After tackling the famous Pinots of the Côtes de Nuits, here are the treats from the Côtes de Beaune. My apologies to those who have been missed out this time round…more inclusions at a later date.
Aloxe Corton & Ladoix Serrigny
Jayer-Gilles**** – Gilles Jayer is the son of Robert Jayer, who is a cousin of the late Henri Jayer. Gilles starting taking over from his father in the 80’s and has since become one of the pioneers of the Hautes Côtes. 11.27 hectares with 1 GC Echézeaux and 2 PC NSG Les Damodes et Les Hauts Poirets. Gilles has mastered the art in making reds with a dense, chewy texture, fine tannins and great complexity (especially for the Hautes Côtes).
Amongst his treasures are an impressive Aligoté from 60 year-old vines and two intriguing whites from Nuits & Beaune which are a mixture of chardonnay and white Pinot Gouges taken from cuttings at a Henri Gouges vineyard in NSG.
His red from southern NSG (Les Hauts Poirets) gives a firm, strong and close-knit texture with and oaky and spicy finish. His PC Les Damodes is also dense, with cherries and flowers and ripe fruit. His Echézeaux is the family flagship, dark cherry colour, bold and generous with considerable depth and character. Probably one of the best examples from this particular vineyard. Production about 65,000 bottles.
Comte Senard*** – Philippe Senard has made this estate one of the most respected in the Côtes de Beaune. Descending from his great-grandfather Jules Senard in 1857, Philippe has been in charge for 30 years before handing over to his daughter Lorraine in 2001. This small 8.25 hectare estate has an impressive 6 GC and 1 PC.
Their white GC’s a classical, powerful, concentrated wines with a refreshing mineral side. The Corton Charlemagne is superb in its elegance and balance. The most unusual white is the Aloxe Corton village made from Pinot Beurot (cousin of Pinot Grigio) vines that date back to the 1930’s.
The reds show the typle Senard style which combines richness and complexity with elegance. Their monopoly Clos de Meix, at the back of the family estate, has a rich, gamey aspect, the Bressandes which ages well when young and the famous Clos du Roi, which needs time to show its potential.
You can enjoy tasting at the estate where they even have a restaurant/tasting room, run by the charming and highly competent Emilie, where you can enjoy young and old vintages whilst appreciating regional food. Production about 50,000 bottles.
Pierre André** – This “negociant” house is currently run by the Ballande group and the estate covers 150 hectares on the 3 villages of Ladoix, Aloxe-Corton and Pernand Vergelesses. Their winemaker Ludivine Griveau has a lot to do with the current success of the winery. She has been making the wine at this estate for over 10 years. Particular attention should be made of the whites – the finely balanced Meursault PC Genevrières, with notes of butterscotch and spice, baked apple, the Corton Charlemagne with its elegance and balance, notes of ripe fruits such as pineapple and a hint on honey. The GC Chateau Corton André 2009, with rich plum and cherry flavours intertwined with spices, ample tannins and great length. The famous yellow tiled roof on the chateau makes it stand out from the rest…along with its wines! Production 300,000+
Edmond Cornu & Fils** – This 15 hectare estate is run by Pierre Cornu and his cousin Emmanuel Boireau. This is very much a modern winemaker who makes it a routine to taste wines “blindfolded” from both his estate and others with fellow estate owners, thus giving an external and often poignant view of the estate’s wines. He produces about 85,000 bottles per year which includes 1 GC Les Bressandes and 3 PC’s. His 2010 vintage was such a success that he was cited in France’s top wine reviews. A future star in the making.
Chevalier Père et Fils** – This estate was created by Emile Dubois in 1850. It’s currently run by Claude with the help of his father Georges. 2 GC ( Corton Les Rognets & Corton Charlemagne) and 4 PC with a special mention for the Ladoix PC Les Gréchons 2009 which would give many a Meursault a run for their money. The GC’s are equally majestic. Claude’s helped by his two daughters; Julie and Chloé.
Michel Mallard & Fils** – Michel & Michel – father and son, simple to remember. The wines are more complex, taking a few years to blossom, but well worth the wait. 13 hectares and 4 GC including a Corton Charlemagne and Corton, Le Rognets, Les Renardes & Les Marechaudes. The estate has 1 PC white Ladoix Les Gréchons and 2 PC reds, one from Aloxe Corton and one from Savigny.
Their PC Valozières has won many awards world-wide as well as their GC les Renardes and Les Maréchaudes. An estate that has defined its place in the world wine market.
Bonneau de Martray**** – This estate is well-known to amateurs. Run by Jean-Charles le Bault de la Morinière since 1994, the estate has gone from average to the highest level of excellence. The estate owns 2 GC, 1.5 hectares of Corton and 9.5 hectares of Corton Charlemagne producing around 55,000 bottles. The red GC is not the best on the hill but has quality, silky tannins and fresh fruit aromas. The Corton Charlemagne possesses fine, fresh flavours, a round texture and generous fruit. This is the ultimate Corton Charlemagne…
Dubreuil-Fontaine*** – Although not one of the leading estates, Christine Gruère has made steady progress since she took over in 2000. The estate holds 20 hectres of which 4 are GC and 9 are PC’s. Here whites are not the fruitiest in the region, but have a full and gutsy feel to them, fresh, crisp and perfect food partners. The 3 GC reds are faithful to their terroir – Bressandes is gamey, rich & powerful, Clos du Roi is more reserved when young and Perrières is tighter with fresher flavours. This is an estate worth following.
Rapet Père et Fils*** – Vincent Rapet took over this 20 hectare estate in the 1990’s. 3 GC and 9 PC’s. The whites are fresh and aromatic and the reds bright with red fruit aromas and flavours and generous textures. This is a fine estate which has improved considerably over the last 20 years. Vincent is young and still has a promising future.
