I love to try the entry level cuvees from top producers and, in the Cote d’Or, that usually means an Aligotè or Passetoutgrain. Domaine Robert Chevillon is one of my favorite estates. Located in Nuits-St.-Georges, Chevillon produces concentrated, meaty red wines that place it among the best domaines in all of Burgundy. There is also a little white wine produced at the estate including a rare Nuits-St.-Georges blanc. I was thrilled to find a less sought after bottling from Chevillon, a 2009 Bourgogne Aligotè. Although is it considered an inferior grape, Aligotè can produce wines that are lively and delicious. The Chevillon Aligotè is light and racy in the mouth, but it alsoshows the influence of oak that makes it seems dried out. Unfortunately, the wine is missing the freshness that make Aligotè wines appealing.
Another lesser known cuvee from Chevillon is their Bourgogne Passetoutgrain. A blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, Passetoutgrain is traditionally made by wineries for their daily consumption. The wines are similar to Beaujolais in style, but they tend to be more reserved. The 2009 Chevillon Bourgogne Passetoutgrain example is a nice wine, but it is not as concentrated as I expected for the vintage. Aligotè and and Passetoutgrain from
Chevillon were o.k., but there are better examples of these types from other producers. Perhaps, the domaine tried too hard to make the wines in a serious style.
Domaine Joblot is one of the true cult producers of Burgundy. Based in a small house in the humble village of Givry, Jean Marc and Vincent Joblot craft intense, fragrant wines that transcend the appellation. Severe sorting in the vineyard results in low yields and a very limited production. The winemaking is low intervention in approach and only the finest barrels are used. In quality and style, the wines of Domaine Joblot resemble the finest of Chambolle-Musigny. The 2007 Clos du Cellier Aux Moines has an intense nose of fresh, red fruits. In the mouth, the wine is silky and refined. A remarkable wine considering where it was produced.
My wife and I ate dinner at 1789, a well known landmark restaurant in Washington D.C. The food was excellent and the overall service solid. However, the wine list was heavily tilted towards American wines and Burgundies were in short supply. That left us with few options and we ended paying a hefty price for the wines. We started with a 2005 Marsannay from René Bouvier. The wine is labeled “Le Clos,” which is a vineyard located in Couchey. Just south of Marsannay, the town of Couchey is not entitled to an appellation and the vineyards within its limits are labeled as Marsannay. The wine is rich and well balanced. The fruit has receded to the background and mature notes are just starting to show through. After much debate, we settled on a 2004 Clos des Lambrays from the Domaine des Lambrays. I had tasted the wine in the past and felt confident it would be a good bottle. Initially restrained, the wine put on weight in the glass and the aromas intensified. The wine does not have any of the green aromas or flavors that are often found in wines from this vintage. Orange rind and red fruits dominate the nose and palate. Clos des Lambrays never produces the most powerful wine, but the best vintages are supple, elegant and very complex. The 2004 is not on the level of such vintages as 2002, 2005, or 2006, but it is a very good wine that accurately represents the vineyard. For more information on the Clos des Lambrays check out my profile.
1994 was one the last vintages of Chateau Rayas made by Jacques Reynaud, who died in 1997. Collectors largely ignore the 1994 Rayas in favor of the more celebrated 1995, but the wine is a beautiful example of the estate. More elegant and refined than is typical for the wines of the appellation, the wines from Rayas are often said to be Burgundian in style. The 1994 has a strong perfume that is mature and complex. Produced in a lighter vintage, the wine is medium-bodied on the palate. The flavors are sweet and concentrated, but not as intense as the Rayas wines from great vintages. Rayas was, and perhaps still is, one of the great estates in France. The domaine produces a wine that is not only a benchmark for it's appellation, but is also singular in style. Nothing else in the world tastes like Chateau Rayas and, perhaps, that is the truest sign of greatness.
