• Queen of Chambolle: 2017 Barthod Aux Beaux Bruns

    Queen of Chambolle: 2017 Barthod Aux Beaux Bruns

    Some producers in Burgundy are especially known for making wines that age at a glacial pace, and Ghislaine Barthod is a perfect example. Chambolle has a high proportion of active limestone that separates it from just about every other village in the Côte d'Or, save for Volnay, resulting in wines with piano string tension.

    I vividly remember Becky Wasserman's 10-year retrospective tasting of the 2002 vintage held at her home in Burgundy in 2012. Top Premier and Grand Cru bottlings filled the tables, but when all was said and done, Barthod's wines held a level of freshness and verve that was in a world of their own. Her eye for transparency and grace put these wines at the top of my wish list!

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • White Burgundy Classic: 2019 Boisson

    White Burgundy Classic: 2019 Boisson

    Bernard, Anne, and Pierre Boisson are the best-kept secret in Burgundy's Côte de Beaune. Mainly enjoyed by a dedicated following in France, the wines exported to the US often end up on the wine lists at restaurants, such as The French Laundry and Eleven Madison Park. Weekly hang-out sessions with Bernard while studying at the University of Dijon in early 2012 put these wines on my radar.

    The family's friendship with Domaine Coche-Dury most definitely impacts the style here, having that magical touch of reduction that many try to emulate, with few finding similar success. Here, it's executed brilliantly, offering a flinty and saturating mineral quality matched with deep texture, concentration, and length. Much like Coche-Dury, the Boisson Bourgogne Blancs transcend the humble designation, all coming from vines located within Meursault.

    The Meursault cuvées are where this domaine reaches its pinnacle. However, a dark horse in the lineup may be the En Reugne Blanc. Auxey Duresses has been dubbed "Baby Meursault" before, but this top bottling outperforms much of what's found in Meursault. Also, Anne's Aligoté offers a transformative experience that elicits Leroy and Coche at a serious fraction of the price.

    Now that Bernard has retired, this release marks the third vintage exclusively labeled under Anne and Pierre. They work in the same cellar "separately though cooperatively," Bernard told William Kelley on his most recent visit, "and vinify in their own way." In general, new oak is limited to 30% maximum, with Bourgogne-level wines at 5% to 10%. The wines then see long aging with no battonage, and their family-farmed land has been free of pesticides and herbicides for generations.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Delectable Dijon: 2019 Domaine de la Cras

    Delectable Dijon: 2019 Domaine de la Cras

    In the hills above Dijon, you can find one of Burgundy's greatest inception stories. It is a fresh departure from a domaine's normal evolution, but the wines in bottle are the most thrilling element from Marc Soyard. In a short time, Domaine de la Cras has gone from obscure to having a cult following.

    Five years ago, the city of Dijon purchased a vineyard just outside its limits, and they essentially held a casting call to find a winemaker for the property. The criteria were: The winemaker must be young, have no family vineyard holdings, farm organically, and open the domaine for educational tours. Rent for the land would be paid to the city in 2,000 bottles.

    Marc Soyard, originally from nearby Jura, was chosen. Soyard does not come from a family of vignerons but previously worked for Vosne-Romanée's esteemed Domaine Bizot, known for its rigorous vineyard work, minuscule sulfur regimen, and whole-cluster fermentation.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Gevrey Chambertin Comeback: 2019 Claude Dugat

    Gevrey Chambertin Comeback: 2019 Claude Dugat

    In 2011, Claude Dugat was one of the first great tastings that tipped off that my year in Burgundy would be a fruitful one. Visting Burgundy this past December, it was clear this domaine has captured the interest of Burg-purists. I came across the cuvée at top restaurants and even natural-leaning wine shops. The wines are a towering example of Gevrey Chambertin terroir from old vines.

    In the 90s and into the aughts, the knock on Dugat (and neighbor Dugat-Py) was that extraction and new oak were obtrusive. Thankfully, they've made a comeback since Claude passed the reigns to his children. "Picking is earlier, the wines are no longer chaptalized, and the use of new oak is a touch more restrained," according to William Kelley, "but above all, simply better integrated, with François Frères supplying barrels that seem to harmonize much more discreetly with the wines raised in them than was sometimes the case in yesteryear."

    Vine yields are kept low, of course, but the secret formula might be the very tiny berries that provide an excellent skin-to-juice ratio. What stands out first and foremost is the sheer concentration of fruit, plus the harmony of tannins and acidity—this kind of Gevrey showcases just how good villages Red Burgundy can be. Tasting the 2019 Gevrey Chambertin on its home turf drove home that I'm hard-pressed to find a better villages cuvée there outside of Rousseau and Bachelet.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Saint-Aubin Encore: 2019 Joseph Colin

    Saint-Aubin Encore: 2019 Joseph Colin

    "Joseph Colin—who left Domaine Marc Colin to start a domaine of his own in 2016—is going from strength to strength and is justly delighted with his 2019 portfolio." — William Kelley, Wine Advocate

    While Pierre-Yves was the first to go out on his own from the Colin family, his younger brother, Joseph, proved with his 2017 inaugural release that he's also the real deal. So how does Joseph's style differ from that of his older brother? They generally have less of a reductive element, and the new oak is a bit more (still just 25% nearly across the board). The fruit profile has a touch more flesh and forward personality but shares the hallmark salinity and verve found in Pierre-Yves' wines. Stylistically, the brothers share much more in common than their father, Marc Colin, whose wines have a stronger imprint of new oak and softer, glossier texture. Starting in 1993, Joseph began working full-time at his family's domain at the age of 19. The brothers spent ten years working alongside their father until Pierre-Yves left to start his own domaine in 2003. Joseph has been at the helm of Domaine Marc Colin ever since and, in 2017, took six hectares of the family's holdings for himself.

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    Posted by Max Kogod