Simon Bize et Fils*** – This is one of those estates where the expression “quality over quantity” rings true. Patrick Bize starting working with his father in the 1970’s. The estate produces 2 GC Latricières Chambertin and Corton Charlemagne. It also has a magnificent range of red Savignys including 6 PC. The style is for meaty, structured wines that age well. If you are looking for excellent value, high quality wines and a warm welcome, then this estate is for you. Production around 100,000 bottles.
Chandon de Briailles*** – The beauty of the architecture matches that of the wines. The de Nicolays have owned this estate since 1834. Almost 14 hectares, including 5 GC’s from the Corton hill and 8 PC’s from Pernand, Savigny and Volnay. Claude, the daughter of the Count Aymar-Claude de Nicolay makes the wine with the expert help of Jean-Claude Bouveret. François de Nicolay joined them in 2001, looks after the sales and marketing side as well as driving tractors! The estate wines, reflect the different terroirs and not the barrels (as Claude says), with an equal dose of power and muscle to finer, more elegant wines. The chardonnays can be light and crispy from Savigny PC Aux Vergelesses to the exotic ripe fruits, balance and length of the Corton Blanc. An exceptional estate producing around 55,000 bottles.
Jean-Jacques Girard** – One of the many winemakers in Savigny but one that makes some of the finest aromtic and fruity wines in the villages. A sizeable 18 hectares with 2 GC and 9 PC. Produces around 80,000 bottles. Purveyor of the “old school style” but produces wines which can be drunk young as well as old.
Antonin Guyon** – Currently run by Dominique Antonin, this 50 hectare estate possesses a large and prestigious choice of top Burgundies mainly from the Côtes de Beaune but also with some excellent Gevrys and Chambolles. This estate’s wines regularly obtain high scores in reviews such as Burghound, Wine Spectator etc. A special mention goes to the 2011 vintage Corton Charlemagne, Clos du Roi and Bressandes. Production around 200,000 bottles.
Du Chateau de Chorey** – run by the Germain family, and now with Benoit at the helm, this 17 hectare estate has some very interesting value-for-money wines with 6 PC. Worth a visit.
Tollot Beaut*** – A true family estate run by the three Tollot brothers and now the new generation. The estate comprises just over 23 hectares spread over village and PC (6) and with a trio of Corton GC’s. This is a highly reliable source of fine wines. Their flagship wine is definitely the Corton Bressandes. Produces around 140,000 bottles.
Maldant-Pauvelot*** – This is an estate that takes its origins from the late 19th century and now combines the Pauvelot family estate with Jean-Luc Maldant’s estate. Jean-Luc is slowly (re-)building his 18 hectares (most grapes were originally sold to a major Negociant in Beaune) which already include 2 GC – Corton Charlemagne and Corton Renardes and 3 PC. This is an estate that is about to break through, combining modern-day technics with quasi organic viticultural methods and a touch of genius from Jean-Luc and his team. His wines can be found at the best tables in France (i.e. Negresco in Nice) and yet he is unheard of overseas. Jean-Luc has already branched out into Whiskey production in collaboration with a distillery in Scotland that uses JL’s barrels! Keep an eye out for this one. Production around 65,000 bottles.
This is the capital of Burgundy wine and therefore houses the largest number of “Négociants” or merchants that helped to make Beaune and Burgundy famous. These will be looked at in a more detailed way in a separate chapter. Below you’ll just find the summary details.
Bouchard Père et Fils**** – Founded in 1731 by Michel Bouchard, this major negociant had a new lease of life when it was sold to Joseph Henriot of the champagne house Henriot. This “magician” made all the right moves to help the house re-gain its rightful place in the négociant hierarchy. 130 hectares, 9 GC and some 29 PC. The whites are reputedly better than the reds, although these are of very high standard.
Joseph Drouhin**** – One of Burgundy’s finest, founded by Joseph Drouhin in 1880. Now run by his four great-great grandchildren. 71.3 hectares, 11 GC and 10 PC’s of the highest quality, including the emblematic Clos des Mouches, (see chapter on “top winemakers” tasting notes). Robert has been in charge since 1957 and retired in 2003, leaving a superb quality estate (as well as their vineyard in Oregon).
Louis Jadot**** – This is a prime example of how an estate and a négociant can mix together. Louis Jadot started acquiring vines in 1826. In 1954, Louis-Auguste Jadot took on an assistant André Gagey, who took full management control in 1962 on Louis-Auguste’s death. Maison Louis-Jadot now controls 160 hectares of vines in Burgundy, which are divided into four estates: Domaine des Héritiers Louis Jadot, Domaine Louis Jadot, Domaine Gagey and Domaine du Duc de Magenta. Jacques Lardière has been making the wine since 1970, after starting as an assistant to André Gagey. This house is owns some of the best GC and PC plots and serves as a garantor of high quality in the region.
Louis Latour**** – The Latour family started as Négociants in the 17th century before acquiring the Comtes de Grancey 35 ha estate in Aloxe Corton. Currently run by the 11th generation Louis-Fabrice Latour, with winemaker Denis Fetzmann making the wine since 1974 and now helped by Boris Champy. The estate currently owns 48 hectares with 5 GC and 7 PC, mainly around Beaune but als in Gevry, Vosne and Chambolle.
The flagship at Latour is no doubt the Château Corton-Grancey, a blend from old vines in Perrières, Bressandes & Clos des Roi. The finest red is the Romanée-St Vivant “Les Quatre Journaux” with it silky tannins. A fine, elegant wine. The flagship white is the Corton-Charlemagne where they own nearly 10 hectares! Latour has a high reputation, but one step up on the quality of their reds would really put them in the top flight.
