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Amaury Beaufort, with help from his brothers, is making superb natural wines in Tonnerre on steep hillsides with Kimmeridgian soils near the village of Junay. (Northwest of the city of Tonnerre) Vaumorillon is a hillside vineyard near Junay with white clay ("grise terre") over the limestone. Yields of 22 ha/ha, 11.5% alcohol. The wine shows very complex aromas of dried pear and apple, lemon peel, honey, pine, almond and stone - showing a bit more fruit than the 2015 Côte de Junay. The palate is lean but with dense pear, dried herbs, lemon oil and almond, finishing with intense mineral flavors and firm acidity. Serve with sushi, grilled fish, roast chicken, alpine cheeses. Long-term aging seems possible. For lovers of De Moor Chablis... David Lillie
Amaury Beaufort, with help from his brothers, is making superb natural wines in Tonnerre on steep hillsides with Kimmeridgian soils near the village of Junay. (Northwest of the city of Tonnerre) Cête de Junay is a steep parcel requiring all vineyard work by hand. Yields are about 15 hl/ha, at 11.5% in 2015. The wine shows delicate but complex aromas of lime-flower, dried white fruits, almond and stone with hints of chamomile and dried herbs. The palate is crystalline and bone dry with citrus, stone and dried pear - light, but with great density and length and finishing with stone, anise, pear and lemon peel over saline minerals. No added SO2. Congratualtions to the Beauforts for this unique and scintillating wine! Serve with oysters, sushi, fresh goat cheeses, grilled sole or cod.
Billaud-Simon has always seemed to have a super-charged quality, relative to most other growers: more minerals, more cut, more floral aromas, an extra-layer of concentration, yet somehow remaining agile. The 2014 has aromas of lemon blossom, ripe tangerine peel, sea breeze, and iodine. The palate is electric with pungent, driving minerality, broad citrus and stone fruit flavors, and a lip-smacking, brightly acidic character. Long vibrant finish with plenty of tension between the pure ripe fruit and punchy stony elements. Lots of upside for cellaring and highly recommended. I'd love to drink this with rare tuna, swordfish, or even roasted chicken with a zippy salsa verde with plenty of capers. John McIlwain
From organic Chardonnay grapes grown in the Côte Chalonnaise near Mercurey. This is an excellent Champagne-alternative at a great value. Aromas of freshly baked brioche, zesty citrus, and white flowers lift from the glass. The palate is very dry and densely mineral with flavors of ripe pear, hints of baking spice, and stony acidity. A delicious, food-friendly bottle for any occasion. Amanda Bowman
The Hasard’s Bourgogne Blanc is made from hand-harvested and certified organic Chardonnay grown on a limestone/clay parcel in Aluze, next to Mercurey. The native-yeast fermentation lasts 10 months in barrel and only minimal SO2 is added at bottling. The 2015 is more fruit-forward on the nose, with aromas of dried mango, pear followed by ripe yellow fruits and river rocks. The palate is mineral, saline, and layered with notes of dried apricot, fennel, white flowers, and stone on a very generous finish. An excellent value white Burgundy that would pair well with oysters, cheeses, or roast chicken with herbs. Amanda Bowman
The Hasard's have a small parcel of 35 year-old vines in Rully on clay and limestone soils. The 2015 is showing stunning elegance in its youth, with seductive aromas of dried apricots, flint, wild honeysuckle and integrated hints of new oak. The palate is charged with flavors of pear, citrus, and quince with an intense mineral-laden acidity. The finish is long and remarkably stony. Drink now with shell fish, comte cheese, or roast chicken, or hold for 5-10 years for a mature experience. Amanda Bowman
From 1 HA of vines planted in 1985 by Claude de Nicolay’s mother. In addition to Chardonnay, there are 6 rows of Pinot Blanc. Something of a rarity as Ile des Vergelesses is considered by most to be the finest red wine climat in Pernand Vergelesses, the Blanc from Chandon de Briailles also features Pinot Blanc adding an extra layer of aromatics to this Pernand blanc. Floral on the nose with aromas of honeysuckle, apple blossom, and bosc pear. The palate is generous with notes of lemon curd, tropical fruit, and stone on the midweight, pretty, energetic, and forward palate. Delicious now and a true rarity! John McIlwain
From multiple lieux-dits across Meursault. 10% 15% new oak. The 2014 Meursault villages shows plenty of the verve of the vintage. Aromas of white flowers and orchard fruit dominate the nose, with hints of wet stone and a discreet note of oak adding interest. The palate is vibrant and ripe with warm pear and citrus flavors underlain with a stony, nearly saline minerality. This is a lovely village level wine and should shine with 3-5 years in the cellar. John McIlwain
The 2015 Auxey-Duresses blanc displays a cool-toned nose with aromas of Meyer lemon, white flowers, crushed herbs, and white peach skin. The palate is racy and sapid with ripe citrus flavors buoyed by an incisively chalky minerality on a long, energetic, and detailed finish. Bracing and delicious now, this should really shine with a few years in the cellar. John McIlwain
The 2015 Meursault shows a degree of the ripeness of the vintage, though it manifests itself in a layered density, rather than softness or weight. The nose offers aromas of ripe pear, honeysuckle, and orange oil, with just a hint of reduction which blows off with some tine in the glass. The palate is ripe, lush and shows good concentration, framed by a pungent minerality and acidity. Tasting the 2014 and 2015 vintages side by side in the cellar, it was remarkable how much energy was inherent in the wines in each. John McIlwain
