Before we get to our visit with Vosne Romanée's Domaine Yves Bizot, today I thought we'd turn to a former protégé, Marc Soyard and Domaine de la Cras. While its great inception story is a fresh departure from the norm in Burgundy, the wines in bottle are the most thrilling element from Soyard's domaine. In only three vintages the wines have gone from obscure to seeing a cult following.
Today, I'm happy to offer the 2016 release from Domaine de la Cras. Quantities are incredibly limited, with only 6 bottles available of Soyard's top wine. Today's offering is not listed our website. To order, please reply directly to this email. 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 two 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 two Coteaux de Dijon wines, and 50% new wood for the two "Cras" cuvées.24x 2016 Domaine de la Cras Coteaux de Dijon Bourgogne Blanc$35 per bottle.12x 2016 Domaine de la Cras Coteaux de Dijon Bourgogne Rouge$35 per bottle.6x 2016 Domaine de la Cras "Cras" Coteaux de Dijon Bourgogne Rouge$67 per bottle.6x 2016 Domaine de la Cras "Cras" Coteaux de Dijon Bourgogne Rouge$67 per bottle.
When it comes to Puligny-Montrachet and its wide range of prized vineyards there's no address I fight harder to source than Jacques Carillon. And each year the quantities are always smaller than I'd wished for, but in 2016 the yields are painfully low. With only 5 hectares, Jacques has built up the domaine he inherited from his father, Louis, and taken the refinement and incisive detail of these Chardonnays to a new level. This is prime time Puligny.
Today, I'm very happy to offer the 2016 release that has just arrived this morning.
The Carillon domaine has roots going back to 1520, but it was Louis's work in the 1970's that caught importer Neal Rosenthal's interest. And starting with the 1980 vintage the wines were imported by him to the US. In 2010 the estate was divided in two between brothers, Jacques and François. While both produce top Puligny, the wines of Jacques see less bâttonage and focus more on tension and minerality, just the way we like it.
Jacques Carillon's wines always have a wow factor when they're poured. There's a rigor and detail to them magically conveyed within the most elegant frame, sensually begging to be drunk. Rich, golden apple fruit and citrus marries perfectly to the salinity from this fabled village's limestone soils. Their arrival on the table marks a special occasion, no matter the designation of the bottling. As far as I'm concerned, his villages level Puligny Montrachet is simply the perfect bottle of white Burgundy.
Winemaking is similar to estates like Roulot with one year in barrel (never more than 20% new), and then to stainless steel tank for 6 months prior to bottle. This method employed by many of our favorite domaines is a crucial element in preserving the tension at the core of white Burgundy's allure. Never tiring, it begs you to come back to the glass again and again.
2.6 hectares make up the Villages Puligny Montrachet bottling. Aging in 225L and 600L barrels, 15% of which are new.
0.55 hectares for Les Champs Canet. Aging in 225L barrels, 20% new oak. The most linear and fine of the 1ers.
0.56 hectares for Les Perrières. Aging in 225L barrels, 20% new oak. The richest and most saturating on the palate of the 1ers.
0.25 hectares for Les Referts.Aging in 225L barrels, 20% new oak. The most elegant and complex of the 1ers, with a structure making it the most age-worthy of the trio.
18x 2016 Jacques Carillon Puligny Montrachet
$94 per bottle.
12x 2016 Jacques Carillon Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chanps Canet
$157 per bottle.
9x 2016 Jacques Carillon Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Perrières
$157 per bottle.
3x 2016 Jacques Carillon Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts
$169 per bottle.
1x 2012 Jacques Carillon Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Perrières
$146 per bottle.
1x 2012 Jacques Carillon Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts
$179 per bottle
4x 2004 Louis Carillon Puligny Montrachet
$119 per bottle (September arrival)
This July's tasting with Dominique at Comte Lafon brought as much anticipation as any visit I've had to date. As the two of us descended into the cellar it became clear I was about to begin the most comprehensive master class on white Burgundy imaginable. 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 simply the gold standard.
Today, I'm happy to offer the wine that embodies Macon's ability turn out razor-precise Chardonnay, still founded upon the same regal structure that makes Lafon's Meursault so enviable. Of course, with pricing that's much more palatable.
At $41 per bottle, and down to $38.50 on 4-packs, the 2016 Heritières du Comte Lafon Viré-Clessé has it all. And, the 2016 vintage captures the most crystalline aspects of this benchmark wine from the appellation always known for its peerless grace and complexity.
The visit with Dominique brought a tremendous amount of new understanding on how terroir shifts dramatically through each of the Meursault parcels. Concluding the visit with a barrel sample of the 2017 Montrachet was an experience that I ensured would be laser-stitched into my sense memory forever. Standing out for its unbelievable density and staining palate presence, still seemingly void of any weight whatsoever. In case the argument should arise in the future on the greatest white vineyard on earth, this glass only confirms earlier conclusions: there is no debate to be had.
However, with price tags and quantities always so very small, I don't have Lafon Montrachet on my radar for personal drinking. The real surprise from the cellar was just how floored I was by both the 2016 and 2017 Meursault Genevrières. Sure, Perrières is widely regarded as the villages greatest vineyard, but at chez Lafon the former is the wine I kept thinking about as I drove to lunch in a bit of a punch drunk daze from the epic visit. (I was spitting. OK, not the Montrachet).
Lafon's lineup from the Macon sees 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 needs 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.