Champy*** – Domaine Champy was created in 1720 by Edme Champy, a master cooper in Beaune. The estate is currently owned by Pierre Murgey (who bought it in 1990). The estate possesses 27 hectares in the Côtes de Beaune of which it has 10 GC and 26 PC. The 2 white GC are Chablis and Corton Charlemagne and the 8 reds cover Corton, Charmes et Mazi Chambertin, Clos de Vougeot and Echézeaux. Their GC reds get the best ratings in Wine Spectator and Burghound, with the 2010 vintages often into the mid 90’s. The Mazi-Chambertin and Clos de Vougeot are particular stars.
This is a “Négociant” who also invests in wine toursim, with the possibility of visiting the 14th century cellars and wine-tasting from 10€ to 40€. The owner/winemaker is the very talented and charismatic Pierre Murgey.
Albert Bichot**** – The Bichot family have been associated with Burgundy since the 14th century and in 1831, Bernard Bichot decided to become a wine “Négociant”. Since 1996, Alberic Bichot represents the 6th generation. Bichot owns four estates in four distinct regions: Château Long-Depaquit in Chablis (65 ha), Domaine du Clos-Frantin in Nuits Saint George (13 ha), Domaine du Pavillon in Pommard (17 ha) and Domaine Adélie in Mercurey (4.5 ha).
Domaine Albert Bichot is also the biggest buyer of wine auctioned at the famous Hospices de Beaune wine auctions which take place in Beaune on the 3rd Sunday in November.
Nuiton-Beaunoy** – This is a recent concept dating from 2011. Nuiton-Beaunoy regroups 115 wineries from the Côtes & Hautes Côtes covering 520 hectares of vineyards. It’s a chance to see and try Pinots and Chardonnays from lesser known wineries.
Alex Gambal** – This is the first of our two “Americans in Beaune”. Alex Gambal fell in love with Burgundy wine whilst still working in the real estate industry. In 1997 after finishing the Beaune wine school for adults, he created the Alex Gambal estate. He produces over 60,000 bottles a year and can be found in top restaurants in over 20 different countries. Some of his Flagship wines includes his Clos de Vougeot GC, the Chambolle Musigny Les Charmes, the Savigny-les-Beaune Vielles Vignes and his Chassagne Montrachet Clos St Jean.
Domaine Newman** – Chris Neman is a complex character. Huge is size (NFL proportions) and in temperament. His father came from New Orleans and bought Chateau Lascombes in Bordeaux in the 1950’s and was closely associated with Alexis Lichine. His first vineyards in Burgundy include 2 GC – Les Bonnes Mares and Mazis Chambertin. Chris took over in the 1970’s and applied his own philosophie of no chemical and no pesticides.
My two favourites are Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Avaux and Beaune 1er Cru Les Grèves. The first is spice & liquorice with ripe red fruits and the second more smokey and leathery with black cherry notes. The 2 GC have both richness and power. The first is silky with floral overtones and the second is stronger in tannins and has a strong hint of wood and leather. Chris is proud and unremitting concerning his style…and to be honest, you can’t blame him.
Jean-Marc Boillot*** – His talents come from working with his father Henri Boillot and as winemaker for Olivier Leflaive, rather than from prestigious wine schools. His 9.7 hectare estate offers many (14) PC’s but no GC. His style is that of explosive aromas, great purity and maximum fruit. The range of Puligny-Montrachet PC’s is impressive from the crisp Champ-Canet to the slightly fatter and richer Referts. His standard is pretty high and consistent and his wines are great value-for-money. Production around 50,000 bottles.
De Courcel** – This estate, now run by Gilles de Courcel (who coincidently runs Domaine Champy) and the day-to-day running of the estate is held by Yves Confuron, one of the sons of Jacky Confuron of Vosne Romanée. The estate totals 8.9 hectares with 4 PC’s including almost 5 hectares of probable future GC Grand Clos des Epenots. He also has 1 hectare of the other potential GC Les Rugiens. Small in size but excellent wines (despite hailstorm in 2013) and a great future, especially when the GC dossier is validated in the next 5 to 7 years. Good investment potential. Production around 40,000 bottles.
Comte Armand*** – This is a particular estate as it originally belonged to the famous Marey-Monge family. When in 1855 once of the Marey-Monge daughters married Comte Armand, the domaine was passed on as part of her dowry. The Armand are not “vignerons” and have always had “regisseurs” look after the estate; The first shock was the employment of Pascal Marchand, a Canadian with no Burgundy experience, in 1983. Despite criticism, his wines were very successful. When he moved on the Armands again picked a young man, Benhamin Leroux, to run the estate. He has been trained in Burgundy and spent time in New Zealand, Oregon and Bordeaux, before taking on the job in 1999. Success again for the estate. With 10.2 hectares of which 3 are PC (including 5.25 ha of Clos des Epeneaux), this estate is one consistently producing one one the best and most during wines in the Côtes de Beaune. Annual production around 55,000 bottles. To be watched carefully over the future.
Aleth Girardin** – A special mention for this 6 hectare estate boasting 2 Beaune PC (including 0.3 ha of Clos des Mouches) and 4 Pommard PC. Aleth is a talented and determined female winemaker who through hard work and without and pretentiousness, make excellent wines. Production about 30,000 bottles.
Gros-Parent*** – These two major Burgundian families, joined winery names when they married. Both François Parent and Anne-Françoise Gros have pedigree – and so do their wines. (See article on estate). Highly regarded by fellow estates, praised by the wine reviews, this is Burgundy at its best.
