• Old-Vine Puligny Montrachet

    Old-Vine Puligny Montrachet

    Being introduced to Marc and Alexandre Bachelet-Monnot's Puligny-Montrachet took me back to my first glass of Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey. It was clear this domaine, too, was destined for star status. In a short time, these young brothers have also put Maranges on many collectors' maps.

    Bachelet-Monnot's Puligny Montrachet comes exclusively from old vines from four lieu dits: Les Corvées, Les Meix, Les Houillières, and Noyer Bret. This cuvée is a classic interpretation of Puligny with cut, tension, and ripe concentration. Following in PYCM's footsteps, Bachelet-Monnot chooses to ferment and age in larger barrels, with modest oak influence and a six-month stay in steel before bottling.

    The Maranges Premier Cru reds are also stellar in every way, combining regal structure and finesse centered upon a core of pristine red and blue fruits. Maranges 1er Cru Fussières is a personal favorite for its energy and precision, sourced from Maranges' highest elevation vineyard.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • First-Class Chablis

    First-Class Chablis

    Savary's old-vine bottling captures everything I love about Chablis: Crushed oyster shell, cool-fruited citrus, and green apple, etc. At $33 per bottle, this old-vine cuvée is a great value wine to go deep on from these famed Kimmeridgian slopes.

    Chablis may be a part of Burgundy, but its extreme northern setting and soil, comprised of fossilized seashells, share more in common with Champagne and Sancerre than with the more luscious Chardonnay found 80 miles southeast in the Côte d'Or. Burgundy's mineral expression matched with Chablis' cold climate is magical for crafting wines brimming with mouth-watering salinity and faint nutty flavors that appear with air.

    Much of Chablis is harvested too early, with many vignerons resting their laurels on the iconic appellation that's 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. Fermentation occurs in 20% neutral wood and 80% stainless steel for the Vielles Vignes cuvée; the wine then ages in neutral demi-muids 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 U.S.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Chambolle-Musigny Classicism

    Chambolle-Musigny Classicism

    Seeing François Bertheau for a second time was a great reminder of how these wines are definitive examples of Chambolle-Musigny that express a purity of Pinot Noir like nowhere else. Sourcing from only six hectares of vines, Bertheau's understated style perfectly suits what I've come to expect from my favorite village in Burgundy.

    Tasting the 2017's in barrel with François was a masterclass focused exclusively on Chambolle-Musigny. Sensitive and thoughtful are the two traits of François that always seem to ring true. There is only ultimate craftsmanship in this cellar ranging a handful of cuvées from parcels spread throughout Chambolle. Hand labeling for to-go orders (pictured below) is a touch that illustrates François' sensibilities.

    Bottlings of Bertheau back to the '80s are still among my list of the most profound Burgundy wines I've ever had, as they embody the essence of what makes Pinot Noir from this village so cherished. The wines stay lifted while holding onto a finely woven thread of chalky minerality that supports structure for the long haul in the cellar.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Queen of Chambolle-Musigny: 2018 Ghislaine Barthod Release

    Queen of Chambolle-Musigny: 2018 Ghislaine Barthod Release

    I vividly remember Becky Wasserman's 10-year retrospective tasting of the 2002 vintage, held at her home in Burgundy. Top Premier and Grand Cru bottlings filled the tables, but when all was said and done, it was Ghislaine Barthod's wines that held a level of freshness and verve in a world of its own. A high proportion of active limestone separates Chambolle from just about every other village in the Côte d'Or, save for Volnay, resulting in wines with piano string-like tension. Ghislaine's eye for transparency and grace put these at the top of my Burgundy wish list!

    A note from The Wine Advocate's William Kelley on Barthod's 2018 lineup:

    "As I wrote last year, it would be difficult to overstate my admiration for this small, 5.86-hectare domaine, a source of deep and intense but beautifully transparent wines that are invariably strikingly defined by site. [...] These 2018s are marked by the year's sunshine yet remain beautifully elegant and structurally refined, ranging between 13% and 13.6% alcohol. So, readers able to source a few bottles certainly shouldn't hesitate."

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Burgundy Love Affair: 2017 Joseph Drouhin

    Burgundy Love Affair: 2017 Joseph Drouhin

    If I were to choose one domaine in Burgundy to drink from Chablis through the Côte de Beaune, it would be Joseph Drouhin. The name has become synonymous with elegance and precision, offering terroir-driven wines founded upon transparency first and foremost. While the relatively large estate purchases grapes from many top growers, they also have their own domaine holdings where all aspects of viticulture are under their control—fully organic and biodynamic.

    Robert Drouhin was among the first in Burgundy to adopt "culture raisonnée" in the late 1950s, and today the domaine is fully organic and biodynamic in all owned vineyards. Grapes are de-stemmed and fermented with native yeasts. Gentle punch-downs are applied once per day for the first half of fermentation, with pump-overs utilized afterward.

    Drouhin's Beaune 1er Cru Monopole, Clos des Mouches Blanc and Rouge, transcends the reputation of its village. Located at the southern end of Beaune next to Pommard, Clos des Mouches always surprises with the classic Drouhin elegance married with the more powerful style of the village. The track record of aging is unmatched in Beaune.

    Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru is labeled as such, because it comes from only 1.3 hectares of vines divided through the Premier Cru vineyards: Noirots, Hauts Doix, Borniques, Plantes, and Combottes. The tiny parcels are vinified together. Among secret cuvées in all of France, I put this pretty high on my list. This always over-delivers with the classic, unadulterated lacey Chambolle purity and chalky definition.

    My first experience tasting the adored Premier Cru, Les Amoureuses, was at a small wine shop in Chassagne-Montrachet in 2012. A well-known Canadian collector called me over to taste the highly anticipated 2010 release. Not surprisingly, the wine in the glass was one of the most memorable I had in Burgundy. There's something to be said for the openness and generosity of brand new releases. Pure, unadulterated fruit and maximum impact.

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    Posted by Max Kogod