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Côte Chalonnaise Champion: Vincent Dureuil
It’s not every day that we spotlight Burgundy’s Côte Chalonnaise. However, there is one producer that we’re thrilled with: Vincent Dureuil in Rully. Vincent is a favorite producer among Burgundy’s circle of vignerons. With fervent backing from wine critic William Kelley, he’s getting his long-overdue spotlight in the mainstream. Allocations have dramatically shrunk, but today's offer includes several cases of Vincent's flagship Rully Blanc. In short, these humble Rully wines rise to the occasion of white Burgundy’s top echelon.
Rully sits on the northernmost border of the Côte Chalonnaise, just five miles south of Chassagne Montrachet, and therefore shares similar clay and limestone soils to the Côte de Beaune. The Rully Village comes from old vines across four lieu-dits and the Maizières from a single vineyard planted in 1997, after Vincent took over. Both wines are made in the same manner: Native fermentation in barrel with some stirring of the lees and 12 months of aging (20% new oak). The Rully is a clear picture of the cool, classic 2017 vintage, and Maizières’s east-facing exposure and clay-based soils always express bolder orchard fruit.
Vincent showed a keen talent for winemaking from an early age. He took over his family's domaine when he was 24 years old. For three decades, Vincent has upheld his appellation’s ability to produce as elegant and terroir-driven wines as anywhere else in Burgundy. He transitioned to organic farming in the mid-2000s and continues to skillfully care for the vines planted by his grandfather in 1949. Domaine Dureuil-Janthial epitomizes the purity and elegance we long for in white Burgundy!
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Photo Credit: North Berkeley Imports
Joseph Roty: Gevrey Old-Vine Purist
Domaine Joseph Roty is one of the great houses of Gevrey Chambertin. Operated by the Roty family since 1710, with a tenure of this length, they have achieved greatness working with true old vines. All of Roty's wines come from 60-plus-year-old vines. Their most famous site, a section of Charmes Chambertin, was grafted in 1881. This ancient vineyard was among the first to be grafted after phylloxera wiped out half of France's vines. The cuvée is aptly labeled "Très Vieilles Vignes," or very old vines.
Stylistically, these wines hold nothing back, with concentration and intensity being the name of the game. 100% destemmed fruit undergoes a three-week fermentation at cool temperatures, followed by time in oak (50-100% new) before bottling without fining or filtration. Roty's masterful techniques and careful barrel selection yield red Burgundy with a tight coil of Gevrey's earthy minerality and a stylistic flair melding black fruits with black truffle.
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First-Class Chablis: 2021 Famille Savary
Savary's old-vine bottling captures everything I love about Chablis: Crushed oyster shell, cool-fruited citrus, green apple, etc. This old-vine cuvée from Chablis's famed Kimmeridgian slopes is a great value wine to go deep on.
Much of Chablis is harvested too early, with many vignerons resting their laurels on the iconic appellation printed on the label. Savary is a prime example of what the region can do at its very best, pushing ripeness in this frigid climate to the maximum while preserving tension. For the Vielles Vignes cuvéee, fermentation occurs in 20% neutral wood and 80% stainless steel. It then ages in neutral demi-muid barrels.
Olivier Savary follows a long history of vignerons, but due to challenging vintages, his parents chose not to continue the family domaine. Olivier had to start over when he finished enology school in Dijon. Since 1984, he and his wife, Francine, slowly built what was once lost. A serendipitous introduction to importer Kermit Lynch by François Raveneau brought these wines to the States.
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Next Gen in Chablis: 2020 Eleni et Edouard Vocoret
Eleni and Edouard Vocoret are among the latest producers you should know in Chablis (Not to be confused with Vocoret & Fils, overseen by Edouard's father). With guidance from family and neighbors, including Vincent Dauvissat, the wines from this young domaine already show true distinction.
Today's offering includes two cuvées: En Boucheran sits between 1er Crus Vaillons and Montmains, and Bas de Chapelot (A new addition for us) is just below 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre. These wines came onto our radar two years ago and continue to wow us. Pristine fruit, salinity, and bright acidity abide by Chablis. However, a distinct seashell minerality seems to be the calling card here, and élevage in old oak barrels gives the wines a softness that almost feels luminescent.
Eleni and Edouard met while working harvest in New Zealand. In 2012, Edouard’s family gave the newlyweds their own five hectares of vines to tend to as they saw fit. They sold off the fruit for the first several years while tailoring the vineyard, then produced their first vintages in a family member’s garage. Formerly, Eleni worked as Vincent Dauvissat’s assistant winemaker, where she adopted much of his farming techniques, and Edouard apprenticed in Pouilly-Fuissé. This up-and-coming domaine should be followed closely!
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Volnay Apex: 1992-2020 Marquis D'Angerville
Volnay and its high limestone content sit in rare company with Chambolle-Musigny as one of Burgundy's most ethereal and delicate examples of Pinot Noir. While there may be no Grand Crus in the village, savvy collectors know these top Premier Crus transform and go the long haul, as nearly anything from the Côte de Nuits.
D'Angerville, as well as De Montille, is at the apex of what's been proven possible here in Volnay for decades. Pronounced structure and tightly-coiled mineral tension make these perfect wines to stash in the cellar, though they now have a more open-knit style than has been standard in the past.
D'Angerville's protocol of excluding punch-downs and relying solely on pump-overs for fermentation gives these wines a plush and soft-fruited personality that meshes brilliantly with the chalky terroir of Volnay. This combo brings enough slight austerity to make these delicious and supremely thought-provoking.
A note from Wine Advocate's William Kelley on the 2020 vintage: "The vintage that on paper was the most extreme of the 2020-2019-2018 trio has in fact delivered the most fine-boned, pretty wines of them all. Perfumed, vibrant and beautifully balanced, this is a compellingly delicate, precise portfolio that comes warmly recommended."