Moissenet Bonnard** – Jean-Louis just celebrated his 25 years at the helm of this estate. He is now helped by daughter Emmanuelle-Sophie who shows signs of great promise. 8 hectares including 1 hectare of Pommard les Epenots and vines in Auxey Duresses and Meursault. Favourites include Pommard PC les Pezerolles and Les Epenots. To watch out for in the future.
Virely-Rougeot** A small family estate founded at the start of the 20th century. 9 hectares including 2 hectares of the famous Pommard PC Clos des Arvelets. The PC Les Chanlin Bas has often received awards in top French wine guides. The Meursault PC Les Charmes is also another “discovery”. This is a great estate for reasonably priced Pommards.
Marquis d’Angerville*** – This is (despite having no GC) one of the greatest names in Burgundy. Jacques (grandfather of the current Marquis) made a name for himself as he broke away from the grip of negociants and started bottling his own wine (along with the famous Henri Goouges). There are almost 15 hectares of prime Volnay with 1 PC Meursault Les Santenots and 1 PC Pommard Les Combes Dessus. The flagship estate wine is the PC Le Clos des Ducs of which d’Angerville has 2.15 ha. This Volnay is always great, irrespective of weather. Complex and with a wonderful finish – certainly one of the best Volnay in existence. Volnay is reknowned for its femininity, its smooth velvety tannins and finesse. There is no better example than this estate. Production around 80,000 bottles.
Bitouzet-Prieur*** – Vincent is the 5th generation and the estate goes back to 1860. 13.17 hectares including prime PC’s in Beaune, Meursault & Volnay. Of the Meursaults, the Santenots is full and intense on the fruit, the Charmes has more finesse and the best is Les Perrières, which is elegant, intense and has a great finish. Since 2005, François, the son, is taking more responsibility. This is an excellent estate with a promising future. Production around 70,000 bottles.
Henri Boillot*** – Henri is from a well-known family which inculdes his father Jean and his brother Jean-Marc. They have a sister Jeanine who married Gérard Boudot of the famous Sauzet estate. Henri has largely improved the 15 hectare estate which has 1 GC Clos de Vougeot and 13 PC including Beaune, Meursault, Pommard, Puligny, Volnay and Savigny – all the top Beaune villages. His whites are a fine range of rich and aromatic wines with pure fruit flavours and a fine, crisp finish. His reds are soft, ripe wines with juicy, mouth-watering extures. Henri has brought stability to a very fine estae. Production around 80,000 bottles.
Michel Lafarge**** – Michel and his son Fréderic, run a superb estate, with a high international reputation. They have 11.68 hectares including 9 PC. They are best known for their Volnay PC’s including their Monopoly Le Clos es Ducs – full of violet flowers and red fruits, silky tannins and complex, tender flavours. Their strength is in producing wines that can often be kept for several decades. A truly magnificent estate.
De Montille*** – This is a monument in Volnay and throughout the Côte d’Or. This 17 hectares estate is currently run by Etienne de Montille and his wife Alix. When they took over from their father Hubert in the 1990’s their biggest challaenge was to go organic. Then he wanted to improve on his father’s wines, which he considered a bit rough in their youth. The estate has 3 GC (Clos de Vougeot, Corton Charlemagne & Corton Clos du Roi), and 16 PC’s all from Beaune except PC from Vosne Romanée.
The Vosne PC Malconsorts is probably the flagship red, a touch above the younger Corton Clos du Roi. Etienne & Alix are young and talented – the estate has a promising future.
De la Pousse D’Or*** – The current owner, Patrick Landanger, bought a stake in the estate in the early 90’s and after the accidently death of the other owner, Gérard Potel, Patrick offered to buy his stake too. Originally meant to be a passive owner, Patrick found himself taking a crash-course in winemaking. This 17 hectare estate has 3 GC including Les Bonnes Mares, Corton-Bressandes and Corton Clos du Roi (1.15 ha) and 14 PC.
His aquisition of new plots has lead to increasing his cellar capacity. His vines are increasingly organic, his wines are a reflection of the man himself – well-structured, elegant and impressive. A clever guy and a great winery with plenty of potential.
Monthélie, Auxey-Duresses & St Romain
Darviot-Perrin** – This 10 hectare estate is run by the friendly couple Didier and Geneviève Darviot. Although vineyards have been in the family for generations, they took over this estate in the 1980’s. 10 PC’s and as many villages. Their whites have a wonderful character from the crip regional to the richer and fatter Meursault (check out their Charmes, Perrières and Les Genevrières). Their Volnays earn respect too and they are the last growers to have Pinot Noir grapes in Chassagne Montrachet les Chenevottes.
A seriously talented family, with surprisingly good wines.
Des Terres de Velle** – This small, 6 hectare estate is run by Sophie and Fabrice Laronze who produce 14 different wines amounting to 30,000 bottles. They had the courage and iniative to start this estate in 2009 having spent 10 years working at the Alex Gambal estate. Try their delicious Auxey-Duresses white for good easy drinking. Then try the Monthelie Les Duresses (texture & balance) and the Volnay Les Roncerets for silky tannins and ripe red fruits. A new estate, but promised a great future.
Christophe Buisson*** – when in Saint Romain, you must stop at this estate. 1 PC but wonderful villages too, including the fantastic Saint Romain Sous le Château 2012 – concentrated, full-bodied, with a wonderful taste of black cherry. Christophe chose to go organic and it was a wise move. 7.4 hectares producing 35,000 bottles. When he can buy more PC, he’ll be an even bigger force to reckon with. Great value-for-money.
Alain Gras** – This 12 hectare estate in the hills of Saint Romain has been run by Alain and his wife since 1979. He has excellent, easy-to-drink Auxey-Duresses, St Romain and Meursault reds & whites. The 2012 vintage Saint-Romain village blanc has expressive aromas of linden, yellow fruits and a touch of citrus. This chardonnay is dense, pure and has a subtle minerality. The same in red is also a delight, frsh, fruity and “gourmand”.
