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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
From a .58 HA parcel of vines planted in 1970-75. Fermented with native yeasts, aged 80% in tank 20% cask. The 2014 Samuel Billaud Mont de Milieu is floral, yellow-fruited, generous and pretty on the nose. There's a fine tension between the pretty citrus flavors and a snappy oyster shell saltiness on the brisk, energetic palate. A fabulous Chablis and a good value! Enjoy with fluke crudo, or garlicky steamed clams. John McIlwain
Domaine Anne Bavard-Brooks is located in Puligny-Montrachet and has been organic and biodynamic since 2005. The "La Combe" vineyard is in the village of Puligny with 35 year-old vines on silt and clay soils over limestone, 200 cases made. The 2015 is a lovely, complex, white Burgundy showing ripe aromas with hints of exotic fruit, citrus, pear and stone. The palate is round and dense with flavors of pear, fines-herbes, almond, citrus, honeysuckle and brown spice. The finish is long and ripe with citrus and stone flavors that linger. This is a quite complex and well-balanced Burgundy that will accompany a wide variety of seafood and poultry dishes and mild cheeses. Drinking beautifully now, this will cellar nicely over the next 5 years or more. Excellent value!
Sea spray, green apple, white flowers, fine stony detail on palate; cool lifted, slightly herbal finish. Plenty of flint in the tank still. Drink and hold. John McIlwain
White flowers, lemon balm, honeysuckle, apple blossom on the nose; also Meyer lemon peel and acacia honey. A discreet kiss of wood. Ripe but focused, great balance, bracing tension between ripe stone fruit and dusty minerality. Real poise and another data point for grower over vintage.
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
I went to taste the 2012 vintage with Freddy Mugnier on Friday July 12th. After tasting all of the 2012s from barrel he brought out two bottles of 2011 Clos de la Marechale, one red and one white. 2011 Clos de la Marechale blanc smelled like Chardonnay flowers and lilacs, kind of like muscat. some light oak notes, beautiful fruit and a real persistence of flavor. Very very fine bottle of wine. Freddy explained that he did two graftings to improve the quality of fruit. He started in 2004 grafting Chardonnay onto the existing Pinot Noir rootstock. He started with some low yielding clones that ripened early and he found the wine a bit heavy and clunky. In 2007 he grafted some high yielding clones that ripen later and he finds that the combination of the two now make a very complex wine that he is finally happy with. The wine has great energy and it is a great terroir. It is the other side of the wall from the Clos L'Arlot white, which was Fred Mugnier's inspiration for the Clos de la Marechale blanc. It now comprises 7% of the Clos de la Marechale vineyard. This wine is a rare treat! JBT
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.
This is a pretty Chablis from Patrick Piuze, one of the youngest stars of Chablis. This wine comes from a single vineyard near 1er Cru Forêts. This Chablis offers a nice balance of fruit and acidity despite the warmth of the 2015 vintage, with a bouquet of ripe fruit and spices. Stone fruit, apple and lemon are the primary fruit flavors with pretty musky notes on the nose and hints of vanilla on the palate. The minerality (clay and limestone) and acidity are quite good. This is a smooth, well-balanced Chablis with a nice finish and a good length. More refined and fresher than the Terroir Découverte, the wine can be served on its own or with a nice dinner. Caroline Coursant
This wine, from Patrick Piuze, comes from a parcel called Des Couverts adjacent to the 1er cru Vaulorent. 2015 was a warm vintage in Burgundy and the wine shows it. The fruit components on the nose and palate have a touch of tropical notes, as you can taste a hint of pineapple juice, followed by ripe red and yellow apple and citrus notes. Ginger spices with some vanilla accents are quite prevalent on the nose and more subtle on the palate. The acidity and minerality (limestone) are good considering the warmth of the vintage. This is a “big” Chablis with a good length and I would recommend serving it cold with a nice dinner of roasted chicken or with some cheeses. Caroline Coursant
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
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 2014 shows elegant, subtle aromas of dried pear, lime-flower, stone, melon, pineapple and honeysuckle. The palate is very mineral, with stone and citrusy acids, dense pear and herbal flavors and terrific length. This should be decanted or opened in advance, or cellar for five to ten years. A lovely white Burgundy at a reasonable price! Serve with asparagus, terrines, scallops, monkfish, halibut. D Lillie
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