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Being introduced to a new Burgundy producer is always interesting. After all, the region is not getting any bigger. There is only so much land available and prices have become prohibitive. But Burgundy's allure is hard to resist and aspiring young winemakers seem to keep finding ways to work. In recent years there has been an explosion in the number of tiny negociants making small lots of wine, often from relatively humble appellations. Invariably, these upstarts have spent years learning from A-list domaines and often hail from abroad. Catherina Sadde of Domaine Les Horées is German, Christian Knott of Domaine Dandelion is Australian and Jae Chu of the short-lived (but much-loved) Maison des Joncs is Korean. Chris Santini of Santini Frères is an American. All of them are making incredibly delicious and exciting Burgundies. Today we are very excited to present Seiichi Saito and Maison Petit-Roy.
Seiichi arrived in Japan from Burgundy in 2006 to study viticulture in Beaune. Over the next ten years, he spent time working with a string of outstanding domaines, including Jacques-Frederic Mugnier, Domaine Lefalive, Armand Rousseau and a long stint at Simon Bize. Today he is making and bottling a range of regional and village-level appellations, farming some himself and purchasing others.
I had the opportunity to taste most of them recently and it's clear that Seiichi has a great deal of talent. The wines feel terrifically understated, juicy, bright, and energetic. The whites show high-toned white fruit and floral notes, while the reds are full of bright red berries and spice. Seiichi favors whole-cluster fermentation for the reds and there is no new oak in the cellar. When I tasted the wines I had to keep reminding myself that they were 2018s, as they showed no heat or heaviness at all.
As is often the case with wines like this, the quantities available are very small. This is definitely a "when they're gone, they're gone" situation and as they become better-known I only see them getting more difficult to get a hold of. You should not wait if you don't want to miss out on these delicious Burgundies.
**This is a pre-arrival offer. These wines will arrive on Monday April 19th.**
Seiichi's Aligoté comes from a parcel in Savigny called "Aux Boutiéres." The vines are just shy of forty years old, planted in soils of limestone and white marl. This is textbook Aligoté, full of lemon, lilies and honeysuckle. There is excellent length on the palate and that cool freshness that comes from planting the right grape in the right place. There is very little SO2 added and no apparent oak influence. A delight. Sam Ehrlich
From forty-year old vines up above Pommard that Seiichi farms himself. Fermented 100% whole cluster, this is a supremely appealing Hautes-Cotes. The infusion style for these reds creates great aromatic intensity here, adding both savory and sweet spice notes. On the palate the wine is bursting with bright cherry and strawberry fruit but betrays no trace of overripeness or heaviness and the sense of minerality is undeniable. This word gets thrown around a lot these days but this is truly energetic and a great pleasure. Sam Ehrlich
From forty-year old vines up above Pommard that Seiichi farms himself. Fermented 100% whole cluster and no sulfur added.
Maranges has always gotten short shrift. It is intensely hilly and steep, making it difficult to work, and it leans westward into the plateau of the Cote D'Or, leading to rather late ripening. But in the era of climate change, Maranges' stock has risen as it has become a relative value in Burgundy. Bas de Loyeres faces almost due south and the vines are more than ninety years old. Unlike the other reds in the lineup, this is completely destemmed. It is full of crunchy red fruit and a red floral tone that provides complexity. There is more clay in the soil here and the mineral component is ferrous and salty. There is lovely structure and texture here for mid-term aging and will be delicious now or in five years. Sam Ehrlich