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This one is for our friend and former colleague John McIlwain. For a large part of his career John worked in retail in New Jersey and was extremely knowledgeable about the old Robert Chadderdon portfolio. One of the very first times we had dinner together he asked me if I had ever tried the Burgundies of Dubreuil-Fontaine, to which I replied that I had tasted them on one or two occasions. The next time we got together, he brought along an older bottle of Corton-Bressandes for me to try. As our friendship progressed, more bottles from this particular estate appeared.
What John has always appreciated about Dubreuil-Fontaine is a certain old-school character, not rusticity, but a distinct structural profile. The wines can feel somewhat four-square in their youth, the result (perhaps) of quite rugged vineyard sites combined with classic extractive winemaking and great restraint in the use of new oak. But with some age, these wines resolve into something lovely. The whites, already mineral in their youth, become little baskets of pure chalk and dried white flowers. As for the reds, the fruit sweetens, earth and underbrush come to the fore and they become more supple and silken. In short, they turn into really classic lovely Burgundy wines.
Suffice to say, I was very excited to luck into a parcel of older Dubreuil-Fontaine wines, two vintages each of a single white and red. The white is the Pernand-Vergelesses Premier Cru 'Sous Fretille.' This has long been one of my favorite sites in Burgundy. Tucked deep in the combe of Pernand, 'Sous Fretille' has exposition nearly to the legendary Grand Cru site Corton-Charlemagne and shares a similar soil profile. But because of its out-of-the-way location, it remains a degree or two cooler than its better-exposed neighbors. There are two vintages available today.
The 2012 shows the concentration of this difficult and low-yielding vintage. Like a lot of 2012 white Burgundies it's relatively round and feels quite ready to drink (though there is no lack of freshness). The 2014 is a classic vintage for white Burgundy and this one is just coming into its own, still primary with lemon peel and sea spray. While they diverge in texture and development, what unites them is a mineral core, shimmering white from the limestone. What they lack in power compared to Corton-Charlemagne they more than make up for in stony intensity.
The red from Dubreuil-Fontaine is their Savigny-les-Beaune Premier Cru 'Les Vergelesses.' This is a vineyard that is well-known to Chambers Street shoppers - excellent versions are produced by some of our favorite estates, including Chandon de Briailles and Simon Bize. Today we have both 2012 and 2013 on offer and they are not only terrific but wildly different and hugely instructive in examining how wines develop. Upon opening they are quite similar, red fruit hiding under the kind of earthy leafy aromas that I like to describe as beautifully decaying. But as I sat with both bottles, the 2013 shed some of those tertiary notes and some soaring and pure strawberry fruit came into focus. By contrast the 2012 became more savory, the red fruit intermingling with soy and dusty mineral flashes. Both were totally compelling and delicious.
There is one more wine on today's offer and while it comes last it is certainly not least. The Chateau des Quarts 2019 'Clos des Quarts' is perhaps the best iteration yet of this powerhouse Pouilly-Fuisse. It's the product of a joint project of two of Burgundy's best and best-loved winemakers, Olivier Merlin and Dominique Lafon. They purchased the Chateau des Quarts in 2012, immediately began converting the vineyards to organic farming and set about producing some truly serious and beautiful wines. The vines in the rocky site range from sixty to more than a hundred years old. The 2019 is unbelievably poised, with beautiful lemon and white peach fruit, racy acidity and terrific weight. This is as good as many Cote D'Or whites I've tasted from the 2019 vintage and better balanced too - no trace of alcohol heaviness here, JUST WORLD CLASS WINE.
Quantities vary on the Dubreuil wines today - if you want the whites I'd urge you to act particularly quickly! PLEASE NOTE: This is a pre-arrival offer. These will all be in stock at the end of next week.
Chateau des Quarts 2019 Pouilly-Fuissé Clos des Quarts
The product of a joint project of two of Burgundy's best and best-loved winemakers, Olivier Merlin and Dominique Lafon. They purchased the Chateau des Quarts in 2012, immediately began converting the vineyards to organic farming and set about producing some truly serious and beautiful wines. The vines in the rocky site range from sixty to more than a hundred years old. The 2019 is unbelievably poised, with beautiful lemon and white peach fruit, racy acidity and terrific weight. This is as good as many Cote D'Or whites I've tasted from the 2019 vintage and better balanced too - no trace of alcohol heaviness here, JUST WORLD CLASS WINE.