• Humble Bourgogne Precision: Charles Van Canneyt

    Humble Bourgogne Precision: Charles Van Canneyt

    You might imagine that the most decisive moments in buying Burgundy fall at the very high end. But who wants to be promoting $400-plus bottles that don't quite reach the highs their tariffs imply? Rather, it's the humble Bourgogne-level wines that I fret about the most. I've argued many times in support of the truth that value exists at every twist and turn in Burgundy. You just have to look hard enough.

    Charles Van Canneyt is best known for his day job producing the revered wines at his family's estate in Vosne-Romanée, Domaine Hudelot-Noellat. A few years ago, Charles wanted to have some freedom to express Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in a slightly different vein and started his own label. Within the context of Burgundy, though, the wines are still extremely tied to the Hudelot-Noellat style. Purity first.

    Looking at Burgundy's $30 to $40 category can be a bit of a minefield. It's critical that the names in question apply the same meticulous process as top cuvées. That's precisely why the Bourgogne Rouge from Charles is such a winner. Tasting this alongside his Charmes-Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos de Beze, the Bourgogne Rouge carries the same translucency and rigorous definition as the Grand Crus.

    Regal structure aside, there's also an immediacy and fruit-forward component that makes these super primal in their deliciousness. This has become a house Burgundy for me. I once came upon a bottle of the 2013 bottle hiding in a dark corner of my cellar, and its expression had only grown more vibrant in three years: Gorgeous bright cherry fruit, a finely woven thread of minerality, and a hint of forest floor residing under it all. From one of the most gifted minds in Burgundy, this is a great chance to line the walls of your cellar for a song.

    Shop Charles Van Canneyt

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Gevrey-Chambertin Sleeper: Domaine Trapet

    Gevrey-Chambertin Sleeper: Domaine Trapet

    Domaine Trapet is one of Burgundy's most historically significant producers, but now, with their seventh generation at helm, it seems like they're on a roll lately. Gevrey-Chambertin wines are typically known for their powerful construction and dark earth, but Trapet's Pinot Noirs are light on their feet, still finishing with Gevrey's alluring brown spices.

    The style here emphasizes aromatic clarity and refined tannins, with wild red berries saturating the palate, and a persistent mineral drive. As much as the whole-cluster approach gives way to bursting fruit on the attack, the palate is lean and chiseled. Stems range from 20% to 50% from Village to Grand Crus. In all, wherever you taste in the hierarchy of cuvées, Trapet is among the greatest producers in the Côte de Nuits. The only weakness is the exceedingly limited amount that comes to California!

    Shop Domaine Trapet

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Red Burgundy Secret: Edmond Cornu

    Red Burgundy Secret: Edmond Cornu

    I'm continually learning new lessons as a retailer, and I have vivid recollections of how tasting the 2013 and 2014 Edmond Cornu Bourgogne Rouge put the domaine on my radar. Small purchases of each proved to be great buys and immediately found devoted supporters. However, the wines quickly vanished from the iconic Neal Rosenthal portfolio in weeks after those initial purchases.

    Edmond Cornu is famous for his terrific Grand Cru Corton, and his Les Barrigards Bourgogne Rouge is sourced from a single vineyard of old vines nearby. Each year, it delivers everything we love about Côte de Beaune's exotically spiced Pinot Noir. Vintages like 2005, 2009, and now 2019 are ideal to go all-in on the Bourgogne level red wines: More concentration, deeper texture, and finishes lengthened!

    Cornu is a legend among Burgundy collectors and purists. The domaine was established in 1875, then Edmond began bottling instead of selling his grapes to negociants in 1959. Cornu's Grand Cru Corton reaches great heights, but for 20 percent of the price, Les Barrigards deserves a spot in every Burgundy lover's cellar.

    Shop Edmond Cornu

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Mâcon's Value Bullseye: Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon

    Mâcon's Value Bullseye: Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon

    Descending into the cellar with Dominique at Comte Lafon, it became clear I was about to begin a comprehensive masterclass on White Burgundy. While Lafon's reds may still be the most under-appreciated Pinot Noirs of the Côte de Beaune, his whites from an array of parcels in Meursault and the Macon are a gold standard.

    The Macon wines see the same organic and biodynamic viticulture approach as his Meursault vines. The distinction between the two in the cellar comes down to aging, with Macon's more luscious fruit finding the tension they need through aging in larger formats giving less oxygen exchange. Bottling also takes place well before the Meursault cuvées, again to preserve the snap and precision that works so well in this warmer, more southern appellation.

    Le Monsard was a "wow" moment for me, even after tasting Lafon's excellent Meursaults. Likely the highest-altitude vineyard in Maconnais, this site sees warmer temperatures and a more fruit-forward profile than the Côte de Beaune, with another level of detail and mineral backbone.

    Lafon's entire lineup from the Macon is terrific and well worth your attention, but the 2019 Viré-Clessé is in a league of its own. The wine embodies Macon's ability to turn out razor-precise Chardonnay, still founded upon the same regal structure that makes Lafon's Meursault so enviable. Of course, with much more palatable pricing!

    Shop Lafon's Les Héritiers

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Designations be Damned: Sylvain Pataille Marsannay

    Designations be Damned: Sylvain Pataille Marsannay

    Sylvain Pataille is famous for three things: Producing some of the most texturally seamless and balanced wines in the Côte de Nuits, his oenologist consulting for over 15 domaines, and having really awesome hair. My visit to the domaine was a terroir masterclass, as we tasted over 20 wines from Marsannay.

    Marsannay and Pataille are a match made in heaven. Both have seemingly flown under the radar for far too long. Search through any savvy Burgundy collector's cellar, and next to the Rousseau and Dujac, you're sure to find a host of Pataille's Marsannay. This village located above Gevrey Chambertin has a complicated history, though. Mainly planted with Gamay at the time of classifications, no vineyards could receive a status higher than villages.

    Today, Clos du Roy would undoubtedly be a Premier Cru, and it's a steal within the hierarchy of Burgundy's elite bottlings. There's never any shyness here, always finding that elusive mix between power, elegance, and silken tannins without overt new oak influence. Pataille's wines are fabulous from top to bottom, but Clos du Roy demands the greatest admiration.

    Shop Sylvain Pataille

    Posted by Max Kogod