making the wines for his uncle, Pierre
Mikulski's father was from Poland and was in the Polish military as World
War II was starting. He managed to escape to England and it's there
he met a woman whose family was in Burgundy. They married and
Francois was born in the 1960s. He was not much interested in school
and he did enjoy working with plants. Uncle Pierre's kids were not
interested in vineyards and winery work, so he took on the challenge of
working for the Boillot domaine.
After a stint in the military he made his way to California and worked at
Josh Jensen's Calera winery. Mikulski had met California Ted
Lemon at the domaine of Guy Roulot, a very famous little domaine.
Having traveled a bit back then and even with more recent excursions, he's
got a good idea of the wines and techniques employed in various wine
He confesses he's not much of a fan of California Chardonnays, saying it's
really too warm to make energetic, crisp wines.
In Burgundy, of course, there's a special terroir and challenging climate.
We've tasted his Meursault wines over the years and generally find them to
be quite good.
These days his domaine comprises about 9.5 hectares of vineyards.
Many of those are rented. The farming is done organically.
This basic Meursault is a blend of fruit from 4 to 6 different small
sites covering perhaps a hectare and a half. The vineyards are
roughly 35 years of age and farmed organically, but without certification.
The wine sees a small percentage of new oak, but Mikulski
says he really wants to showcase the minerality of Meursault's terroir. We
typically find a bit of leesy and smoky notes in his wines and there's some
of those features in the 2018 vintage bottling. There's a note of ripe
pear fruit and a mildly creamy fragrance. It's dry, crisp and
medium-bodied. This seems to develop nicely with some aeration as it
warms from refrigerator temperature.
We seem to have found his wine to be more smoky some years ago and these
days you'll find more fruit and minerality.
Currently in stock: FRANCOIS MIKULSKI 2018
A good bottle from Mikulski at a dinner in Beaune...some sort of foie gras
mousse with a seafood soup.
It sounds a bit unusual, but the flavors were exceptional.
The wine was nicely toasty and was quite nice with this dish.
- The name of Etienne Sauzet is
well-known to most fans of
Sauzet was born in the early 1900s
and the domaine comprised about
12 hectares of vines by 1950.
Sauzet passed away in 1975 and
the estate has been run since then
by grand-daughter Jeanine and her
husband, Gerard Boudot.
The domaine comprises approximately 9
hectares today, with the full spectrum of
wines being made. You can start at basic
Bourgogne and work your way up to
Boudot follows in the footsteps of the late founder, keeping the
wines in barrel on the spent yeast for 10 to 18 months, depending upon the
appellation. The premier cru and grand cru wines are entirely fermented
and aged in small oak barrels. Boudot seems to prefer about one-third new
cooperage for these wines and I understand he'll put wines into stainless steel
if he feels they need more aging but not more wood or exposure to oak.
We tasted Boudot's range of 2009s and found them to be really special
wines. Each was very fine and they all tasted "expensive" to me,
a rarity with respect to most tastings.
"IS" Puligny-Montrachet. So's Leflaive, for that matter and both
make some terrific wines. Leflaive's tend to be more smoky and toasty,
with a bit more of a lean aspect, while the Sauzet wines have a more opulent
quality to them while still retaining their expressive terroir and being complex
The Champ Canet parcel is approximately one hectare and the vines are close to
50 years of age.
Troncais and Allier barriques are used for the fermentation and aging, with
perhaps 40% being new according to Boudot. The wine may spend close
to a year in wood and then it may go into stainless steel for another 6 months
or until Monsieur Boudot deems the wine ready for bottling. The 2009 is
fairly full, mildly woodsy with some apple and peach notes in a 'reserved' sort
of fashion. Nicely acidic, too, so this is zesty at this stage and should
remain in top form for a few more years...
The 2018 Champ Gain is a young, crisp, tangy white Burgundy. There's a
ripe aspect to the fruit, yet it's presently a bit taut and lean on the
palate. This should do well with a bit of bottle aging..
Currently in stock: 2009 ETIENNE SAUZET
Puligny-Montrachet "Champ Canet" Sold Out
2018 ETIENNE SAUZET Puligny Montrachet "Champ Gain"
Sale $129.99 (due in shortly)
DOMAINE MICHEL JUILLOT
ago when we first visited France and explored the vineyards and
restaurants in Burgundy, we quickly became acquainted with the wines of
Domaine Michel Juillot. It was partly a matter of economics, as it
remains today: finding good, soulful Burgundy without having to refinance
We dined in some rather fancy places and would ask the somms for a
suggestion of something particular good quality with a modest price.
