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. 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 2017 release that has just arrived.
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.
0.5 hectares for Les Macherelles. Aging in 225L barrels, 15% new oak. The richest and most saturating on the palate of the 1ers.
Today, I'm happy to offer the second release of the highly anticipated 2017 white and 2016 Red Burgundy vintages from Pierre Yves Colin-Morey. Pernand Vergelesses, Santenay, Vosne Romanée, as well as a very small allocation of wines from Caroline Morey.
The vintage as a whole is reminiscent of the 2014 whites. If there's an edge to the 2017's it's in their superb balance and harmony at this early stage. All indications from these early bottlings, as well as my experience tasting in barrel, point to a white Burgundy vintage that is destined for greatness.
It will be very exciting to follow the Puligny, Chassagne, and Meursault cuvées arriving later this year, but for now, there's no doubt this second release will bring pleasure right out of the gate!
It's always exciting to follow the evolution of the wines from Burgundy's younger generation. So much of the success of this contemporary group comes from a deep understanding and passion about the families that preceded them. Although still a young man, Benjamin Leroux has more experience than any winemaker his age. Leroux's wines are now clearly in very select company with the likes of Lafon, Roulot, and Colin-Morey. With average production less than 200 cases per wine, the only challenge is securing enough for the demand of this star who's now in the crosshairs of collectors.
Finding a balance in white Burgundy where silky, gossamer texture doesn't come at the expense of tension and salinity is the ultimate high-wire act. And this is where Leroux excels like no other - In tastings among other terrific producers Benjamin's wines jump out for this quality. They're featherweight on the palate with a deep saturation of fruit, minerals, and finish long and incisive with a haunting salinity that has you reach for another sip immediately. Each cuvée is distinct and carries incredible clarity of place. The sense of luxury in these wines is vivid, but terroir is highlighted above all else.
Leroux began studying at Beaune's wine school at age 13. After working in Bordeaux, Oregon, and New Zealand he became winemaker at the revered Comte Armand estate in Pommard. After 30 years in the industry he has now began to focus nearly exclusively on his own label, still consulting for a bit for Comte Armand.
His Bourgogne Blanc is a staple for me each vintage, and brings a complexity that only 70-yr-old vines can, with many parcels sourced from Meursault and Puligny! Aged in 10% new oak.
Saint Romain Sous le Chateau comes from a 1.12 hectare parcel of vines originally planted in 1930! A personal favorite of the Leroux lineup, and the ideal argument to be made for the unmatched value to be found in the crisp and crystaline wines coming from Saint Romain in the best hands. Often a wine that outclasses those from more famed villages. 90% aged in large, neutral barrel. 10% in stainless steel.
Puligny Montrachet shows the more opulent and deeply layered composition of the heralded village. From three lieu dit parcels. Aged in 300-liter barrels, 15% new, with no bâttonage. Quintessential Puligny with an unrivaled lacy texture.
Meursault Vireuils comes from a .5 hectare parcel of 44-yr-old vines located in Meursault's highest altitude lieu dit, on chalky white limestone-dominant soil. Quintessential Meursault salinity with a tightly wrapped mineral core buffered with the ample fruit of the vintage. Aged in larger 300-L barrels, 15% new wood.
Meursault Narvaux comes from a .12 hectare parcel of 45-yr-old vines on iron-rich red soil in this famed Meursault site located just above 1er Cru Genevrières. Aged in one-year old barrels.
Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Tête du Clos is the ultimate class act of the lineup, with dense concentrated fruit balanced by weightless texture. A .4 hectare parcel of 62-yr-old vines famous for its tiny clusters. This is one of Chassagne's most fabled 1er Crus. Aged in 20% new wood.
2012 Benjamin Leroux Bourgogne Blanc
$38 per bottle
2015 Benjamin Leroux Bourgogne Blanc
$35 per bottle.
2015 Benjamin Leroux Saint Romain Sous le Château
$44 per bottle.
2015 Benjamin Leroux Puligny Montrachet
$81 per bottle.
2015 Benjamin Leroux Meursualt Vireuils
$78 per bottle.
2015 Benjamin Leroux Meursualt Narvaux
$84 per bottle.
2015 Benjamin Leroux Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Tête du Clos
$135 per bottle
There was a cold morning in April 2012 visiting with Vincent Dancer when that name didn't set off alarm bells as it does today. The wines have recently been officially picked up by a US importer and what once was a secret domaine quietly tucked into Chassagne Montrachet is now on the lips of collectors well versed with Roulot, PYCM, Lafon, and Carillon. The timing of the pitch-perfect 2014 vintage release had me dead set on securing the lion's share for California. The mystery behind the man is slowly subsiding, but the clamor for the singular mineral delicacy in his wines has reached fever pitch.
Vincent originally came to Burgundy from Alsace and quietly grew his estate into five hectares of vines. He became the very first vigneron in the fabled village of Chassagne-Montrachet to become certified organic. Slowly his wines began to show up on Michelin star restaurants throughout France and the accolades began to follow:
“The highly gifted perfectionist, Vincent Dancer, incarnates the new generation of young, dynamic wine growers.” -La Revue du Vin de France
Dancer's style is one that looks to tell the story of vineyard and vintage without any background noise. There are no yeasts, enzymes, acid adjustments, fining, or filtering. Battonage, a practice widely used in Chassagne to give weight, texture, and creaminess to wines in not utilized here. He set a course on expressing the most precise and laser-focused reflection of terroir, while fully grasping a wine's drinkability and deliciousness comes first.
