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I've known about Burgundy since Chambers Street Wines opened in 2001, started tasting with my father in 2011 with producers at wine fairs and in their cellars, and finally started paying attention around 2015. It would be remiss of me not to mention the influence of a former colleague, John Beaver Truax, whose tenure at Chambers Street was in the range of 2011-2014. His enthusiasm and story-telling piqued my interest, and the bottles he occasionally shared opened my eyes to the greatness of fine Burgundy. Since 2015, I've been talking with winemakers and tasting a fair amount more than I ever did previously. I remember when 2016 was being written off by some reviewers after the big, charming 2015 vintage, and I recall how many producers felt that 2016 was truly a "winemaker's vintage," with fine acidity and leanness, wines to age and enjoy after cellaring. I'm still figuring out how I feel about 2018, '19 and '20, though I've been a fan of whites over reds in '20, found some really nice '19 reds which should age very well, and see '18 as a bit of a hit or miss vintage, depending on the producer and appellation. As for 2017, I've always felt that the wines were extremely charming, forward, open, fruity and enjoyable in their youth. There is some discussion starting about whether they're beginning to close up, in which case there is merit for aging them 5+ years and then drinking them. I still find myself enjoying the ripe strawberry fruit, and overall high quality of the wines in the present moment. Realizing that the window to buy 2017 Red Burgundies from the normal channels was beginning to close, I've decided to round up what stock I could find in the city, in an effort to offer what will surely just be available from auction and private cellars in the near future. This will hopefully be the 1st round, as I may have discovered more 2017s during my initial hunt!
In terms of reds from Burgundy that are ready to go and charming on opening, there are of course the effortlessly beautiful, elegant and balanced 2021s, unfortunately in short-supply due to growing conditions. We'll be offering everything we can from this stellar vintage (stay tuned!) as the wines are released. Otherwise, for drinking now, I've found that 2017 reds are consistently reliable and in a lovely place currently. Here's out little offer, hopefully with more to come!
- Eben Lillie
(3 btl max, please) 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 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
This Premier Cru red comes from the Clos du Chapitre, a parcel with some iron, along with limestone with flint stones.. Vines are an average of 50 years old, surrounding the parcel called 'Les Miex,' and facing South. Destemmed fruit, native yeast fermentation, and aging in barrel for 12 months, with 10-15% new oak, followed by 6 months in stainless steel before bottling. There is a ripe strawberry and raspberry profile on the nose with integrated wood and mineral structure in the mid-palate. Delicious now and should be lovely as the fruit tones down over time in the cellar.
We are total suckers here for the white wines of Anne Morey and Domaine Pierre Morey. They are wines of elegance, intense focus and minerality and always in the absolute top echelon of white Burgundy year after year. But her reds, while not as coveted, are no less beautiful and the 2017 Monthelie villages is a stunner. The fruit is incredibly pure, with crackling red cherries. But the structure and texture is what is most appealing. Red Monthelie can be a bit hard in its youth, but this is open for business, with gentle tannins that don't obscure the dusty chalky mineral component. That said, there is more than enough material to age this for several years. First class wine! - SE
'Les Tavannes' is a small lieu-dit located at the bottom of the hill in Pommard, across the D973 from Epenots. The top-soil is clay on limestone, with stones and limestone pebbles allowing good drainage and easy penetration of the roots. The parcel faces South-East, with vines planted in 1973 and 1990. Altogether, Moissenet-Bonnard's parcel is half an acre. Grapes are hand harvested, destemmed, and fermented with native yeast. Aging is for a year in barrels, with 25-30% new oak. The charm of the fruit on this wine steals the show on the first impression. On second sip (or glass), the mineral length and subtle earthiness become more apparent, and reveal what an impressive wine this is. Drink now, or hold if you have the patience!
The Grand Cru 'Les Combes' site is nicely situated on the hill of Corton, a half-hectare parcel, with South-East orientation. The soils are a deep red clay, with a concentration of silt on the surface. As with all of the Genot-Boulanger reds, the grapes are destemmed, go through fermentation with native yeast, and are aged for a year in barrel (10-15% new) and 6 months in steel tank before bottling. Beautifully aromatic on the nose, with balsam, spice and wood notes mingling with wild strawberries and red fruits. A wine that is already elegant and refined, ready to drink, and poised to age well.