• Love by a Thousand Cuts

    Love by a Thousand Cuts

    In the hills above Dijon, you can find the roots to one of Burgundy's greatest inception stories. While it's is a fresh departure from a domaine's normal evolution in Burgundy, the wines in bottle are the most thrilling element from Marc Soyard. In only a few vintages, they have gone from obscure to seeing a cult following.

    Today, I'm happy to offer the 2019 Domaine de la Cras L'Equilibriste Bourgogne Rosé of Pinot Noir.

    This is one of the only Pinot Noir rosés that has the kind of cut and salinity to hook me. Couple that with Soyard's zero sulphur, natural approach, and you have what's one of the most impressive 2019 releases to date. As a vintage, 2019 has already turned out razor-defined Burgundies of all colors, simultaneously boasting harmonious tannin and acid structure.

    Domaine de la Cras goes against the grain of what Burgundian law has dictated for centuries. Five years ago, the city of Dijon purchased a vineyard just outside their limits. The city essentially held a casting call to find a winemaker for the property. The criteria was that they must be young, have no family vineyard holdings, be prepared for organic farming, and open the domaine for educational tours. The rent for the land would be paid each year to the city in bottles, 2,000 exactly.

    Marc Soyard, originally from the nearby Jura, was chosen. Soyard does not come from a family of vignerons, but he had worked previously for the esteemed and tiny Domaine Bizot in Vosne-Romanée. Bizot is known for their rigorous vineyard work, minuscule sulphur regimen, and their use of whole grape clusters for fermentation.

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Burgundy's Head of Class: Benjamin Leroux

    Burgundy's Head of Class: Benjamin Leroux

    Much of the success of Burgundy's younger generation comes from a deep understanding and passion about the work of the vignerons that preceded them. Although still a young man, Benjamin Leroux has more experience than any winemaker his age. Leroux's wines are now clearly in very select company with the likes of Lafon, Roulot, and Colin-Morey. With average production less than 200 cases per wine, the only challenge is securing enough for the demand of this star who's now in the cross-hairs of collectors.

    Today, I'm happy to offer Leroux's 2018 Bourgogne Blanc & Rouge.

    Finding a balance in Burgundy where silky, gossamer texture doesn't come at the expense of tension and salinity is the ultimate high-wire act. And this is where Leroux excels like no other - In tastings among other terrific producers Benjamin's wines jump out for this quality.

    They're featherweight on the palate with a deep saturation of fruit, minerals, and finish long and incisive with a haunting salinity that has you reach for another sip immediately. Each cuvée is distinct and carries incredible clarity of place. The sense of luxury in these wines is vivid, but terroir is highlighted above all else.

    Leroux's Bourgogne Blanc is a staple for me each vintage, and brings a complexity that only 70-yr-old vines can, with many parcels sourced from Meursault and Puligny! Aged in 10% new oak.

    Bourgogne Rouge is sourced from several parcels covering appellations Hautes-Côtes de Nuits, Santenay, Beaune, Ladoix, Savigny-lès-Beaune, and Fixin. Grapes are fully de-stemmed, fermented with native yeasts over 10 days, aged in older French barrique for 12 months, and bottled without fining or filtering.

    Leroux began studying at Beaune's wine school at age 13. After working in Bordeaux, Oregon, and New Zealand he became winemaker at the revered Comte Armand estate in Pommard. After 30 years in the industry he has now began to focus nearly exclusively on his own label, still consulting for a bit for Comte Armand.

     

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Soyard's Delectable Dijon:   Domaine de la Cras Blanc et Rouge

    Soyard's Delectable Dijon: Domaine de la Cras Blanc et Rouge

    In the hills above Dijon you can find the roots to one of Burgundy's greatest inception stories. While it's is a fresh departure from a domaine's normal evolution in Burgundy, the wines in bottle are the most thrilling element from Marc Soyard. In only three vintages they have gone from obscure to seeing a cult following.

    Today, I'm happy to offer Marc Soyard's 2017 Domaine de la Cras Rouge and 2016 "Cras" Blanc.


    Domaine de la Cras goes against the grain of what Burgundian law has dictated for centuries. Five years ago the city of Dijon purchased a vineyard just outside their limits. The city essentially held a casting call to find a winemaker for the property. The criteria was that they must be young, have no family vineyard holdings, be prepared for organic farming, and open the domaine for educational tours. The rent for the land would be paid each year to the city in bottles, 2,000 exactly.

    Marc Soyard, originally from the nearby Jura, was chosen. Soyard does not come from a family of vignerons, but he had worked previously for the esteemed and tiny Domaine Bizot in Vosne-Romanée. Bizot is known for their rigorous vineyard work, minuscule sulphur regimen, and their use of whole grape clusters for fermentation.


    Soyard works a slope, En Bessy, just outside Dijon. His Pinot Noir pulled me in immediately for its super crunchy and unadulterated bright red berry fruit. 100% whole cluster ferment gives a lifted and spicy, floral character that just floored me. Even before tasting, those aromas are so intoxicating they grab ahold of you straightaway. 