This is THE estate to go for great-value-for-money wines. Production around 60,000 bottles.
Henri & Gilles Buisson*** – This is a “fail-safe” estate covering 20 hectares and producing 100,000 bottles in St Romain. 8 generations of the Buisson family with Gilles at the helm (and wife Monica). There two sons Franck and Fréderick are already in place to take over. They have 4 GC well-placed in Corton and 2 PC as well as some excellent village wines in Beaune and Pommard. Looking at good value, try the 2012 St Romain red Sous Roche with its toasty, floral and fruity notes and smooth, slightly spicy finish. The village white La Perrière has a beautiful golden-green hue, a pure if somewhat discreet nose and a full-bodied, long finish. Excellent quality from this well-established estate.
Michel Ampeau*** – An estate where the Meursault reds are almost equal to the whites. Run by Michel, this relatively new (turn of century) estate covers 9.4 hectares and has 9 PC. The estate’s wines are are very individual in character: lean, taut chardonnays and Pinots that need time to mature. Michels holds back sales until he feels the wines are a perfect reflection of their terroir. So if you are looking for mature Burgundy wines, Michel has one of the finest stocks in Burgundy.
Michel Bouzereau & Fils*** – Bouzereau is a family name commonly found in Meursault. Jean-Baptiste is a charming vigneron, who joined his father Michel in 1991. They own an 11 hectare estate, which possesses some fantastic PC from Meursault and Puligny Montrachet. Out of his 3 PC’s from Meursault, I’d give a special mention to the PC Genevrieres 2012. This is a rare example of a white Burgundy which reunites all the qualities of a great wine: full-bodied, persistent, complex aromas and elegance. Out of the Pulignys, les Caillerets is classy with plenty of depth. Production around 45,000 bottles.
Chavy-Chouet** – this estate merits attention as the young owner and wine maker Romaric Chavy has impressed with his 2012 vintage after a very promising 2011. 2 of the PC’s from Meursault – les Charmes (floral and delicate, yet generous and mineral) and Genévrieres (citrus, nutty and full-bodied, keeping the trademark finesse of a Genevrieres).
Coche-Bizouard & Fils** – Alain with his son Fabien make both reds and whites on their 9.3 hectare estate. 4 PC and 10 village. 40% of their wines a reds, the best being a soft, fleshy Meursault, a firm and balanced Auxey-Duresses PC les Ecusseaux and a more generous Pommard PC la Palatiere. The villages whites are impressive, but the PC’s les Charmes is rich and honeyed and la Goutte D’Or has great depth and finish. Fabien has brought a more modern, fresher style whilst retaining the depth and quality of Alain’s wines. This is a highly recommendable estate. Production around 50,000 bottles.
Coche-Dury**** – Jean-François Coche took over from his father in 1972 and this 10.4 hectare estate is considered as being one of, if not the best estate in Meursault. Jean-François is a talented and intelligent winemaker, who apart from excellent whites, also makes excellent reds, his Meursault and Auxey-Duresses have that sometimes “elusive” finesse and keeps their delicate aromas. Everything he makes, including the humble Aligote has elegance. His 2 PC les Perrieres and les Genévrieres are pure delights: honey and flowers when young, toasty and hazelnuts when mature. The GC Corton-Charlemagne is no exception.
Production around 60,000 bottles.
Vincent Girardin*** – this is one of the great success stories in the district. Vincent took over the estate as a young twenty year old. Full of ambition and talent, he built the estate up to its current size of nearly 18 hectares. He has 4 GC including Batard, Bienvenue and Chevalier Montrachet. He also boasts an impressive 17 PC. His Santenay PC’s are said to be the best around. Both reds and whites are top flight, producing fruit, aromas and balance. His best PC whites include the mineral St Aubin Mergers, Puligny Champs Gains and the excellent Meursault Narvaux. However the finest PC is probably the Puligny Les Folatieres – a wine of great concentration and finesse. Vincent is still in his 40’s, has a successful merchant wine business too and promises more great wines for years to come. Production around 100,000 bottles.
François & Antoine Jobard*** – a small (5 ha) traditional estate with 4 PC. Antoine took over from dad in 2007 and the estate’s wines are sold In top restaurants in the region. What makes them unique is that they don’t wish to expand, just maintain this high level of excellence. A little diamond.
Remi Jobard*** – this is the other half of the Jobard estate, run by Remi, the son of Harlem (brother of Francois). The 3 PC’s are serious contenders. The Genevrieres is the most forward with honey tones and fine acidity. The Charmes has flashy side of Genevrieres and the power of Poruzot and the Poruzot has the texture and finesse which makes it the finest wine in the estate. The same family name but two distinctly different styles!
des Comtes Lafon*** – Dominique Lafon has created one of the most reputable estates in Meursault since he took charge of the family estate in the 1980’s. Although he changed and improved many things, he’s blessed by having some of the very best plots in the area. He has 1.7 ha of Meursault les Charmes de Dessie’s, 0.5 ha of Genevrieres and 3.7 ha of Volnay Santenots-en-Milieu PC and not forgetting 0.3 hectares of Montrachet GC!
His Volnay Santenots PC is his best red and the Perrieres probably the best PC white. The flagship wine however is le Montrachet, with extraordinary concentration and length. The stunning results come from Dominique’s meticulous care and attention to detail.
Latour-Giraud*** – The names go back to revolution times. However this modest 9.2 hecatre estate, run by Jean-Pierre Latour (since 1982) has made huge strides in quality over the last 10 years or so. Out of the 9 PC’s, the best are (as usual) Les Charmes, Genevrières (of which the estate owns 2.39 ha) and Perrières (only 2 barrels!). His style is that of ripe fruits, rich textures yet with plenty of freshness. Production around 50,000 bottles.