The wines of Michel Juillot were recommended, though in those days, we
were being guided to their red wines.
The domaine is one of the most prominent in the Côte Chalonnaise village
of Mercurey. Back in the 1960s, we believe, they had perhaps 6
hectares of vineyards. Today they take care of 31 hectares and the
winery is run by Laurent Juillot. Twenty-one hectares are devoted to
Pinot Noir and 10 to Chardonnay.
- Most of their vineyards are in an around Mercurey and environs, though
they have some holdings north in Aloxe-Corton. He explains if those
wines didn't sell for a premium price, it would be a money-losing matter
to have to drive so far away (more than 40 kilometers).
They farm sustainably, saying their vineyards are cultivated "lutte
raisonnée." And their vineyards are all picked by
In tasting through wines of the Côtes Chalonnaise, it soon became
apparent that this estate is at the top in the region, making wines worthy
of comparison to the Côte d'Or brethren. Every wine, white or red,
was quite good and showing beautifully.
We presently have a Rully Blanc in the shop with the cru designation of
- The vineyard was planted in 1979, so the vines are quite mature.
If you're keeping track, the soil is clay and limestone. The grapes
are hand-harvested and anything not perfect is culled out on a sorting
table. The bunches are then whole-cluster pressed and the juice is
allowed to settle for half a day.
The juice then goes into a combination of wood: one-third is
fermented in barrel and the rest goes into puncheons. Indigenous yeast
fermentation. The wine spends about a year in wood before bottling
and only 10% of the barrels are brand new.
We like the toasty and smoky elements of the wine. It's
medium-bodied and dry. It's not as dramatic as our $50-$150 bottles
of white Burgundy, but for less than $30, this is a winner.
Currently in stock: MICHEL JUILLOT 2015 RULLY BLANC
"Les Thivaux" $28.99
Apparently they've grown tired of the old-fashioned and beautifully
distinctive art on their label and are changing it to appear as this design
Now their bottles will look virtually like everyone else's.
Girardin name is well-known in the Côte de Beaune and the family traces
its roots back to the late 1500s.
Justin Girardin's grandfather Jean began cultivating vineyards in his
hometown of Santenay shortly after World War II.
He had three sons who went on to make wine, Yves, Vincent and Jacques. A
fourth offspring didn't pursue a career in the wine business.
The wines of Vincent Girardin are well-known and have a following here in
the US and France. Vincent's brother Jacques maintained a lower
profile, but his son Justin is becoming a young and rising star with his
beautifully made Burgundies.
Justin's parents increased their vineyard holdings over the years,
branching out from Santenay to Chassagne-Montrachet, Pommard and
Savigny-Les-Beaune. The ownership of the domaine passed from Jacques
to Justin in 2012.
Today Justin farms about 17 hectares of grapes and his loves being
outdoors and working in the vineyards. He employs some organic and
biodynamic practices in the vineyards
"We are not
'organic' winegrowers but for many years we have endeavored to listen to
nature and only intervene when appropriate. Certain methods that we use
and that today are called 'biodynamic' are in fact those that our
ancestors used to meet the needs for the well-being of the vine.
Each of us recognizes that it is necessary to return to a healthier
agriculture and for that the work of the winegrower is imperative: a
well-maintained vine will produce healthy grapes and therefore a wine of
- We had tasted the 2016
Santenay Blanc and liked it...acquired a bottle for a blind-tasting and
liked it in that "beauty contest."
The succeeding vintages have been similarly-styled and of similar quality.
- They had planted or
replanted some Santenay parcels in the 1960s and we dissatisfied with the
resulting wine. They ended up terracing some of the hills and
replanting again between 1970 and 1986. This time they got it right.
Girardin vinifies the wine in small oak, using maybe 15-20% new
barrels. The wine spends about a year in wood and has a nice,
delicate balance of oak; there's just enough that you might wonder
if it had been barrel-aged but not so much that it's the focal point of
We have the 2018 in stock presently...delicious and well-priced,
stock: JUSTIN GIRARDIN 2018 SANTENAY BLANC "Les Terrasses de
Justin Girardin in 2018
Charleux founded this small domaine back in the 1890s with less than a
hectare of vineyards. He enlarged the esate to two hectares by the
time of his death in the 1920s. Joseph Charleux took over and added
another 6 hectares by the time he retired in 1960. Maurice took over
and today he and his son Vincent farm about 12 hectares of vineyards in
and around the below-the-radar appellation of Maranges as well as having a
few vines in nearby Santenay.
They farm sustainably and say it's important for one generation to leave
the earth in good condition for the next.
As a result, you'll hear them speak about "lutte raisonnée."