    The Chardonnay's supple mouthfeel melds with an exotic stone fruit profile and is backed up by a crazy, zippy mineral drive. In short, these wines are unlike anything produced in the region today. and speak to this unique slice of Dijon.


    The "Cras" bottlings are the domaine's top wines and come from the oldest vines on the steepest portion of En Bessy. Biodynamic and organic approach to all viticulture here, with only small amounts of sulphur additions, primarily at bottling. Older barrel elévage for the Coteaux de Dijon Chardonnay, and 50% new wood for the two "Cras" cuvées.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Chablis' Diamond in the Rough:  Domaine de la Cadette La Châtelaine

    Chablis' Diamond in the Rough: Domaine de la Cadette La Châtelaine

    The value hunt in Chablis is still very strong, but turning to smaller appellations just outside the region has lead to a treasure trove of gems. And, the value continues to be the greatest attribute of these small family-run domaines that tirelessly work to harvest the most pristine fruit yielded from fastidious vineyard work. A 2012 visit with the Montanet family put these crisp and complex Chardonnays on my radar.

    Today, I'm happy to offer the 2017 Domaine de la Cadette Bourgogne Vezelay La Châtelaine for $32 per bottle. 

    Of the eleven wines produced at Cadette, La Châtelaine has always been tops for me, standing out for its racy, crushed oyster shell notes with a forward fruit profile. While nearby Chablis is primarily based on Kimmeridgian limestone, in Vezelay there's a shift to a range of blue, gray, and red clay here, with some parcels on just pure limestone. It's this amalgamation of soil that lends a complexity to Châtelaine, giving so much texture underneath the citrus and green apple primary fruit.

    Working in retail in New York City we discovered a forgotten bottle of Châtelaine with nearly 8 years of age on it. It floored us all, as it maintained so much freshness and salinity, but with developed faint nutty tones and hints of golden orchard fruit. 

    Starting in 1990, Jean and Catherine Montanet vinified their first vintage under the tutelage of Bernard Raveneau, who later introduced the couple to importer Kermit Lynch. It wasn't until 1997 until the Vezelay appellation was officially recognized by the INAO, and two years later the couple began to farm in organics. Among the deep list of esteemed domaines imported by Kermit Lynch, Cadette has always been a secret source for terrific white Burgundy value.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Burguet's Dark Side of Gevrey:  Insider's 100-yr-old Vielles Vignes

    Burguet's Dark Side of Gevrey: Insider's 100-yr-old Vielles Vignes

    Finding Gevrey Chambertin that strictly relies on old vines is rare. Fourrier and Bachelet are famous for this. Vielles Vignes (old vine) bottlings can have different age criteria based on producer, and for this we must be surgical in selection. When it comes to Burguet's 1910-planted vines in Gevrey Chambertin we're talking about the real McCoy.

    Today, I'm happy to offer the 2016 Burguet Gevrey Chambertin Mes Favorites Vieilles Vignes for $84 per bottle, and down to $79.75 on 4-Packs.


    It was Denis Bachelet's importer, Becky Wasserman, who introduced me to the Mes Favorites cuvée from brothers, Eric and Jean-Luc Burguet. Visiting the village's top restaurant Rôtisserie du Chambertin last year, again this house bottling proved to check all the boxes for my kind of secret cellar treat.

    Taking cues from icons Fourrier and Bachelet, these 100-yr-old vines produce tiny, millerandage clusters that benefit from 100% de-stemming and gentle extraction. The counter-punch between these concentrated dark wines and the silky, underlying mineral threads is why the purest wines of Gevrey garner so much attention. In the minuscule, but monumental 2016 vintage, Burguet flaunts Gevrey's most black-fruited and dark earth persona.


    Alain Burguet is famous for starting this domaine from the ground up in 1974, a true rarity in Gevrey Chambertin where inheritance and marriage are the keys to owning 100-yr-old vines. In the late 90's Alain's two sons began to take over and implement some changes with an eye toward showing an even more polished, transparent, and forest floor personality of this grand village known for muscularity. Terroir focus through low new oak, low sulphur, native yeast ferments, and minimal extraction have all been keys in this domaine's rise.

    Burguet thrills me in capturing the grandeur of the village that's home to nine Grand Crus with its black plum, game, and scorched earth notes. While Gevrey's top bottlings fetch record amounts, it's diamonds in the rough like Mes Favorites that discerning Burgundy fanatics turn to for the greatest secret values.

     
    "A more deeply pitched array offers up notes of dark currant, plum, earth and a hint of the sauvage. As is usually the case there is a bit more size, weight and richness and much more minerality present on the medium weight flavors that exhibit good power on the slightly more complex finish that is presently somewhat youthfully austere. This is worth checking out."
    - Allen Meadows of Burghound (January 2018) 
     
    "Plum, chocolate and spice all run through Burguet's 2016 Gevrey-Chambertin Mes Favorites Vieilles Vignes. With a huge core of fruit and notable depth, the Favorites comes across as quite dark and concentrated."
    - Stephen Tanzer of Vinous (January 2018)
    Posted by Alexander Rosen