His stable of cuvées features top sites within Meursault and Chassagne, but it's his Bourgogne Blanc that most captures his skill. By working with very tiny yields he's able to endow a concentration and sense of impact rare for the humble category.Judging a winemaker by their Bourgogne is fair and with Dancer you'll find a serious reward. In the end, all cuvées walk that ultimate high wire act of lacy texture with immense depth of flavor.
Meursault Les Corbins comes from the northern end of the village where richer and more textural Chardonnays are common. This shows a rare combination of saturating texture with a crushed rock, salty finish.
Meursault 1er Cru Tête du Clos comes from a special walled-in-parcel located within the 1er Cru Morgeot vineyard. Crystalline and full of verve. The most choice parcel within the very large Morgeot.
Meursault 1er Cru La Romanée is the richest of the Chassagne wines here. Located next to the famed Grandes Ruchottes vineyard. It's power stands out in Dancer's range immediately.
Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières is the greatest vineyard of Meursault. It has a seductive texture and length of finish that is Grand Cru in all but name. Along with Les Amoureuses in Chambolle and Clos Saint Jacques in Gevrey, Perrières is a prime example of how judging a wine by it's appellation designation could mean missing out on true greatness.
2014 has now shown itself appropriately placed in the pantheon of the great white vintages over the last several decades. Thick skins, high ripeness, and pronounced acidity is the 1-2-3 combo for Chardonnay royalty. This is clearly the last available wines from the vintage and I am thrilled to offer a wide range today, as well as some special back-vintage selections.
2014 Vincent Dancer Bourgogne Blanc
$39 per bottle.
2014 Vincent Dancer Meursault Les Corbins
$59 per bottle.
2014 Vincent Dancer Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Tête du Clos
$104 per bottle.
2014 Vincent Dancer Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru La Romanée
$109 per bottle.
2014 Vincent Dancer Meursault 1er Cru Perrières
$199 per bottle.
2013 Vincent Dancer Meursault 1er Cru Perrières
$187 per bottle.
2012 Vincent Dancer Meursault 1er Cru Perrières
$224 per bottle.
2007 Vincent Dancer Meursault 1er Cru Perrières
$229 per bottle.
2004 Vincent Dancer Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Tête du Clos
$149 per bottle.
We're half way through our offers from Sicily and now seems like a great time to take a break from the heat and focus in on two of my favorite villages in Burgundy. Villages where Chardonnay hits all the right notes, and a select group of producers have become Côte de Beaune idols .
Chassagne-Montrachet, along with Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault, is home to the most regal, structured, and deeply complex Chardonnay in all of Burgundy. Its higher composition of marl can often lead these to being the very most textural of the group. But, we always prefer those working to highlight cut, mineral-drive, and balanced precision. Our small list of producers here are the prime addresses for this style.
Saint-Aubin offers the very best value of white Burgundy in the Côte d'Or today. Prices have certainly risen over the last several years, but in the right hands the wines coming from here simply surpass much of what we see in the more heralded villages. My photo above from Pierre Yves Colin-Morey's 1er Cru En Remilly (sitting above Grand Cru Chevalier-Montrachet) shows just how close some of these vineyards are to the single most expensive plots of vines on the planet.
2014 Caroline Morey Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Les Caillerets
$111 per bottle.
2014 Michel Niellon Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Maltroie
$75 per bottle.
2014 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Chenevottes
$126 per bottle.
2014 Vincent Dancer Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru Tête du Clos
$104 per bottle.
2014 Bernard Moreau Chassagne Montrachet
$73 per bottle.
2013 Bernard Moreau Chassagne Montrachet
$73 per bottle.
2014 Vincent Dancer Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru La Romanée
$107 per bottle.
2014 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Grandes Ruchottes
$179 per bottle.
2014 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Baudines
$122 per bottle.
2013 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Les Baudines
$104 per bottle.
2014 Bernard Moreau Bâtard Montrachet
$489 per bottle.
2007 Ramonet Bâtard-Montrachet
$388 per bottle.
2014 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Criots-Bâtard Montrachet
$559 per bottle.
2013 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Criots-Bâtard Montrachet
$519 per bottle.
2014 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Caillerets
$189 per bottle.
2004 Vincent Dancer Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Tête du Clos
$149 per bottle.
2008 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Criots Batard Montrachet 1.5L
$937 per bottle.
2012 Hubert Lamy Saint Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly
$83 per bottle.
2014 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Saint Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly
$97 per bottle.
2011 Hubert Lamy Saint Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly
$79 per bottle.
2010 Hubert Lamy Saint Aubin 1er Cru Clos du Meix
$66 per bottle.
2014 Hubert Lamy Saint Aubin 1er Cru Derrière chez Edouard Blanc
$68 per bottle.
2015 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Saint Aubin 1er Cru Champlots
$60 per bottle.
2013 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Saint Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly 1.5L
$167 per bottle.
2014 Hubert Lamy Saint Aubin 1er Cru Clos de la Chatenière Vieilles Vignes
$88 per bottle.
2011 Philippe Pacalet Saint Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly
$87 per bottle.
2014 Hubert Lamy Saint Aubin 1er Cru Les Frionnes
$68 per bottle.
2007 Hubert Lamy Saint Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly
$99 per bottle.
2015 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Saint Aubin Le Banc
$50 per bottle.