They plant grasses between the rows of vines as a means of controlling
erosion, as many of the vineyards are on slopes.
We have long known this domaine as a source for good quality, reasonably
priced red wines, but the past few years their Maranges Blanc from the
"La Fussière" cru has been remarkably good.
We had tasted this in the shop and it was a pleasant
surprise. Over in Burgundy we tasted Charleux's wines again alongside
wines from other domaines with more prestigious appellations and were delighted
to see this estate is quietly cementing its reputation as a source of good
quality and stylish wines (with sensible price tags).
The juice is given a day of skin contact and then goes into small French oak
barrels. Perhaps 20% of the cooperage is new. Barrel-fermented and
aged for about a year and then bottled...voila! Nothing fancy, but this
wine is a good example of Burgundian winemaking.
It goes for $29.99 a bottle, far less than many California Chardonnays of which
few are worthy of comparison.
Currently in stock: DOMAINE CHARLEUX 2017 MARANGES
1er Cru "La Fussière" Sold Out
DOMAINE PAVELOT (Pernand
appellation of Pernand-Vergelesses is one of those relatively 'forgotten'
names amongst Burgundy aficionados. It's a little village of perhaps
300 people tucked away at the northern part of the Cote de
Drive ten minutes north and you're in Vosne-Romanee. Drive ten
minutes south and you're in Pommard, Volnay or maybe
Puligny-Montrachet. All those names are far more famous than
Pernand-Vergelesses. And the most prestigious domaine situated in
Pernand doesn't make a wine from vineyards within the AOC of Pernand-Vergelesses,
but Corton and Corton-Charlemagne (that would be Bonneau du Martray).
The entire appellation of Pernand-Vergelesses tallies to around 132
hectares, so it's not exactly a large place.
You can easily be confused as to the name Pavelot, for there are two
wineries with this name. One Pavelot is located in
Savigny-Les-Beaune and this little domaine of 9 hectares is in beautiful
It's run, these days, by a brother and sister team, Luc and Lise
Pavelot. Both of them graduated from the wine school in nearby
Beaune. Each had good winemaking experiences in doing
internships: he ventured to California and spent some time at
Navarro, while Lise headed to the Loire Valley to see how things operated
at the Dagueneau winery.
Importer Gary Roshke and his wife Lise Pavelot.
- Grapes are all hand-harvested into these special harvesting baskets.
vineyards of Pernand-Vergelesses used to be the source of much Aligoté,
but in the past few decades most has been replaced by the more
financially-rewarding Chardonnay. Pavelot, however, still cultivates
a modest amount of Aligoté. It's planted, keep in mind, in sites
which would be AOC Pernand-Vergelesses were they planted to Chardonnay, so
the pedigree of the terroir is particularly good.
It has been fermented, typically, in stainless steel and then left in
stainless until bottling, but with the 2012 vintage, a remarkably tasty
wine, this was matured in neutral oak barrels.
While old-time Aligoté was a shrill little white wine, you'll find this
to be marvelously stony and crisp with some "there" there.
also were delighted by the 2011 Pernand-Vergelesses Blanc. This
comes from a variety of vineyard sites, some facing east and others
catching the afternoon sun being west-facing. There's also a small
amount of a parcel which is a Premier Cru site (En Caradeux).
The wine sees about 10% new oak, so it's actually more along the lines of
a really serious Chablis than big, white Burgundy. We like the
lemony and stony notes here...a delight with seafood,
- Showing off the map of some of the Pavelot vineyard sites.
Lise opens a number of bottles to show off the family artistry...
Currently in stock:
2012 PAVELOT PERNAND-VERGELESSES BLANC Sold Out
DOMAINE PARISSE (DOMAINE THIBERT)
of the wines from this little winery are sold as "Domaine Thibert,"
but they have another brand and label called Domaine Parisse and we have a
source for their terrific Mâconnais wines under that banner.
The winery and vineyards are owned by a brother and sister team,
Christophe Thibert and sister Sandrine.
The family traces its roots back 7 or 8 generations, but the story of
their little winery began more recently, starting in 1967.
Grandfather Thibert's family owned two hectares of
vineyards. René Thibert and his wife Andrée Parisse wanted to work
with vineyards and wine and sold grapes to a local grower's co-op winery.
Their first harvest was in 1967 and over the years they were able to
purchase additional land in the Fuissé area.
Christophe Thibert finish his wine schooling and came to work in the family
business in 1990 and it was around this time period that the idea of making
wine on their own became a viable prospect. They still sold grapes to
the co-op while making some of their own wine.
Sandrine joined the business in 1999 after finishing school and traveling
around the world.