Though duly famous for his Meursaults, Jean-Philippe Fichet makes one heck of a Puligny-Montrachet. His 2015 Puligny 1er cru Les Referts is just beautiful with a nose redolent of white flowers, lemon blossom, white apricot, lemon, and a cool sweet green note, reminiscent of sugar snap peas. The flavor profile matches ripe white fruits with a clinging stoniness on a lifted, energetic, and long finish. This is fabulous and displays more Puligny class than vintage ripeness. John McIlwain
Julien Guillot of the Clos des Vignes du Maynes, makes this lovely Macon-Villages from certified organic parcels in Chardonnay, Montbellet and Viré-Clessé on Bathonian limestone with clay, rich in silica. Incredibly aromatic, with wildflower, lime blossom, green apple peel, beeswax and spiced poached apple and pear. Supple and ripe in this rather warm vintage with 13.5% alcohol, it’s balanced by excellent acidity and minerality with more orchard fruit, apricot, and salted peach. Remarkably textured and long with succulent fruit, toasted almond, citrus, and saline minerals and pear on the finish. Totally unlike the usual Macon Villages, this is a delightful wine that will accompany grilled fish, fish in sauce, roast chicken and mild cheeses - and it's delicious to enjoy by itself. TG & DL
As easy as it is to forget the quality of Auxey-Duresses Blanc, it's just as easy to overlook the sensational quality of Domaine Lafouge. The Auxey-Duresses Blanc Les Hautés (from the lieu dit situated next to Les Vireuils in Meursault) displays a fine balance of white floral aromas (acacia and honeysuckle) with white orchard fruits on the nose. The palate is racy and mineral with pear and nectarine fruit vying for attention with a good degree of mineral cut. This is pretty and a fine value in white Burgundy. John McIlwain
"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. The 2015 shows very floral aromas with pear, citrus and stone. The palate is crystalline and dense with subtle 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
The Meursault lieu-dit Les Casses Têtes is located on the hillside above the premier cru Les Gouttes d'Or and next to Le Tesson. The soils are thin and rocky producing wines of great energy and lift. The 2015 Lafouge is a very pale gold color with aromas of wet stone, pear, fresh herbs and lemon peel with hints of oak - showing a bit more richness and fruit aroma than usual in this ripe vintage. The palate is crystalline and vibrant with stony acidity and flavors of marcona almonds, bitter lemon, dried pear, anise and saline minerals. This is a beautifully structured Meursault to drink now in its rather intense youth with crab, broiled sole, flounder and cod, or cellar for ten to fifteen years or more. Highly recommended. David Lillie
From eighty year-old vines, in mid-slope on thin well-drained clay/limestone soils, the 2015 Meix Chavaux shows elegant pear, lemon, lime and floral aromas. The palate is rich and ripe with white fruits and exotic citrus covering the chalky core, with firm acidity and mineral flavors in the finish. Serve with full-flavored fish dishes, poultry and white meats, mild cheeses. This is a beautiful young Meursault that is delicious now and over the next ten years.
While there are few bargains remaining in the Côte d'Or, one source of gently priced and vibrant Burgundy is the commune of St. Romain, whose location and soils produce wines of fine minerality and verve. The vineyards, comprised of limestone, clay, and marls produce Chardonnay, which is bright, vibrant and nervy. The 2014 vintage is floral, yellow-fruited and a hint leesy on the nose with hints of nectarine and pear skin. On the palate the wine is amalgam of ripe pear, fine acids, zesty acidity, and has a savory sense of minerality. There's great energy here with a pungent core of stoniness beneath the fruit. John McIlwain
The wines from the Pernot family in Puligny-Montrachet are well-known throughout the world for classic Puligny and Bâtard style. They have rich concentration and fruit, but more importantly, good acidity that allow them to age gracefully and harmoniously. The 2015 Bourgogne Chardonnay is from vines in the village of Puligny and is an outstanding value in white Burgundy. The color is very pale steely gold, the wine shows lovely aromas of almond, pear, green apple, citrus skin and stone with a bit of lime-flower. The palate is dense but lean with elegant flavors of stone, almond and citrus with a bit of herbal honeysuckle in the end. The finish is very firm with bright mineral acids. This is a lovely junior Puligny that will accompany sole almondine, other fish in sauce, even oysters, and mild goat cheeses. Delicious now, but the 2015 is really worth buying to cellar as well, best 2020 - 2025.
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 giving a full, ripe wine. Light gold/brass color. Lovely aromas of pear, quince, lime-flower and ripe citrus with a bit of oak. The palate is elegant and supple, with white fruits, almond, citrus and caramel framed in firm acidity and mineral flavors, showing good ripeness but finishing with firm stony acidity. Lovely wine. Delicious now, this should age gracefully till 2030 and beyond. DL
Carved from vineyards once owned by the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny and farmed organically by Julien Guillot's family since 1954, Clos Vignes du Maynes is one of the most distinctive growers in Burgundy. Aragonite comes from 40- to 80-year-old vines high on the slope, on thin soils of clay, crystallized limestone, and laced with other minerals. This wine is incredibly aromatic upon opening with aromas of golden pear, green apple, apricot, white grapefruit, honeysuckle, and bergamot; there is a hint of earthy heather honey and butterscotch. On the palate it is quite rich and luscious, and much more tropical and salty than in years past. In fact, if tasted blind, I could see this being mistaken for a great Chardonnay from the Jura as it has fantastic acidity, and is beautifully textured, long, and mineral. On day two the aromas have softened a bit, and the palate has gained an added savory note that contributes to a still stunningly long finish. The 2015 Aragonite is not to be missed. Tim Gagnon