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From vines high on the slope in Beaune just above the 1er Cru L'Ecu, facing east, in a terroir of clay and pebbles over limestone. Harvested by hand into small crates, slow fermentation (4 to 8 months) with wild yeasts, 15 month elevage in barrel, 10% new. The 2017 Clos de Topes Bizot is an elegant white Burgundy, reminding me of a good Pernand-Vergelesses, showing lime-flower, pear, herbal, almond and high-toned citrus aromas with a hint of oak. The palate is dense and very mineral with wet stone, white fruit, herbal and citrus flavors with crystalline purity and terrific length. This is a a real Burgundy of terroir at a very reasonable price! David Lillie
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
Located a mere 2 kilometers from the Aube, organic vigneron Bruno Dangin is one of our new favorite producers of Cremant de Bourgogne. The rosé is made from 30-year-old pinot noir vines planted in clay-limestone soils from the Upper Jurassic. The robe is a pale salmon color and there is a fine bead and soft mousse. The nose is an intriguing melange of wild strawberries, spices, and sea spray. The palate is salty and red-fruited, with layers of pinot fruit and a briny minerality. John McIlwain
One of my favorites wines from the vintage and if anyone is thinking of a great gift for the Burgundy lover, this is a fine selection. The 2016 Fichet Meursault Les Tessons has a gold-green robe. Upon opening there’s a fair amount of reduction with aromas of citrus, ripe apple, and stone, which give way after a couple of hours to ripe orchard fruit, hazelnut, wet stones, and lemon curd. The mid-weight palate offers a firm core of minerality with fine density and pure, vibrant ripe fruit that offers a perfect balance of richness to accompany a deeply stony, palate-staining finish. This is a truly beautiful Tessons that should age effortlessly. I love Fichet’s wines, but this is truly beautiful and emotionally satisfying. I’d lay this down for 5-8 years and enjoy for the next 15-20. A truly fantastic Tessons and shows just how adept Jean-Philippe Fichet is in even hugely difficult vintages. John McIlwain
The 2017 Auxey-Duresses Blanc displays a cool-toned nose with aromas of Meyer lemon, white flowers, crushed herbs, and white peach skin. The palate is juicy, supple, and sapid with ripe stone fruit flavors buoyed by a fine bead of chalky minerality on a long, energetic, and detailed finish. Generous, bright, and delicious now, this should really shine with a few years in the cellar. John McIlwain
From multiple parcels of stony soil. Just a touch of reduction at first, giving way to high-toned, lifted, perfumed aromatics with scents of white flowers, lemon oil, tangerine peel, and hazelnuts. Riper, richer palate with citrus flavors, notes of honey, and white peach carrying over to a stony and layered finish. This has plenty of class and certainly compares favorably to others' village level wines. Decant if drinking now or cellar for 4-6 years to allow elements to integrate. It is worth noting that this bottling ages beautifully and is highly recommended. John McIlwain
The robe is a pale lemon yellow with glints of green to the rim. A bit of reduction and gun flint on opening. This blows off quickly to reveal inviting floral aromas of apple blossom and honeysuckle, giving way to pretty notes of orchard fruit, Meyer lemon oil, wet stone, and herbs. The palate is supple and generous, with ripe citrus and stone fruit flavors underpinned by a discriminating core of stony flavors with a long, compelling succulent finish with a nice burst of fresh acidity at the end. This is already revealing nascent complexity, though I’m inclined to believe this will knit beautifully and shows a nice upside. I’ll concede to loving Fichet’s wines and consider him to be one of the great, albeit lesser known vignerons in a village seemingly overrun with fantastic growers. This is really satisfying and a truly lovely Meursault villages. John McIlwain
From vines dating to 1918 located beneath Meursault Charmes. Always one of Jean-Philippe's most mineral-inflected wines.
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
2017 is a good vintage for white Burgundy, a very good vintage for Chablis, and an excellent vintage for Moreau-Naudet, despite another bout of frost. Everything seems to sing across the board, even this excellent, organically farmed villages. White flowers, sea spray, salted lemon peel on the nose.Vibrant acidity and minerality, hints of green tea, quinine, and flint, with good concentration and a great persistence. This is delicious now hitting all the right Chablis notes and should make for sensational drinking over the next 5-7 years. Pair this lively white with raw oysters, fluke meunière, or a perhaps a goat cheese tart. John McIlwain
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)
About a kilometer or two northwest of the Beaune 1er Crus, La Grande Chatelain is a cooler site with soils comprised of clay over limestone. Stone fruit and pear skin, white flowers and wet stone on the nose. Bright and fresh aromatically. The mid-weight palate is racy (especially given the vintage) and rainwater fresh with orchard fruit and lemon oil flavors, dancing astride sapid herbal notes with a clinging stoniness on the long, mouthwatering, expansive finish. Delicious with mezze maniche and sautéed fresh white corn, spring onions and grape tomatoes. And I can see this pairing beautifully with grilled sea bass or pan-roasted scallops. This is lovely vibrant Chardonnay with a sense of place and worthy of a look, though I’d drink in the mid-term while the fruit is singing, say until 2025. John McIlwain
Permitted in Burgundy, but rarely seen on its own, Pinot Blanc grown by Jean-Claude Rateau in the Hautes-Côtes-de-Beaune makes this lovely and versatile wine. The aromas are ripe and pretty, with apple and pear, lemon zest, almond and herbal notes. The palate is silky and pure with white fruits and hints of anise and verbena, supple, round and well balanced with firm acidity. This is a perfect apéritif wine, and will accompany any fish or chicken dish, 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?
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.