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We're proud to offer a selection of our favorite Burgundies in organic and biodynamic agriculture, emphasizing those that represent the best value, and featuring new arrivals from our friends Isabelle and Alain Hasard at "Les Champs de L'Abbaye" in the Côte Chalonnaise. Although a handful of the top estates in Burgundy, such as DRC and Leroy, are now practicing biodynamic farming, the vast majority of the region's domains remain "conventional," using herbicides and systemic pesticdes and fungicides. We feel that the link between healthy soils and better wine is indisputable and we strongly support estates who protect their soils, their ecosystems, and their employees from the effects of systemic chemicals. We're particularly happy to support those smaller estates in Burgundy, whose vigneron(ne)s are in the vines themsleves performing the difficult chores of organic farming, and who offer their beautiful wines at modest prices.
Certified organic since 1999, and practising biodynamic methods as well, Les Champs de l'Abbaye is making vibrant wines from their excellent parcels in the Côte Chalonnaise, primarily in Aluze, Mercurey and Rully, as well as an exuberant Monthélie "Les Sous Roches." The Hasards prune for very low yields producing reds with superb intensity of fruit that remain relatively light on the palate and are balanced by bright acidity. The Bourgogne Blanc and Rully "Les Cailloux" are far from the usual plump and fruity Chardonnays - these are real wines of terroir with subtle fruit, prominent mineral flavors and firm acidity somewhat in the style of the Chablis of De Moor. Anyone who enjoys Burgundy should discover the wines of Les Champs de l'Abbaye which offer sensational value and superb food-friendly enjoyment, both for current drinking and five to ten years of cellaring!
The vines are in the lieu-dit "Queue de Hareng" below an old quarry at the top of the slope in Brochon, next to Fixin 1er Cru "la Perrière," on shallow red/brown soils of mountain silt and limestone pebbles over the limestone bedrock. Organic farming, wild-yeast fermentations with minimal SO2. The 2015 Jane et Sylvain Côte de Nuits-Villages is a superb and unusual Burgundy showing intense aromas of ripe strawberry and cherry with rose leaf, brown spice and herbal notes as well as dusty stone and mineral smells which are typical of this vineyard. With aeration the aromas become more pure and fruit-driven and the palate shows lovely black cherry, strawberry and red currant fruit, quite dense and ripe, with a finish that's extraordinarily long and pure. Decant 4 to 6 hours in advance if drinking now, or cellar for 3 to 5 years and drink till 2027. Highly recommended for those who enjoy some minerals in their Burgundy!
From two small parcels in "Aux Eletois" (below Grand Cru Griottes) and "les Epointures" (below 1er Cru Clos Prieur) on the more fine and aromatic side of Gevrey. 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. This is another great example of the combination of perfume, pure fruit, and detailed earthiness that is a hallmark of the 2016 vintage. Great tension and verve and a bargain at the price. Wonderful with veau aux champignons. John McIlwain
Domaine Anne Bavard-Brooks is located in Puligny-Montrachet and has been organic and biodynamic since 2005. The "La Combe" vineyard is in the village of Puligny with 35 year-old vines on silt and clay soils over limestone, 200 cases made. The palate is round and dense with flavors of pear, fines-herbes, almond, citrus, honeysuckle, and brown spice. The finish is long and ripe with citrus and stone flavors that linger. This is a quite complex and well-balanced Burgundy that will accompany a wide variety of seafood and poultry dishes and mild cheeses. Drinking beautifully now, this will cellar nicely over the next 5 years or more.
