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Part Two of our 2023 allocation has just arrived, in time for fall/winter and holiday dining - or for your cellar. The wines are gorgeous, and of course they offer sensational value to the Burgundy lover...
It was a great thrill to be back in Jean-Claude Rateau's spacious cellar last winter on the Route de Bouze in Beaune, tasting his beautiful 2022s from barrel and a few other treats, like the profound 2020 "Les Bressandes!" The 2022 Hautes Côtes de Beaune and Beaune village wines have arrived - they're just beautiful wines, with perfect ripeness, balance and bright acidity! One of the pioneers of Biodynamic viticulture (beginning in 1979), Jean-Claude makes pure, subtle and focused wines of terroir that are pure pleasure and these early bottlings from 2022 are silky, elegant and really delicious - drink them now and over the next five to twenty years. And as with Domaine Gonon in Saint-Joseph and Domaine Baudry in Chinon, there is no new oak in the cellar!
Eric Asimov in the NY Times included Jean-Claude in his 2019 article 12 Top-Tier (but Undervalued) Burgundy Producers (along with Chandon de Briailles and Jean-Philippe Fichet), saying "I hesitate to mention this estate because the wines are hard to find. But they are so fresh and seductive, both reds and whites from village and premier cru sites in Beaune, that they are worth seeking out." Seek no further...
New this fall is the astonishing 2022 Gevrey-Chambertin which was a sensation at last winter's tasting - only 36 btls are available, we hope to get more next spring...
This shipment again includes the 2022 Beaune "Clos des Mariages" - located toward the bottom of the slope beneath Beaune Grèves and adjacent to Les Cents Vignes, Clos des Mariages is a mix of young and very old vines planted in clay and brown limestone soils. "This fertile soil gives wines that are open and joyous, with delicate spice notes, giving great pleasure in their youth and capable of long-term aging," says Jean-Claude. "Clos des Mariages" was the very first Biodynamic vineyard in Burgundy, beginning in 1979 and the 2022 is just gorgeous!
Although every wine in this shipment is oustanding, we have to give special mention to the 2020 1er Cru "Les Bressandes" which we had not tasted prior to our February visit. This is a superb example of Bressandes, powerful but elegant with fantastic purity of fruit and great terroir expression. The palate is intense and ripe but not heavy - "precise" is the word that came to mind, perfectly balanced with red and black fruits, earth and saline mineral flavors in the very long finish. Certainly interesting to taste now but probably best after five years, and for many years after that - a great Burgundy for the cellar at a reasonable price!
Jean-Claude created his domain in 1979 with a few family parcels, always in biodynamic agriculture, and now cultivates 10 hectares in the Hautes Côtes de Beaune, Beaune and Gevrey-Chambertin. Only a light and superficial plowing is done in summer, respecting wild plants and keeping hedges and fruit trees along the vines. Minimal fertilizers are used, always organic composts, as well as biodynamic preparations. Replanting is by massale selection, seeking a great diversity in the parcels, often with co-planted varieties, such as Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc in La Grande Chatelaine. Fermentations are with wild yeasts, of course, with the goal of making wines with no additives, with minimal added SO2.
The wines are in our store and warehouse, but please allow until Monday 10/23 for in-store pick-up or shipping. Case/mixed case discount applies.
About a kilometer or two northwest of the Beaune 1er Crus, La Grande Chatelaine is a cooler site with soils comprised of clay over limestone. The 2022 Clos de la Grande Chatelain is 90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Blanc and Pinot Beurot. This is a great vintage for the Grande Chatelaine - it's classy and elegant wine with fresh cool-toned aromatics of white flowers, nectarine, rainwater, and pear skin. The medium-bodied palate is a little warmer toned offering flavors of nectarine, white peach, and crushed herb with a fairly savory finish. Beautiful wine, and a very elegant pairing with any elegant seafood or white meat preparation.
Located toward the bottom of the slope beneath Beaune Grèves and adjacent to Les Cents Vignes, Clos des Mariages is a mix of young and very old vines planted in clay and limestone soils. The lovely 2022 Blanc shows high-toned aromas of lime-flower, melon, pear, wet stone and honeysuckle. The palate is light and silky with pear, apple and citrus flavors with chalky minerals and herbal notes in the refreshing finish. Superb in 2022, the wine combines lush, lovely fruit with bright acidity and a real mineral presence. Delicious now, but in 5 - 10 years it will be quite special. David Lillie
The 2022 Beaune Les Prévoles (a lieu-dit below 1er Cru Chouacheux and les Tuvilains) is the most structured and dense of the Rateau Beaune "village" reds, which shows beautiful ripe aromas of cherry and black raspberry with rose, earth, citrus and brown spice. The palate is chalky and sapid, showing the ripeness of the 2022s, with lush berry fruits enveloping firm acidity and mineral flavors. Really a lovely wine and quite delicous now, full enough for grilled meats, as well as chicken and pork dishes and cheeses such as morbier, tomme de savoie. This should benefit from a bit of aging but is quite beautiful as a young wine, drink until 2035.
Jean-Claude says this wine, sourced from lieux-dits Beaux Fougets (clay soils) and Bons Feuvres (iron-rich soils) on the Pommard side of Beaune, always shows aromas of "cerises noires" (black cherries). The 2022 has a bright red/garnet robe. The nose is super-pretty with pure, very floral aromas with notes of violet, black cherry and ripe black raspberry. The palate is beautifully textured, chalky and sapid, with red and black fruits (there's that black cherry!) but with lovely lightness and balance with savory herbal notes, and a brooding earthiness beneath the ripe, exuberant fruit. This showed a bit lighter than the "Mariages" and "Prevoles" but in a delightful and elegant way - give this a bit of aeration and it will be a very beautiful bottle, served a bit cool, with coq au vin or perhaps braised duck legs. Lovely wine!
