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Fresh and cool-toned aromatically, the 2016 Philippe Chavy Bourgogne Blanc balances charm and energy at a civilized (for white Burgundy) price point. Meyer lemon, white flower and stone fruit aromas dominate the nose. The briskly fresh palate displays citrus peel, white apricot, and stony flavors on a succulent and zesty finish with good mineral detail. A fine aperitif, but with enough depth to grace the table with shellfish, sea bass, and milder cheeses. John McIlwain
Viré Classé is a privileged location in the Macon that enjoys a fantastic exposure to the sun on a slight slope. This yields wines that have an added weight and complexity compared to your run-of-the-mill Macon-Villages. At Domaine des Chazelles, organic vines with over 50 years of age broadcast dense flavors of golden apple and stone fruit with an invigorating touch of acid. This is a great Chardonnay with concentration and freshness that could age beautifully for years.
The De Moors have been buying grapes from organic friends around France for the past few years in order to supplement their own vineyards that have been decimated by thunderstorms, frost and mildew for the past three years. The 2017 "Caravan" is a delightful wine made from Clairette, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Gris, Pinot Blanc, Aligoté and Riesling. It's fresh, bright, complex and very "mineral," - perfect for a summer picnic or aperitif and a great example of the talents of Alice and Olivier De Moor.
Gilles Ballorin makes this beautiful Bourgogne Chardonnay from young vines in the lieu-dit "Le Chapitre" in Chenove, above Marsannay. Biodynamic farming and minimal SO2. The wine needs decantin or two hours open, then shows complex aromas of pear, apricot, citrus, almond and stone with a bit of oak and herbal notes. The palate is dense and sapid with ripe pear, almond, wet stone and mineral flavors that continue in the long, opulent but firm finish. This shows the ripeness of the 2015 vintage, balanced by good acidity and earthy flavors. This will cellar nicely for another 5 years or so. Lovely wine. David Lillie
A new wine from Julien Guillot at the Clos des Vignes du Maynes, the 2016 Macon "Clos Fourneau" is 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Gris. The wine shows floral, honeyed aromas of pear, white peach and candied citrus. Ripe stone fruits on the palate are wrapped in bright citrusy acids with chalky mineral flavors that continue in the finish with lemon and stone. Try this with melon and prosciutto or a full flavored fish such as halibut or monkfish. This will improve with a long decant or three to five years in the cellar.
"Aligo-Rythm" is 100% Aligote from our friend Julien Guillot in the Mâcon. This low S02 (1g!), bone-dry, saline treat is the perfect match for oysters. The 2017 shows a bit hazy in the glass and offers aromas of lime blossom, green pear, and funky seaweed. The palate is bracingly dry with flavors of lime zest, sea salt, and Granny Smith apple. A fun wine to help you keep cool as the weather warms up! Amanda Bowman
"Les Boutonniers" is contiguous with Meursault "Meix Chavaux" on shallow soils of clay, high in iron, over the limestone bedrock, usually giving a somewhat lean and very "mineral" white Burgundy, but still with a bit more fat and fruit expression than the Lafouge "Les Hautés." The 2016 shows very floral aromas with pear, citrus and stone. The palate is crystalline, supple and dense, with nice weight on the palate, with pretty white fruits leading to a long finish with citrus peel, spice and mineral flavors. This is a lovely, very refreshing Burgundy to enjoy with grilled fish, roast chicken and goat cheeses. It's delicious now and will cellar nicely for eight to ten years. DL
Pierre Fenals has slowly patched together a collection of vineyards in Burgundy, with some tiny plots he owns and others he manages and farms. The Bourgogne Aligoté is from biodynamically farmed vines located on the hill above St. Aubin. Fermented with native yeasts and vinified and bottled without the addition of sulfur. Everything here is textbook Aligoté, not too aromatic on the nose, but still revealing hints of citrus peel, white flowers and salted lemon. Stones and underripe stone-fruit, very mineral and sharp on the palate. What I like here is the bit of viscosity that creeps into the finish. It's a quality I've noticed in a few Aligotés to date, and also with the whites from Belles Lies. A beautiful and unassuming wine that deserves a bit of air. Eben Lillie
Tessons is one of the great "deuxième" crus (as coined by Clive Coates) of Meursault. The biodynamically-farmed vines date from 1975. The 2016 is more effusive than the village Meursault and displays greater florality to the nose than the Bourgogne with aromas of linden blossoms, Meyer lemon peel, and a dusty bit of chalk. The mid-weight palate is layered with concentrated orchard fruits, citrus peel, and a zesty, pungent sense of stoniness giving way to a long, articulate, rising finish. The after-aromas are fresh and spring-like. This is a lovely Tessons and should really shine in 5-7 years and beyond. Pierre Morey has been on a roll the last few years with Anne Morey deftly handling the vagaries of each year; and every vintage Tessons seems like a sure bet. John McIlwain (wine arrives 1/11)