Matrot*** – This 20 hectare estate is run by Thierry matrot since 1983 and he is also the wine maker. He believes that wine is made in the vineyards rather than the cellar. His style is that of making ripe fruity wines with a maximumm amount of elegance. His best whites are the PC’s Meursault Les Perrières and Puligny Les Combettes, both fresh and elegant. His reds includes a fine Volnay PC Santenots and a Blagny La Pièce. His two daughters are also becoming more involved and the future looks bright for this family estate.
Pierre Morey*** – Pierre Morey was the “régisseur” for the Leflaive estate for two decades whilst also running his own estate. That Annne-Claude Leflaive relied on his skills is a fitting compliment to a man who is so attached to the vineyards. On his 10 hectare estate he has one GC (Batard Montrachet) and 3 PC from Meursault (Perrières), Pommard (Les Grands Epenots) and Volnay (Santenots). Only 20% of the estate is red, with an attractive Monthelie, an elegant Volnay and a more robust and masculine Pommard. His reds are often overlooked as his reputation is based primarily on his whites – this is a shame.
His finest village white is Les Tessons. His only PC white is Les Perrières – impressive in body, minerality and length. The GC Batard is dense with great power and length. Production around 60,000 bottles.
Jacques Prieur*** – This large 22.2 hectare estate possesses 9 excellent GC and 15 PC stretching from Gevrey to Puligny. The Labruyère family own a 70% stake (they also own a vineyard in Bordeaux and Beaujolais) and Martin Prieur (who runs the day-to-day activities) owns the rest. The whites are excellent examples of Burgundy Chardonnay and drink well when young with lots of ripe fruit aromas, generous textures and plenty of freshness. The reds are rich, round wines with vivid fruits and smooth tannins.
The flagship whites are Les Perrières from Meursault and Combettes from Puligny Montrachet. The flagship reds come from the GC in the Côte de Nuits – Chambertin and Clos de Vougeot. A very fine example of a top Burgundy estate.
Jean-Marie Bouzereau** – Another member of the Bouzereau clan, based in the center of Meursault, Jean-marie took over the 9 hectare estate from his father, Pierre Bouzereau-Emonin in 1994. His reds are from Volnay, Pommard & Beaune and his whites, from which he made his reputation are from Meursault and Puligny Montrachet.
A special mention for his 2012 vintage Meursault Village Les Narvaux with its distinctive aromas of ripe yellow fruits and its full-bodied, dynamic attack on the palate. The Meursault PC Les Charmes with delicate aromas of white flowers and citrus and the Poruzot PC with its spicy and candied fruit aromas. Excellent.
Michelot** – this is a 19 hectare estate run by the same family for 6 generations. Bernard Michelot – a strong, charismatic burgundian – has 4 PC which are all excellent, especially les Perrières and les Genevrières, whose 2011 vintage claime a 94 and 92 respectively from WS. His two sons are also at the helm and with a great selection of plots in different villages, his chardonnays are the talk of the town.
Louis Carillon & Fils** – The Carillons are a warm, welcoming family who have been making fine wines since the 17th century. Their burgundy whites show great purity with discreet class and complexity. They have a GC Bienvenues-Batard Montrachet that produces only 1 barrel that has plenty of class despite its austerity when young. Of the 7 PC’s, 6 are Pulignys from the Meursault side of the village of Puligndy. They are all different Champ Canet being delicate and feminin, Perrières richer and braoder and the Referts has a mineral and fresh flavour. Although this familyy is not on the same level as say the Leflaive family, they are certainly very fine examples of Puligny Monrachet. 11.2 ha producting around 65,000 bottles.
Jean Chartron*** – This 12.36 hectare estate is run by Jean-Michel Chartron and has some of the best vineyard plots in Puligny Montrachet. The 2 GC are Batard and Chevalier Montrachet, with the latter covering almost 0.5 ha. Of the 8 PC the pick are from the Clos de Cailleret PC which Jean-Michel vinifies 0.86 in white and 0.18 in red!! Now Jean-Michel has given up his merchant wine business, he can concentrate fully on his estate and there are quite a few acquisitions taking place. One to watch. Production 75,000 bottles.
Alain Chavy*** – Of the two brothers, (Alain & Jean-Louis), Alain’s wines are the most impressive and are evolving into a very distinctive style. He has made many bold changes to his 6.5 hectare estate. Small is size, it still possesses are GC Chevalier Montrachet and 5 fine PC’s. His 2 top PC’s are a delicate a feminine medium-bodied Clavoillons, the Pucelles is rich and full-bodied showing plenty of fruit and finesse. Could become one of the best estates in the village.
Leflaive (Anne-Claude)**** – this is undoubtably the finest Chardonnay estate in Burgundy. The Leflaive family have been around since the 16th century. There is a long and fascinating history which I will relate in a separate article. Anne-Claude has been in charge for the last 20 years, and through her determination, skill and strength of character, she has moulded the finest of Burgundy estates. 4 GC – Batard, Bienvenue, Chevalier and Montrachet, each with a different and unique spectrum of aromas. the only regret is the small amount of bottles of Montrachet produced (400 from 0.08 ha). 3 of the PC’s Le Clavoillon (they own 85%) is the lightest and most forward, les Folatières is more powerful and richer and Les Combettes has great finesse and length. Les Pucelles is one notch above these three and is often considered as being of GC status. Remarkable.