These days they have 22 hectares of vineyards with nearly half being in the
Pouilly-Fuissé appellation. They have parcels in nearby
Pouilly-Vinzelles, St. Veran, Pouilly-Loché, Mâcon Fuissé, Mâcon
Vinzelles, Mâcon Prissé and Mâcon Verzé..
They've been farming organically since 2007, though it's not a selling point
for them. As a result they do not have any sort of certification, but
they don't employ chemical fertilizers as had been common years
ago. They don't use weed killers but are now plowing the
vegetation in and around the vines.
Whatever they're doing, it seems to be providing good quality grapes as
their wines are a model for Mâcon wines.
We currently have a couple of bottlings.
There's a 2014 Pouilly-Vinzelles comes from a site called "Les Longeays."
This is a few kilometers southeast of Fuissé and produces a wine with
minerality similar to their Pouilly-Fuissé. It's vinified in oak and
stays in wood for just less than a year before being racked into stainless
steel for a bit before bottling. It's not always filtered, as they
evaluate the wine and make that call if it's necessary.
The 2015 Pouilly-Fuissé comes from older parcels of
vineyards, averaging about 75 years of age. While those old vines
don't produce a bumper crop of fruit, they do provide grapes with remarkable
intensity and character. Thibert vinifies the wine in wood but the oak
plays a supporting role. Thibert uses somewhere between 5 and 15% of
new barrels as he wants to showcase the vineyard character and the special terroir
of their area. It's a bit fuller than the Pouilly Vinzelles.
The Thibert/Parisse cellar.
Currently in stock: DOMAINE PARISSE 2014
POUILLY-VINZELLES "Les Longeays"29.99
DOMAINE PARISSE 2015 POUILLY-FUISSÉ "Vieilles Vignes"
CHATEAU DE CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET
- The Bader-Mimeur family own most of the property known as the Chateau de
Chassagne-Montrachet with another vintner owning about 2% of the
vines. The family can trace its Burgundian roots back to the
early 1900s and one of the old-timers had a little wine shop in Paris
which is still in operation as an outlet for the winery.
Alain Fossier married into the family and he's viewed as the engine that
runs this place these days.
One of our top importers was visiting Burgundy recently and tasted the
range of wines they're making...he came away fairly impressed and brought
some wines to taste. A nice little Bourgogne Rouge was very
good...and their 2010 Chassagne-Montrachet with the "Chateau de
Chassagne-Montrachet" label is very handsome!
- The 2010 vintage of Chassagne-Montrachet comes from vines averaging
about 35 years of age. The wine is matured in small oak cooperage,
with 20% of the barrels being new. This makes for a nicely balanced
wine...you can sense the wood in the glass, but it's not the centerpiece
of the wine.
Currently in stock: 2010 BADER-MIMEUR "CHATEAU
DE CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET" Chassagne Montrachet Sold Out
Claude Manciat and his wife Simone Poncet have been growing grapes for
decades, but they only began bottling their own wines in 1979.
have about 4.5 hectares of vineyards in the Pouilly-Fuissé appellation and
another five in Macon. While most of the vineyards in Macon are
machine-harvested, Manciat-Poncet vineyards are still picked by
Though they both qualify for the senior citizen's discount at the local
cinema, both Claude and Simone are vivacious and still enthusiastic about
We tasted a variety of tank and barrel samples on our visit a few years ago. Claude buys oak, for example, from several different coopers and
the wines aged in each has a slightly different "seasoning" as a
result. To complicate matters, slightly, Manciat-Poncet works with one
importer whose preference is for lavishly-oaked wines and another whose
preference is more for wines which have no oak or merely a hint of
wood. The importer we purchase from prefers the wines which taste more
of the grape than of the lumber.
Pouilly-Fuissé we have is the "Les Crays" bottling, a wine which
shows just a bit of wood. One part of the wine is exposed to a
percentage of new barrels, while most is matured in seasoned, more neutral
oak. Large negociant firms such as Louis Jadot bottle a small lake's
worth of Pouilly-Fuissé which is rather bland, simple white wine of little
character. (And I'm being polite.)
Manciat-Poncet's wine actually has quite a bit of Chardonnay character and a
hint of wood.
- Their Macon-Charnay (Charnay is a village whose wines can be sold either
as Macon-Villages or Macon-Charnay) is a delicious, light, uncomplicated
white wine. It still has character, though, even though wood is not
part of the equation. The 2011 comes from a good vintage and the fruit
in this wine is reminiscent of the fragrance we get from a bucket of
fresh-picked apples from our friend's place in Woodside.