Tasting Chardonnay from one of the all-time masters is always a special occasion. And while Lafon's entirety of production from the Macon is terrific and well worth your attention, the 2016 Viré-Clessé is simply in a league of its own. Do not miss it.
2016 Heritières du Comte Lafon Viré-Clessé
$41 per bottle.
Domaine Rémi Jobard has always been a personal favorite within Meursault, but I'll admit I've kept these wines far too close to the vest. Rémi's protocol for fermentation is one that breaks with tradition, all with his eye's set on crystal clear reflection of terroir. This is the domaine I've turned to continually for the style of white Burgundy that hits the bulls-eye for me, especially in the face of rocketing pricing for Roulot and Arnaud Ente.
Today, I'm happy to offer the limited release of Remi Jobard's 2016 Meursault lineup, featuring my three favorite cuvées. Quantities are limited to only 12 bottles of each wine.Jobard's wines are always noted for their emphasis on revealing place through an ultra-pale hue, citrus-inflection, and mouth-watering salinity that drives through the finish of each cuvée. With air in the glass they reveal ginger notes, hazelnut, and a crunchy minerality that's simply hypnotic.
The secret to these unique traits from Jobard are surely tied to his divergent protocol in the cellar. Half of Jobard's wines are aged in large foudres from Stockinger, the famed Austrian cooper celebrated for precision and deft use of oak. While the other half of production is aged in standard, smaller Burgundy barrels, of which no more than 20% new wood is used.
After one year in wood the wines are transferred to stainless steel for 6 months prior to bottling, a method employed to firm up the tension and preserve those crisp, mineral-drentched notes that this best class of Meursault vignerons have become rightfully admired for.Bourgogne Blanc Vieilles Vignes is sourced entirely from vines over 40-years-old, covering 6 parcels within the village of Meursault.
Meursault Les Chevalières is sourced from a 0.44 hecatare parcel of 80+ year-old vines in this high altitude, and single most under-the-radar lieu dit of village. Always a site that imparts bursting salinity with a depth and finish that's anything but a villages-designate wine.
1er Cru Les Genevrières is Jobard's top wine, and part of the famous trio of Meursault's Premier Cru sites. A vineyard known for its elegance and regal structure that make it ideal for both the dining table and a dark corner of your cellar to slowly transform. From a 0.62 hectare parcel of 40+ year old vines. 12x 2016 Rémi Jobard Bourgogne Blanc Vieilles Vignes
$40 per bottle.
12x 2016 Rémi Jobard Meursault Les Chevalières
$93 per bottle.
12x 2016 Rémi Jobard Meursault 1er Cru Les Genevrières$149 per bottle.2x 2011 Rémi Jobard Meursault 1er Cru Charmes (Old vines were replanted after this 2011 harvest, and no longer in production)$123 per bottle.1x 2010 Rémi Jobard Meursault 1er Cru Poruzot-Dessus $124 per bottle.
Last week I was in Oregon attending the Willamette Valley Barrel Auction and visiting Lingua Franca's Estate vineyard and brand new winery. I introduced the exciting project between Dominique Lafon and Larry Stone last year for their inaugural release. Today's offer features the just-landed, fantastic 2016 vintage of their flagship Avni Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
I'm very happy to offer both Avni cuvées for $37 per bottle, with special mixed 4-Pack pricing including their two rarest, allocated single vineyard bottlings, "Ryan's Plow" and "Sisters".
Our selection from Oregon has always been a tight list, and the limited production coming from Lingua Franca in the Eola-Amity Hills exemplifies Willamette at its best. The valley has long been sold as a perfect landing spot for Burgundian palates who want to explore more understated New World examples of these two noble grapes. For me, I'm often underwhelmed by wines throughout Willamette who still push extraction and a sweet cola note into their Pinot Noir, or rely on excessive oak and densely ripe-fruited Chardonnay. Lingua Franca goes in the opposite direction.Larry and Dominque's passion and experience in Burgundy brought a much-needed sensible approach to this estate that's already jumped atop of the list for terroir-driven Oregon examples. They tapped Thomas Savre as winemaker, whose experiences working at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Domaine Dujac have been integral in shaping his perspective on these varieties. As you can imagine, the emphasis here is firmly focused on suave texture and elements of tension that perfectly frame the fresh-fruited core that's the foundation of each wine from Lingua Franca.The trio brings with them a resumé that's built for success:
Master Sommelier Larry Stone was the first American to win the Best International Sommelier in his competition in Paris. Working with Charlie Trotter's in Chicago and then the iconic Rubicon restaurant in San Francisco, Larry's cultivation of a serious passion for Burgundy in the US cannot be overstated.
Dominique Lafon is one of Burgundy's most important figures over the last 50 years, leading by example through his decades of work in Meursault and Volnay.
And, Thomas Savre brings such a wealth of experiences from Burgundy and his previous work with neighboring Evening Land Vineyards that he's already one of America's most respected young winemakers.The Jory and volcanic soils in Eola-Amity proved to be the ideal landing for this joint venture. I cannot recommend Lingua Franca enough for anyone passionate about Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. And should your palate veer heavily into Burgundy, this would be an important moment to see what Oregon is up to these days!2016 Lingua Franca Avni Pinot Noir
$37 per bottle.
2016 Lingua Franca Avni Chardonnay
$37 per bottle.
2015 Lingua Franca Ryan's Plow Pinot Noir
$59 per bottle.
2015 Lingua Franca Sisters Chardonnay
$89 per bottle.