From Chardonnay grown on an excellent limestone/clay parcel in Aluze, next to Mercurey. Certified organic, hand-harvested, low yields, very long (10 month) wild-yeast fermentation in barrel. The 2017 shows lovely aromas of dried pear, melon, fines herbes, wet stone, and lemon peel—showing Chardonnay's relation to the Melon de Bourgogne of Muscadet! The palate shows very firm acidity underneath lime flower, citrus rind, and ripe white fruits with a touch of oak, almond and mineral flavors. The finish is long and bracing, with white fruits and citrus, very much in the stye of De Moor in Chablis. This is an elegant racy, stylish white Burgundy that is a great value as well. David Lillie
The Hasard's have 1/2 hectare in Rully with 35 year-old organic vines planted on clay and limestone soils. The grapes are hand-harvested, fermented with native yeasts, and aged in barrel. The 2016 is racier than past vintages, with tightly knit, beam-like acidity springing forward upon opening. Aromas of earthy Bosc pear, lime flower, salty river stone, and soft toasty notes from new wood use. The palate is austere and lighter than the 2015, with flavors of white peach, lime zest, mint, and stone on the finish. The flavors and texture become more supple on the second day, showing hints of smoked pineapple, white flower, seashell, and fleshy pear. A lovely wine in its youth that becomes more expressive and elegant with air, this should be beautiful in 5-10years. Amanda Bowman
Located on the left bank of the Serein, the name Vaugiraut derives from “Vaul Girault,” which means Girault's valley, likely the name of a local owner. Aged entirely in cuve (stainless steel tank), Duplessis' 2015 Vaugiraut offers pretty aromas of white flowers, honeysuckle, white peach, and crushed herbs. The palate displays flavors of white peach, citrus, and salt with hints of green tea and quinine on the stony, precise finish. John McIlwain
From 40 to 80 year-old massale-selection Chardonnay vines high on the slope in Cruzille on limestone with a great deal of calcium carbonate crystal (aragonite) with thin topsoils of clay and silica, never treated with chemicals, certified biodynamic. Fermentation is in 600 liter barrels with wild yeasts, aged 10 months sur-lie without racking, no SO2 until a small dosage (10 - 20 mg/l) before bottling. The 2016 "Aragonite" is a superb, well structured white Burgundy that will age beautifully. The wine shows elegant aromas of pear, lemon confit, lime-flower, toasted almond and stone, really lovely. The palate is intensely mineral and framed in firm acidity, with white fruits, citrus, spice and stone flavors. The living soils of the Clos give this wine an extra dimension of acidity and saline minerals that will contribute to a long life for this lovely wine, perhaps best 2025-2035, but it's delicious as a young wine as well. Highly recommended. David Lillie
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 2017 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. Serve with fish in sauce, scallop crudo, Asian foods and mild cheeses. David Lillie
Jean-Claude Rateau makes this lovely, light-bodied Burgundy from a small parcel of 50 year-old vines in AOC Hautes Côtes de Beaune, certified biodynamic, "lyre ouverte" pruning. The 2017 shows a bright red/garnet color, with very pretty aromas of tart cherry and raspberry with hints of rose, spice and violet. The palate is light but sapid, and beautifully flavored with bright cherry, red currant and raspberry fruit supported by fresh acidity. There is excellent length of berry fruits, mineral flavors and citrusy acids in the finish. This is an elegant Pinot Noir to serve cool with chicken and game birds, fish in sauce, grilled pork and mild cheeses - just delicious! David Lillie
When life gives you lemons (or the worst frost in decades) you make a cuvée from your lieux-dits most devastated by Mother Nature, which is exactly what Jean-Claude Rateau did with the 2016 vintage. Fortunately the resulting Cuvée Ronde is delicious! Strawberry, pomegranate, crushed herbs and beetroot on the nose. On the racy, lithe palate flavors of wild strawberry, red currant, chalk, and raspberry seed, vie for attention with savory notes of thyme, freshly turned soil, and black tea on a lifted, fresh, cool-toned succulent finish. Not a bruiser, but there’s loads of charm, sap, and detail here. Old-fashioned in the best sense and a vibrant expression of 2016. Try this with grilled salmon or roasted chicken. John McIlwain
Jane et Sylvain: A refreshingly unpretentious name for a small organic estate in Gevrey-Chambertin. Their Bourgogne Rouge is from a parcel that has never been chemically treated and always tended organically. Yields were very low in 2016 in most of Burgundy - Jane and Sylvain lost most of their Bourgogne Rouge to mildew and hail, but the small quantity produced is outstanding, showing a deep red/black color and lovely aromas of ripe black cherry and blackberry with violet, earth, citrus and spice. The palate is sappy and dense, but balanced with firm acidity, at 13% alcohol, showing chalky black fruits, earth and mineral flavors that continue in the long finish. Decant or open in advance if drinking now, best to cellar three to five years. This is a serious Bourgogne Rouge at a great price!