Delightful! It's an uncomplicated, yet delicious, wine.
- They make a bit of Pinot Noir and Gamay.
Simone organized a lovely lunch for us.
Crudités and Macon-Charnay.
This is a lovely combination!
Asparagus, Haricots Verts and Jerusalem Artichokes along with
some Pike Quenelles made for one nice lunch!
CURRENTLY IN STOCK:
2016 MACON-CHARNAY Sold Out
A. et P. DE VILLAINE
isn't exactly the center of the universe when it comes to Burgundy.
It's a small appellation (and a new one, at that) which is devoted to the
white grape, Aligoté. When wine connoisseurs visit Burgundy,
Bouzeron is almost certainly on the itinerary. Visiting there
would be a bit like heading to a fancy car dealer and taking a spin on a
scooter, instead of test-driving a Bentley.
The Bouzeron appellation was created in 1998 and today it
comprises about 52 hectares of vineyards and there are perhaps a dozen vintners
who offer wine of this designation from La Côte Chalonnaise.
The most famous is this domaine, which is run by the main man of the Domaine de
la Romanée-Conti, Aubert de Villaine. He's the "A", while his
wife Pamela is the "P." She's the first cousin, by the way, of
Carneros (Napa) grower, Larry Hyde. They have a modest estate in Bouzeron,
with about half the production devoted to this looked-down-upon grape. The
domaine, these days, is run by Aubert's nephew, Pierre De Benoist.
Aligoté, however, was, once-upon-a-time, more highly regarded and even
cultivated in such esteemed appellations as Pernand-Vergelesses and
Meursault. There still may be scattered plantings in those towns and in
other places around Burgundy, but it's typically cultivated in places where you
wouldn't bother with the more noble Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.
In Bouzeron, however, it's a different story: Aligoté is cultivated
exclusively on slopes and not on flat land. Not surprisingly, what is
often a meager, skinny, runt-of-a-wine in other areas, produces a somewhat more
interesting white wine in Bouzeron.
I don't want you to think this is a wine of the complexity of a major league
White Burgundy, along the lines of a complex Chardonnay. It is not.
It is, though, a very enjoyable, stony, minerally, bone dry white wine which may
strike you as being sort of like a crisp Sancerre with the minerality of a good
Chablis. It's a good partner for shellfish starters as it will provide a
lovely contrast with a more complex and opulent wine with the main course.
Currently in stock: 2017 DE VILLAINE
family traces its history in Chablis back to the year 1690. Three
hundred and fifteen years later, we finally bought some wine from
them. I'm sure they're hoisting a glass of bubbly to celebrate.
We've tasted various vintages of the Lamblin's simple "Bourgogne
Blanc" and typically found the wine to be well-made, crisp, nodding in
the direction of Chablis. The 2005-2018 bottlings were very good and now the
2019 vintage is here...quite nice! And it's selling for but twelve
bucks and change! There's a touch of
the minerally, lime-like, appley, mildly mushroomy note...sort of Chablis-Meets-Vouvray
(except no sugar). It tastes like it
comes from Chablis or near Chablis and is a good example of non-oaked
We like this paired with steamed clams, pâté, cold chicken and other light
The Lamblin's suggest serving this with cream-sauced
fish. Your mileage may vary.
Currently in stock: 2019 LAMBLIN "Bourgogne - Chardonnay"
(list $18) SALE $15.99
GERALD & PHILIBERT TALMARD
is a father and son team located in the village of Uchizy in Macon.
They actually have holdings in a couple of places and produce
attractively-priced, crisp, snappy Chardonnays. The property
comprises some 30 hectares of vineyards and these are famed "lutte
raisonée" (in the direction of organic).
They make two wines, one from Uchizy and the other from the town of
Chardonnay (yes, the grape is Chardonnay and the town is called
We stock the Macon-Chardonnay and this has been a frequent offering here
in the shop since the 1980s! Gérald Talmard uses indigenous yeast
fermentations and no trees are chopped down to produce this wine apart
from the cardboard boxes it comes in...
We visited a few years ago and Monsieur Talmard was amused we would travel
so far to see so little. I explained that we have long admired his
wine and have offered it in the shop for decades. "It's time to
stop by, see the place and say thanks," we told him.
The wine is not exposed to wood and it's a simple, crisp, bright dry white
wine. You won't confuse this with Montrachet, but then, you can buy
cases and cases of Talmard Macon for the price of a single bottle of
Currently in stock: 2019 TALMARD
Nothing fancy in the cellar...just typical, easy-to-clean stainless steel
tanks, some bottling and labeling equipment, a few wine glasses and, voila!
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