Chateau de Puligny Montrachet*** – This 21.5 hectare estate owned by the bank Crédit Foncier is managed by Etienne de Montille who has been making the wine there since 2002. This estate has been through some very mediocre years under former owner Roland Thévenin. However Etienne has worked miracles on changing this from a poor to very good estate in such a short time. Etienne de Montille (as you saw earlier) is also owned of the domaine de Montille in Volnay.
Etienne’s whites have charm and ageing potential. A special word for the Puligny Folatières (0.5 ha) which is rich, floral and has depth combined with astonishing freshness. Amongst the GC, there is only 1 barrel of Batard and Monttrachet – both of which are superb – however the elegance of the Chevalier Montrachet wins the first prize. Annual production around 100,000 bottles.
Etienne Sauzet**** – Gérard Boudot has been making these fantastic Burgundy whites for nearly 35 years. Often considered with Anne-Claude Leflaive as the Stars of Chardonnay. However, there were “family” complications as well as that of soil. Gérard’s wife is Jeanine (grand-daughter of Etienne Sauzet) and when her mother stated that the estate should be shared between her and her brothers – Jean-Marc Boillot and Henri Boillot none-the-less! – she lost a considerable amount of decent vineyard plots. It took her and her husband Gérard, 10 years and a successful wine merchant’s business to be able to buy some decent plots. Even now, the estate is only 9.2 hectares with 2 GC (Batard & Bienvenue-Batard Montrachet) and 6 PC in Puligny. Of these the two best are probably Le Champs Canet & Les Combettes where there is a perfect balance in the clay/chalk ratio. The three GC all have their distinctive characters: Bienvenues is finesse, Batard is power & structure and Montrachet has the greatest richness and breadth.
His style in general evokes richness, class and passion. He is joined by his daughter Emilie and son-in-law Benoit Riffault who comes from a famous estate in Sancerre. The future continues to look bright.
Bruno Colin*** – Younger brother of Philippe Colin, owns 8.26 ha since his father decided to split the estate between his two sons. Bruno’s style of white wines is rich and well-balanced portraying wonderful aromas as well as breadth and finish. 12 PC’s mainly in Chassagne of which the two stars are En Remilly and La Truffière, both have breadth and minerality and a fine amount of freshness. The last ten years of going alone are now paying off for Bruno who is producing some wonderful wines in Chassagne. Production around 50,000 bottles.
Philippe Colin*** – the elder brother, has 10.74 hectares and prides himself on making some excellent reds too (Chassagne Morgeot), subtle, refined with beautiful fruit and smooth tannins. His wines too are fantastic. He has 1.5 ha of Chassagne Montrachet Les Chaumes, which produces an impressive 40 barrels. This is a crisp, finely-balanced wine with a certain richness, conveying ripe honeyed fruit. The flagship wines, however are the PC Demoiselles and Chevalier Montrachet (GC) still owned by his father. The former has excellent minerality and richness and the latter is creamier, more intense. It is a wine of unrivalled elegance. This is an estate along with brother Bruno’s, with a great future ahead. Production 60,000 bottles
Fontaine-Gagnard*** – This 11 hectare estate is run by Richard Fontaine (son-in-law of Jacques Gagnard-Delagrange. Originally trained as an aircraft mechanic, he didn’t see his destiny making wine. Fate had other ideas, and he has turned out to be an excellent wine maker. He has no less than 10 Chassagne PC’s and 3 GC. His best PC’s are undoubtedly Caillerets and La Romanée, both are rich and powerful and need to be given some time. His 3 GC consist of Criots-Batard – it has great balance, fruit and length, the Batard’s are more powerful and fatter and Le Montrachet only produces 2 barrels a year but this is intense, rich and with a superb finish. A first-rate estate. Production 70,000 bottles
Jean-Noel Gagnard*** – Jean-Noel handed over the estate to his daughter Caroline in 1989. A talented lady with a determined character, who has proven her abilities over the last 20 years. Her aim was to create a modern, dynamic estate, whilst respecting the environment. The estate covers 9.5 hectares and contains 1 GC Batard Montrachet and 12 PC, 11 of which are from Chassagne. Of the PC’s she makes delicious forward Champs Gain, Chaumées nd Chenevottes, but the two finest are Les Caillerets (of which she has just over 1 hectare) and Blanchot-Dessus. The first is a beautifully balance and precise wine with great minerality and a long, crisp finish. The second almost became a GC and is a rich, honeyed wine with both power and balance. Production 50,000 bottles.
Marc Morey & Fils*** – This estate has been run since the early 80’s by Bernard Mollard, the husband of Marc Morey’s daughter Marie-Joseph. This estate has 8.4 hectares, 1 GC Batard and 8 PC. All the PC’s are impressive, especially the surprising St Aubin PC Charmois. A crisp wine, with plenty of ripe fruit and good acidity. Perhaps the two best PC’s are Les Caillerets and En Virondot – the first is elegant and fresh with power and length. The second is cripser and less fat whilst maintaining intense flavour and length. Bernard and his daughter Sabine are making some excellent wines and expanding their business with success.
Morey-Coffinet*** – This is a dynamic and enthusiastic family estate run by Michel and his son Thibault. The estate has 1 GC Batard and 7 PC, of which 6 are in Chassagne. The white Chasssagnes are delicious and worthy of the utmost attention. Les Caillerets is fresh and elegant, La Romanée is more powerful. The Pucelles and the GC Batard vines are a little young but still a great pleasure to drink. With a little patience, they will be winners, for sure. Production 35,000 bottles.
Michel Niellon*** – If you are looking for a traditional estate with guaranteed excellence, then look no further. Michel Niellon has 7 hectares with 2 GC Batard & Chevalier and 8 PC. His style is for making rich and ripe wines, even in colder years. Look out for the PC’s les Vergers and Les Chaumées who both have a mineral side and great elegance. Both GC’s are rich, concentrated wines that come from old vines planted in the 1920’s. You can buy from this estate in full confidence. Production around 40,000 bottles.
