Saint-Bris le Vineux
Domaine Pierre-Louis & Jean-François Bersan
In the hills around the town of Saint Bris le Vineux can be found soils and climatic conditions similar to nearby Sancerre. It is therefore no surprise that here (though nowhere else in Burgundy) Sauvignon Blanc can be found alongside the classic Burgundy varieties. The Bersan family has been working these hills since 1453 and today the domaine is run by the father and son team of Jean-François and Pierre-Louis. Many of the cuvees are vinified in stainless steel to preserve the freshness and aromatic intensity of the wines. The wines with most potential are aged in barrel in classic vaulted cellars dating from the 11th and 12th centuries.
Gerard Harmand, and now his son Philippe, have quietly been producing superlative Gevrey-Chambertin for many years. The viticulture is classic with the soil being regularly ploughed and no chemical fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides being used. In the winery the formula is simple and classic! The fruit is completely destemmed to give wines that emphasize fruit. Élevage lasts around 16 months with the percentage of new oak varying depending on the vintage and cru. Many of the parcels contain very old vines which gives wines of tremendous depth and complexity.
Domaine François Bertheau
The charming François Bertheau has been quietly producing exemplary examples of Chambolle-Musigny since he took over from his father in 2004, after having worked with him at the domaine since 1984. Since he took over the wines have become more precise, but the style remains the same. Average vine age is around 50 years throughout the domaine. After sorting the 100% de-stemmed fruit is vinified with almost no pumping-over or punching down, delivering wines emphasising purity, silken fruit and elegance rather than firm structure. The AOC Chambolle-Musigny is aged in large oak foudres to avoid any new oak character. The 1er and Grand Cru wines are aged in small oak barrels but usually no more than 10% new oak is used. These are utterly classic wines that will delight lovers of elegant, terroir-driven Burgundies.
Maison MC Thiriet
Quite literally started in the garage behind the Château de Comblanchien, Maison MC Thiriet is a micro-négoce making tiny quantities of wines that are afforded all possible care and attention to detail. The ‘Maison’ is the product of Camille Thiriet and Matt Chittick who met while both working at Domaine de Bellene with Nicolas Potel. Camille and Matt’s experience at Domaine de Bellene working with a huge number of prestigious appellations has enabled them to build a solid network of growers to obtain great fruit. It may be small, but this ‘Maison’ is a rising star!
Domaine Chandon de Briailles
The Chandon de Briailles estate is located in the Côte de Beaune, between the three communes of Savigny-lès-Beaune, Pernand-Vergelesses and Aloxe-Corton. The estate owned vineyards were bought in 1834 by Countess Chandon de Briailles (who had ties to the Champagne house Moët et Chandon) and her husband Pierre Guillemot. Since 2011, the vineyard area of 14 hectares has been completely biodynamically cultivated. The style of the red wines produced is very distinctive and strongly influenced by the high proportion of whole bunches in the vinification. The use of new barrels is kept to an absolute minimum and the use of sulphur is also added very sparingly. The reds are structured in their youth, though buffered by a tremendous wealth of fruit and have great ageing potential, only revealing their true depth and complexity after many years in bottle.
After working for 5 years as winemaker at the cult Meursault domaine Coche-Dury, Pascal set up his own business in 2012. With a small number of domaine appellations centred on Savigny-les-Beaune, Pascal augments his range with carefully chosen plots in prestigious appellations, largely in the Côte de Beaune. His approach varies from year to year, depending on the vintage, but the result is always focussed precise wines that accurately reflect their underlying terroir.
Domaine Pierre Guillemot
This domaine based almost entirely in the appellation Savigny-lès-Beaune farms approximately seven hectares. The wines are very classical and very typical of the Savigny-lès-Beaune appellation with charming red fruits and a juicy structure. Despite their easy drinkability the wines have great ageing potential. A 1991 Serpentières (their flagship 1er Cru) tasted at the domaine was only just reaching it’s drinking plateau and had many more years of life ahead of it. As Côte de Nuits prices go ever higher these wines offer simply outstanding value for money.
The young perfectionist Arnaud Baillot and his wife Laure van Canneyt (granddaughter of Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat) founded the domaine with the aim of producing high quality wines from purchased fruit from a range of appellations all across Burgundy. Their first vineyard was purchased in 2017 and the new winery was completed in spring 2019. Although relatively new, the wines are spectacular. The stars of the range are a mineral Corton-Charlemagne and an exotic Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Aux Boudots which could easily be mistaken for its’ direct neighbour the Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Malconsorts. As more family vineyards come online for Arnaud and Laure, this will be a very exciting domaine indeed.