Les Aigrots is a 1er cru located next to the famed Clos des Mouches on the center of the slope on the Pommard side of the village. The 2016 has a pale gold robe. Orange blossom, white apricot, short crust, a touch of tropical fruit on the nose. The mid-weight palate offers an assortment of stone fruit, green apple, and yellow fruit flavors with a good balance between ripe Chardonnay fruit and a broad, salty minerality. This skews more Corton than Puligny in character with a broadness on the palate, but has nice drive on the finely layered finish. The suppleness calls for richer dishes, standing up quite nicely to Anson Mills polenta (finished with plenty of butter and Parmigiano Reggiano) with porcini ragu and should work quite nicely with monkfish, lobster, or even blanquette de veau. John McIlwain
Beaune 1er Cru "Les Coucherias" is high on the slope on the site of an old quarry and much of the sub-soil is limestone tailings, permitting root penetration and drainage, with a topsoil of mixed clay and limestone "marnes blanches." In biodynamic agriculture since 1979, the vineyard is a south-facing semi-circle—a very warm spot. The 2017 has a pale green gold robe. The nose offers an array of stone fruit and citrus peel aromas with a hint of mineral spice. The mid-weight, punchy palate shows a melange of stone fruit and green apple flavors with a pungent sense of minerality driving the long, concentrated finish. There's plenty going on here with ripe fruit and floral overtones vying with an overt stoniness for attention. Just cracking with a wild mushroom risotto, and a natural match for chicken, roasted cod, or even blanquette de veau. Give a quick decant now or better still in 2-3 years and beyond. John McIlwain
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
Domaine de Roally is one of the great estates of the Macon. The original owner/grower was Henri Goyard, who made old-fashioned Chardonnays with a bit of residual sugar, from his superb organically-tended estate on a limestone ridge overlooking the Saone Valley. Gautier Thevenet of Domaine Bongran took over in 2000 and has happily kept up the quality and style of Goyard. The 2016 is a beautiful wine, with a truly stunning citrusy, lime-flower nose that is fast out of the gates upon opening but improves the longer the bottle is open. A fantastic scid backbone gives this wine taught structure but doesn't intrude upon the ecstatic fruit on the palate. Texturally subtle, with rigid structure but also a touch of saponic fullness. Drink now or let it age for upwards of ten years. Andrew FarquharThe 2016 is a fabulous white Burgundy, showing beautiful aromas of ripe pear and apple, lime-flower, lemon zest and honeysuckle, really lovely! There is fabulous density on the palate with pear, citrus, butter and exotic fruit backed by very firm acidity and saline minerals. Gorgeous now, it will age beautifully, perhaps best in 2026?
"The Pouilly-Fuissé cuvée Pierrefolle is made from the only vineyard situated outside the Clos at Rontets: this plot is set only 500 meters south and is warmer because of its plain East exposure and the sheltered position from the North wind. This climat has older geological origins, preceding the Jurassic era: it sits on a granitic bedrock and its soil has no clay or limestone. This is why at the beginning of the 1970s it was planted using the Riparia rootstock, which has low vigor and guarantees limited yields and very good quality grapes. All these characteristics produce wines with lower acid, compared to those produced within our Clos. Although larger and somehow more generous, Pierrefolle is always sustained by a precise mineral expression and citrus aromatic note." In the warm 2015 vintage, the Pierrefolle shows ripe aomas of white and exotic fruits with a bit of spice and earth. The palate, however, remains very mineral with firm saline acidity underlying the pear and citrus fruit. The finish is long with mineral flavors lingering on the palate. This is a beautiful Burgundy and a great food pairing - drinking well now, but five to ten years of aging will be very interesting. Highly recommended. David Lillie
Jean-Marie Chaland owns two estates in Viré (Macon), Domaine Sainte Barbe and Domaine des Chazelles, both certified organic since 2006. The Sainte Barbe "la Perriere" is made from 35 year-old grapes from a half-hectare parcel near Viré on clay/limestone soils, never treated with herbicides. The grapes are hand-harvested and vinified with wild yeasts, the wine ages for 18 months, half in barrel, have in cuve inox. The 2017 shows pretty aromas of pear, apricot, lime flower and stone. There is nice richness on the palate, which is supple and elegant with chalky white fruits, a bit of nectarine, verbena and a hint of oak, with firm acidity, silky fruit and mineral notes in the long finish. This is a stylish white Burgundy that will accompany any full-flavored fish dish, chicken in sauce and mild cheeses, and it will age nicely for 5 to 8 years.
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