Domaine Ramonet**** – This estate has often been compared to the Leflaive estate for uncompromising quality. After a bad stretch in the 80’s the current generation Noel and Jean-Claude took over and the quality shot up. They have 15.5 hectares with 4 outsanding GC’s and 11 PC’s. The ST AUbin PC Charmois is delicious, but the Chassagne are better, in particular Les Caillerets and Les Ruchottes. The GC’s are superb wines, rich complex yet fresh and lingering. These are probably one of the finest examples of Grand Crus. Production around 100,000 bottles.
Jean-Claude Bachelet & Fils*** – This is one of many Bachelet name estates, so be aware, this is the truly great Jean-Claude Bachelet estate. 10 hectares producing around 60,000 bottles of beautiful whites and reds. The two brothers Jean-Baptiste and Benoit are starting to take a firm hold on this estate. In their young thirties, they have worked alongside their father since they were teens. Let’s concentrate on their star PC’s. The Saint Aubin Meurgers Dents de Chien with its notes of almond, marzepin and aniseed, giving way to a long finish. The En Remilly, flowers and citrus fruits, persistant and crisp. Chassagne’s Blanchots Dessus with its white fruits, good acidity and minerality… This is an excellent winery.
Marc Colin & Fils*** – This well-known estate in the village of Gamay is run by 3 of Marc Colin’s children. This is a large 20 hectare estate with 2 GC Batard and Le Montrachet and 14 PC’s covering Chassagne, St Aubin and Puligny. The St Aubin PC’s are best summed up by the Charmois, En Remilly and En Montceau. In Chassagne its Les Chenevottes that has the most immediate appeal and with a little patience you have the splendid Les Champ Gains and Caillerets. The best surprise of all is the tiny plot of Vide-Bourse – rich, dense and with wonderful flavours whilst retaining a fresh and crisp after taste. The 2 GC are superb, with the more intense Montrachet against the fatter and rounder batard.
Hubert Lamy*** – Hubert Lamy turned this into a big (17 ha) and famous estate with a solid reputation in the 1980’s. His son Olivier took it one step further over the last twenty years. The best of their PC are St Aubin Les Frionnes (2.4 ha), a stylish medium-bodied white, or the richer and more honeyed Clos du Meix. The decent sized parcel of En Remilly gives a lovely fresh wine, which has power and elegance. Their Criottes-Batard Montrachet (only GC entirely in the commune of Chassagne) from 50 year old vines is rich and dense with a lovely balance of honeyed fruit and fresh acidity. The prices here have become more reasonable over the last few years, making this a top quality and affordable estate.
Henri Prudhon & Fils*** – Three generations of the Prudhon family who make some of the best reds and whites in St Aubin. 40% of their wines are red and yet they are forgoing the temptation to plant more chardonnay. Try their red PC’s Les Frionnes which is fresh and fruity or their Le Sentier du Clou which has more depth and stronger tannins. Les Rouges Gorges is a blend of PC’s that gives you the best of everything red.
The style of whites is crips and fresh. The PC whites Perrières, Sentier du Clou and Castets are located behind the village and produce leaner and fresher wines. The PC’s of Gamay, Combes Remilly etc give richer and riper wines. This is a great estate for getting high quality and value from the wines.
Gérard Thomas & Filles*** – This 12 hectare, 11 PC estate proves that you can find great wines at a reasonable price and without breaking the bank. Gérard runs the estate with his two daughters Isabelle and Anne. One of their best PC’s is Les Murgers des Dents de Chien, which has a crisp, mineral character, well-balanced by fresh, ripe fruit. There are also excellent examples in Les Combes, Clos de Pitangeret and Sous Roche Dumay.
The arrival of his two daughters has added extra peps to the estate and they have helped to improve both viticulture and vinification. To be visited without hesitation.
Roger Belland*** – This is one of the largest estates ((18 ha) in Santenay, run by Roger (since 1975) and joined by his daughter Julie five years ago. She gained valuable experience in the wine industry in Argentina and New Zealand. The estate offers a fine range of red Santenay, the best PC’s are Commes (2.2 ha), which is the most elegant and is best drunk young. Beauregard is firmer and Les Gravières is probably the finest of the three.
The whites are similarly attractive with fresh floral aromas and rich, generous textures. The Morgeot-Clos Pitois white and red is a Belland monopoly producing very elegant wines. This estate is highly recommended for high quality, great-value wines.
Jacques Girardin** – Justin Girardin is one of the young winemakers breaking into the industry. He works alongside his parents Valerie and Jacques on this 17 hecatre estate in Santenay. They produce around 60,000 bottles per year. Particular attention should be given to their PC red Beauregard, with its spicy and fruity notes. This estate is true value with a young winemaker to watch out for.
Maison Jessaume*** – run by Marc and Pascal, this 37 hectare estate is the largest in Santenay and produces some excellent wines stretching over the whole Côte de Beaune area. They have large plots in Auxey-Duresses les Ecusseaux and Volnay Les Brouillards. They also have an impressive 8 GC, 2 from Corton and the rest from the famous Côtes de Nuit district: Clos de Vougeot, Chambertin, Mazi-Chambertin, Charmes and Chappelle Chambertin and 1 GC Corton Charlemagne
Their Flagship PC Sentanay is Les Gravières – often at the top end of the awards allocation. Other favourites amongst wine reviews are the GC’s from Corton and Côte de Nuits.
Marc & Pascal are young, dynamic and charismatic…and their wines astounding. Even their Santenay village rouge 2012 scored 18.5/20 in Bourgogne Aujourd’hui!