As one of the largest and best known négociants in Burgundy, Joseph Drouhin also has an impressive number of domaine vineyards throughout Burgundy. The Drouhin vineyards have one of the highest vine densities in the region in order to drive the plants to produce fruit of great distinction. The barrels are produced in the Drouhin's own cooperage from personally selected oak according to the company's own quality standards. The oak used for these barrels is aged around 3 years as the Drouhin family feel that this is needed to ensure the oak tannins are never astringent, and this certainly shows in the silkiness of the wines. Across the range all the wines accurately express their appellation of origin and are true benchmarks in the best sense.
As one of the oldest wineries in Pommard, the history of the Rebourgeon-Mure estate dates back to the middle of the 16th century. In recent years, David Rebourgeon, son of Daniel, has been responsible for winemaking. The vineyards are located in the communes of Pommard, Volnay and Beaune and are cultivated with great awareness of tradition and sustainability. Fruit is hand-picked and carefully sorted. After 100% destemming the grapes vinified with very gentle extraction to create silky, charming, multi-layered wines with great ageing potential. In recent years they have returned to using a vertical press to extract the press wine which they find gives finer tannins to the final wines.
The beginnings of this Domaine date back to the early 20th century, when founder Joannés Faivre began growing vines in Pommard. Today the estate comprises of excellent vineyards along the entire Côte de Beaune which have been farmed organically for many years. Joannes Violot, who now works with father Thierry seems to bring even more precision to the wines. These are especially subtle and complex Pinot Noirs which stand in stark contrast to the proverbial powerful and earthy expression of Pommard one reads about in books. These are classic Burgundies in the best sense of the word, full of silky fruit and charming red fruit aromatics.
Domaine Clos de la Chapelle
It was only a few years ago that Mark M. O'Connell purchased the monopole Clos de la Chapelle in Volnay and renamed the Domaine Louis Boillot creating ‘Domaine Clos de la Chapelle.’ Today, the winery exclusively cultivates Premier and Grand Cru sites on the Côte de Beaune totalling just 4 hectares. The vineyards mostly comprise old vines and are now farmed biodynamically. In their new winery in Bligny-lés-Beaune an adaptable approach is taken, with use of whole bunches, duration of maceration and the proportion of new oak (usually 20% for 1er Cru and 30-40% for Grand Cru) changing to suit the vintage. Intelligent farming and winemaking make this a very exciting domaine on the rise!
Domaine Yvon (Thibaud) Clerget
The Clerget family has been in Volnay a long time - a really long time! For 28 generations back to 1268 one Clerget or another has been making wine in Volnay. The current generation is the young, talented Thibaud Clerget. Thibaut’s father retired from winemaking in 2009 and from 2010 to 2014 sold his grapes to Henri Boillot. During this time Thibaud learnt his trade by working at various domaines including Domaine Henri Boillot, Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat and Domaine Drouhin in Oregon. Thibaud made his first vintage with the fabulous 2015 vintage and it was clear from the outset that this is a rising star domaine of the Côte de Beaune. The domaine exploits a number Volnay 1er Crus including its own Monopole ‘Clos du Verseuil’ as well as Meursault, Pommard 1er Cru Rugiens and Grand Cru Clos Vougeot.
Domaine Henri Delagrange
The family Domaine has been in existence for more than six generations. Since 2003, Didier Delagrange has been in charge of the Domaine with his wife, Hélène. Now Didier is joined by his son Alexis. They own fourteen and a half hectares of vines in the Côte de Beaune and Hautes-Côte de Beaune. By the unique system of training the vines on trellises higher than usual and leaf thinning to increase sunlight exposure to the ripening fruit Didier aims to produce wines that are fleshy, fruit forward and very drinkable. New oak is always used sparingly so the charming fruit always takes centre stage.