There are several estates with the last name Morey in Chassagne and Domaine Marc Morey is one of the finest. My employer recently became the NJ distributor for the estate and I had the opportunity to taste through some of the 2007s. A few of the wines were bottled from purchased fruit, including the two cuvees from Rully. The basic bottling was good, but the premier cru Rabource was outstanding. The wine was richer than several of the Chassagne premier crus in the line-up and surprisingly complex. The fruit was also purchased for the wine from the lieu-ditBlanchot-Dessous, not to be confused with the premier cru Blanchot-Dessus. Similar in style to wines from the grand cru Les Criots, which it borders, the Blanchot-Dessous is a delicate, pretty wine with white flowers on the nose. The premier cru Morgeot is more powerful, but it lacks the complexity of either the Vergers or Chenevottes. Although another estate owns part of the vineyard, Morey is the only producer to bottle a cuvee from Virondot. Situated high up on the hill above Cailleret, the vineyard produces a powerful, richly flavored wine that has an intensely mineral finish. The estate also produces wines from the famous Puligny premier cru Pucelles and the grand cru Batard-Montrachet, but the Virondot is considered to be the signature wine in the portfolio.
I recently found a random bottle of 1999 Cornas from Vincent Paris in my cellar and opened it up to have with ribs. Vincent Paris is a winemaker in his 30s based in Cornas. 1999 was the last year that Paris put all his fruit into one cuvee. Now there is a regular and vieilles vignes bottling. The wine has an elegant of nose of olive, bacon, and earth. This is a welcome relief, as I am tired of tasting pitch black, fruit packed monsters from the northern Rhone. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied and refreshing. The finish is full of mineral and earth flavors. Although the wine could be a little more concentrated, I like its style and class.
I only have a couple bottles of Coche-Dury in my cellar, both 2004 Bourgogne blancs that I purchased in France and dragged across the Atlantic. Unfortunately, one of the bottles appeared to be leaking. The top of the capsule was raised, as if wine had pushed through the cork. Even though I had planned on aging the wine for several more years, I decided it was best to crack it open ASAP. The residue of dried wine was evident under the capsule and the cork had a streak running its entire length. Luckily, the wine was in perfect condition. Typical of young wines from Coche-Dury, the nose was dominated toasted oak aromas. The oak was also evident on the palate, but it took a backseat to the mineral and fruit flavors. Despite the fact that this bottle was just a basic Bourgogne, it had an extremely long and intense finish. I thoroughly enjoyed this wine and hope to encounter more Coche-Dury wines in the future. Too bad they are so expensive.
I first tasted the 2002 Les Champans from Jopeph Voillot at the restaurant situated directly across the street from the domaine’s cellar in Volnay. It was two years following the harvest and the wine had an intense core of sweet fruit. Curious to see how the wine is evolving, I opened a bottle from my cellar. The nose is beginning to show mature notes, but it is still in an adolescent stage. In the mouth, the sweetness of the fruit is fading and moving towards the sour end of the spectrum. I believe that the wine will evolve into an outstanding wine, but it is currently at an awkward place.
Claude Dugat and his cousin Bernard Dugat (Domaine Dugat-Py) produce some of the rarest and most expensive wines in Burgundy. Their wines receive high scores from the critics and are praised for their concentration. While similar, Claude’s wines are slightly more approachable than those made by Bernard. The wines show more upfront fruit and have softer textures. I recently picked-up a 2000 Gevrey-Chambertin from Claude at a relatively cheap price ($36.99) from a retailer in NJ. The 2006 version of this cuvee goes for $120+. Dark in color, the wine has a restrained nose of dark fruits and full-bodied on the palate. Although still young, secondary flavors are beginning to emerge. A unique, singular quality comes through with this wine that distinguishes it from other village wines made in Gevrey.
The brothers Jean-Paul and Jean-Luc Jamet produce only two wines from their holdings in Cote Rotie, one of which is not imported into the U.S. The straight Cote Rotie bottling, a blend of many sites, is one of the classic wines of the appellation. Traditional in style, the wine is firm and will require at least a decade to unfold. The 2006 version is a classic example of the Jamet style. A hint of dark fruits are noticeable on the tightly wound nose, and the wine is powerful on the palate. The tannins are firm, but they are balanced by concentrated fruit. While obviously young, this wine shows the potential of a great wine.