From vines grown in the calcareous clay soils of "Les Reversées" premier cru, toward the bottom of the hill in the center of the slope next to "Les Teurons," and below "Clos de la Mousse," exposed east and slightly north (hence "reversées" - wrong side of the hill.) Mostly young vines, massale selection from the Clos des Epenaux. The 2022 shows generous black cherry, boysenberry, notes of cherry pit and anise on the nose. Ripe mid-weight palate, lighter than "Bressandes," with ripe black fruits, hints of iodine and iron and other soil beneath supple structure. Succulent acidity and savory mineral notes offset the ripeness and lend energy and drive on a balanced and mineral palate-coating finish.. The purity of fruit and earth notes are finely balanced and this is an excellent Burgundy for the mid-term.
Jean-Claude Rateau has a large parcel in the 1er Cru Les Bressandes on a steep slope facing east with pebbly clay/limestone soils, conducted in biodynamic farming since 1979. The soil is warm and well-drained giving ripe, structured wines. There is a 21-day cuvaison with manual cap-punching followed by 18 months in old barrels. The 2020 is a superb wine that will age beautifully. The aromas are deep and complex with black fruits, earth, violets and spice. The palate is ripe and intense, elegant and beautifully balanced with red and black fruits, earth and saline mineral flavors. "Precise" is the word that came to mind, a great expression of this terroir, showing a bit more like a Grèves or Teurons in this vintage. Certainly interesting to taste now but best after five years of cellaring, and for many years after that. A great Burgundy for the cellar at a reasonable price! David Lillie
Jean-Claude Rateau makes lovely Biodynamic wines in the Hautes-Côtes-de-Beaune in his east-facing vineyard of clay/limestone and marne soils. Quite racy and bright even in the ripe 2022 vintage, the wine shows lovely aromas of lemon, almond, stone, spiced pear and apple. The palate is rounder and more ripe than usual, but perfectly balanced with pear, citrus and stone flavors and terrific length. The antithesis of fat, oaky Chardonnays, this food friendly wine will accompany everything from oysters and grilled seafood to roast chicken and mild cheeses. Delicious now or cellar for 5 to 8 years. This is a real Chardonnay of terroir and a great value! David Lillie
From a small parcel of 50 year-old vines in AOC Hautes-Côtes-de-Beaune, certified Biodynamic, "lyre ouverte" pruning. The wine shows a bright medium red/garnet color and very floral aromas of berry fruits - crushed raspberry, cranberry and strawberry, quite pretty and beautifully light and fresh, even in 2022, with a bit of orange peel and spice. The palate is bright, and light to medium-bodied with sappy tart cherry and strawberry fruit, finishing with juicy acidity and an firm core of saline minerals. The wine is quite elegant, refreshing and beautifully balanced at 12.5% alcohol - it's a perfect Pinot for casual dinners with family and friends. Enjoy!
(This wine is just beautiful, not heavy, fragrant, supple. long - it will be on our table for Thanksgiving, along with the Chevalerie "Breteche.") Located toward the bottom of the slope beneath Beaune Grèves and adjacent to Les Cents Vignes, Clos des Mariages is a mix of young and very old vines planted in clay and brown limestone soils. "This fertile soil gives wines that are open and joyous, with delicate spice notes, giving great pleasure in their youth and capable of long-term aging." (J-C Rateau) Indeed the 2022 Clos des Mariages seems a bit fuller than the 2020 and 2021 but showing lovely brightness and balance, really a superb wine with gorgeious aromas, showing a bright mélange of black cherry, strawberry, red currant and raspberry with hints of spice, citrus, licorice and violet. The palate is very elegant showing dense, chalky fruit, sappy and ripe but with firm acidity and mineral flavors that continue in the very long, juicy finish. This is absolutely delicious now and should drink well continuously over the next ten to fifteen years. Beautiful wine! David Lillie
Jean-Claude Rateau has a large parcel in the 1er Cru Les Bressandes on a steep slope facing east with pebbly clay/limestone soils*, conducted in biodynamic farming since 1979. . Even with the minimal extraction practiced at the estate, the 2017 Bressandes shows a dense red/black color and aromas of black cherry and ripe strawberry, quite deep with sous-bois, violet, graphite and citrus. The palate is dense and chalky, but remains elegant and silky with blackberry, earth, cocoa and minerals with terrific length of red currant, earth and juicy acidity. This is a beautiful wine that will give great pleasure in its youth - it's a bit softer than the 2016 - and should be a superb mature wine as well, perhaps until 2035 and beyond. David Lillie
The Gevrey-Chambertin by Jean-Claude Rateau is from two small parcels in "Aux Etelois" (below Grand Cru Griottes) and "les Epointures" (below 1er Cru Clos Prieur) on the more fine and aromatic side of Gevrey, south of the village. The midweight palate is lithe, racy, and offers up vibrant flavors of dark fruits, crushed herbs, game, and salty soil notes. Great lifted acidity and core of minerality overlain by an assortment of wild berry fruits. Great tension and verve and a bargain at the price. Wonderful with veau aux champignons.
The Gevrey-Chambertin by Jean-Claude Rateau is from two small parcels in "Aux Etelois" (below Grand Cru Griottes) and "les Epointures" (below 1er Cru Clos Prieur) on the more fine and aromatic side of Gevrey, south of the village. Organic and biodynamic farming, minimal extraction and minmal SO2. (Our samples didn't arrive in time for today's offer, but our impressions last January were " SUPER!! Deep, dense, floral, unique...")