We are happy to have just received (July 2018) a few more cases of the 2014 CDN Villages, as this wine really benefits from some time in the bottle and decanting. Always an earthy and mineral-infused wine, the 2014 is a bit more fruit-forward but is still primarily a Burgundy of terroir. There is reduction when first opened so please decant or open in advance. With aeration the wine shows subtle aromas of red currant, strawberry and tart cherry with violet, brown spice and earth - really quite complex and pretty. The palate is well-structured with chalky mineral flavors underlying the earthy raspberry and strawberry fruit. The finish is long with firm acidity and mineral notes. This is a lovely and beautifully balanced Burgundy for those who enjoy minerals as much as fruit! Note: The wine improves dramatically over 3 to 4 days, re-corked in the fridge, for those with enough patience - or cellar for five to fifteen years. (Note from Sept 2016)
The Trapet 2016 Passetoutgrains A Minima is from 50% Pinot Noir, %50 Gamay grown in the biodynamically farmed Grands Champs parcel in Gevrey. Wild cherry, strawberry, beetroot, and blood orange peel on the bones. Fresh blast of red fruits, followed by ferrous soil notes, and tangy red currant/pomegranate flavors. Mouthwatering and bottled with a minimum of SO2. Served with a chill, this is perfect burger or barbecue wine. John McIlwain
Tight upon opening. Black tea, vine smoke, dark berry fruit, and wet iron aromas on the nose. With air, earthy notes, cherry pit and Italian plum skin aromas appear. The palate is similarly circumspect out of the gate, but with time in the decanter offers a melange of flavors of black fruit, Earl Grey tea, mustard seed, cherry pit and a pungent, ferrous, mineral core, with hints of anise. There’s a lot coiled within, with the balance currently veering toward earthy rather than fruiy, but this has nice tension and over the course of the evening gains in weight and overt fruit. Trapet makes beautiful, age-worthy Burgundies and the 2016 shows best with a long decant now, and will shine brightly with 3-5 years in the cellar and beyond. A fine pairing with roasted sausages with grapes and better still with cheeses afterward. John McIlwain
From 10 to 50 year-old vines grown on limestone soils (Middle Jurassic!) in the commune of Aluze, Côtes Chalonnaise, certified organic since 1999. This is a lovely Pinot Noir, a bit rounder and riper than previous vintages - the 2017 shows aromas of ripe black cherry, earth, roast meat and violets. The palate is bright but lush with ripe raspberry and cherry fruit, earth and mineral flavors with ripe, sappy fruit in the finish. It's a great value in Red Burgundy - serve cool with chicken and pork dishes, mild cow cheeses. Decant if possible or hold two to five years. David Lillie
The 2017 Côtes Chalonnaise "les Claveaux" is a lovely new cuvée from Alain and Isabelle Hasard at Les Champs de l'Abbaye. Made from young vines of Pinot Fin, with 10% Chardonnay, the wine is delicate and delicious and should be served a bit cool. The aromas are vivid and very pretty - tart cherry, raspberry, citrus and violet. The palate is light and refreshing with cherry and berry fruits and hints of citrus and earth. Serve with chicken and white meats and save some for grilled foods this summer...
Organic since 1997, Alain and Isabelle Hasard produce, pure, vibrant Burgundies at their small estate near Mercurey. The 2017 Clos des Roches is a true Clos of about one-half hectare, known for hundreds of years for the quality of its limestone terroir, facing due south. This is a beautiful Pinot Noir, showing very ripe black cherry aromas with hints of citrus peel and violets with earth and mineral notes. The palate shows lush black cherry and blackberry fruit, quite earthy and dark balanced by bright acidity and with very pronounced saline minerals. This is a unique and delicious Burgundy, perfect with pork and chicken dishes, charcuterie and full-flavored cow cheeses. Only five cases for the US. David Lillie
Certified organic, from a limestone terroir rich in seashells, with iron-rich soil, just below the 1er Cru Clos des Miglands. Very low yields, 80% de-stemmed, wild-yeast fermentation, one-year aging in 40% new fine-grained barrels, bottled by gravity, no fining or filtration. The 2016 Marcoeurs shows subtle aromas of black cherry with plum skin, earth, graphite and hints of violet and citrus. The palate is very mineral and saline with flavors of earth and tart black cherry that are intense and long, finishing with firm acidity. This shows the intensity of the 2016 Burgundies and is delicious now with a long decant, or cellar for five years and enjoy until 2030. David Lillie
From the biodynamically farmed high altitude Les Sous Roches lieu-dit on the northwest slope in Monthélie composed of thin stony clay soils over limestone. 2016 is a great vintage for the Monthélie "Les Sous Roches" from Alain and Isabelle Hasard showing the classic structure and density of this excellent vintage. The wine shows vibrant aromas of fraises des bois and cherry liqueur with earth, mint and citrus. The palate is dense and sapid with bright blackberry and black cherry fruit, spice, earth and firm acidity. Impressive length with sappy black fruits, mineral flavors and refreshing acidity. Delicious now if a bit intense?perhaps open the night before and re-cork?best to cellar 5 years and drink until 2030+. Serve with mushroom pappardelle, roast veal, grilled meats. David Lillie
The Vignes du Maynes "Cuvée Auguste" is a superb Burgundy made from massale selection Pinot Fin planted in 1964. The parcel, high on the slope in Cruzille, is on Bathonian limestone with a great deal of calcium carbonate crystal (aragonite) with thin topsoils of clay and silica. Yields of 20 hl/ha, semi-carbonic and normal alcoholic fermentations, with zero additives, bottled under nitrogen. Yields were quite low in 2016, but as with much of Burgundy, the 2016 Cuvee Auguste is a classic, well structured wine that should age beautifully. The wine shows beautiful aromas of tart cherry, rose, earth, orange peel and spice. The palate is dense and earthy with a core of deep berry fruit, silky and elegant with notes of citrus, licorice and roast meat. The finish is long and sapid with chalky minerals, citrus, spice and berry fruits. This is a gorgeous living wine - decant a few hours if drinking now or cellar five to ten years or more. A very small quantity is available of this rare and beautiful wine. David Lillie