Domaine Joseph Voillot
In the late 1940’s Domaine Joseph Voillot was born. Joseph began bottling his own wines which until then had been sold to the large négociants in Beaune. His son-in-law, former oenology professor Jean-Pierre Charlot from the Lycee Viticole in Beaune, took over the business in the 1990s and built upon the good reputation of this great Volnay domaine established by Josph. Today, Jean-Pierre's nephew, Etienne Chaix, manages the estate. Etienne and Jean-Pierre see themselves as ”servants of the vine” and understand that great wine is made in the vineyard. As such long hours of work is carried out in the vineyards, many of which are very old and now farmed sustainably with virtually no chemical inputs. In the cellar gentle extraction of the 100% destemmed fruit produces classic wines of great charm. New oak is kept to a minimum, the goal being to let the vineyard express itself with as little influence of the hand of the winemaker. Utterly classical wines of delicacy and grace.
Domaine (Jean & Gilles) Lafouge
From around 10 hectares mainly in Auxey-Duresses Gilles Lafouge has for many years quietly been producing exemplary examples of Auxey-Duresses that offer outstanding value. No fancy tricks, just a combination of old vines, careful work in the vineyards and classic winemaking produces a range of very precise, charming and drinkable wines. Tasted blind it’s easy to imagine you are drinking a grander appellation due to the clarity and precision in the wines. When you see the immaculately clean and tidy cellar however, you begin to understand that Gilles is simply a meticulous vigneron who takes great pride in his work.
For a long time Matrot stood for classically styled wines from the Meursault appellation. With the 4th generation in the form of sisters Elsa and Adèle now taking over this domaine from father Thierry and his wife Pascale, some serious progress is taking place. Their vineyard holding have always been amazing with parcels in Meursault 1er Crus Les Perrières and Les Charmes and Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes. The style was always one where new oak was rarely seen; each year’s new barrels being used for the Bourgogne so that the taste of new oak wasn’t seen in the 1er Crus. Elsa and Adèle are now giving a longer élevage for the top whites and bottling is done by gravity. With more attention to detail the wines are becoming ever more precise and expressive. Domaine Matrot is finally taking their position as one of the top domaines of Meursault.
This micro-domaine spanning just 1.2 hectares is runs by husband and wife team Sébastien Caillat and Florence Lamy (daughter of René Lamy of Domaine Lamy Pillot). The vineyards are farmed organically and vinification is rather old-school. The fruit is pressed in an old mechanical press then stays in barrel for a full year undisturbed without any bâttonage. The wine then spends a second year in tank on lees with one (and only one!) bâttonage before bottling after around two years making for a fairly long élevage by modern standards. Malolactic fermentation takes place fairly late as the cellar is very cold. The wines are extremely pure and intense and certainly have great ageing potential. The only drawback is the tiny quantities produced! Wines available Winter 2019/2020.
Domaine Fernand & Laurent Pillot
Domaine Fernand & Laurent Pillot aren’t exactly newcomers to Chassagne-Montrachet. Their family has been farming vines in the village sine the 17th Century, at which time they were also coopers and produced barrels. During the 19th Century they stopped barrel production to focus solely on enlarging their vineyard holdings and making wine. Today the domaine farms almost 15 hectares of vineyard, mostly in Chassagne-Montrachet, but also in Pommard, Volnay, Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Saint-Aubin and Santenay. Today the wines are made by Laurent Pillot together with his son Adrien. Adrien has reduced the input of new oak allowing these great terroirs to be expressed with even greater clarity and precision.
Domaine Charton was founded in 1941 in Mercurey on the Côte Chalonnaise. Vincent Charton is currently the third generation to run the winery and runs the vineyards along sustainable lines. Low yields, hand harvesting and fruit sorting ensure great fruit quality. In the winery the extraction is very gentle to emphasise fruitiness and silkiness in the wines and make them approachable when young. Minimal new oak is used to further enhance the drinkability of the wines. In an appellation known for tough wines, Vincent is crafting utterly charming wines that show a silkiness and an approachability rarely seen in Mercurey. A rising star of the Côte Chalonnaise!
After 2 years away from her native Burgundy studying international trade in Paris, Françoise Feuillat-Juillot returned to Burgundy where she studied Enology in Dijon. In 1989 she began working with an associate at a domaine in Montagny-les-Buxy and helped oversee its expansion from producing 5,000 bottles to producing 60,000 bottles. After the passing of her associate, she managed the domaine from 2002 until she was finally able to purchase it in 2004. Since then Françoise has worked hard to increase the quality of her wines through sustainable viticulture and more precision in the cellar. Her wines now express the clarity of this great white wine appellation which she loves and, with her wines, tries to bring more recognition to this rising appellation.