It’s hard to find anything wrong with 2020 Burgundies. In both white and red, the wines are terrifically concentrated and yet possess vibrant acidity and beautiful balance. They’re predicted to age beautifully, but it’s hard to imagine many will last long in the cellar if they taste like this. The Wine Advocate’s William Kelley puts it “among the very best in the last two decades” for white Burgundies.
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The Domaine les Goubert is among the domaines we’ve worked with the longest. Over more than two decades their consistency has remained unshakable – good vintage and difficult, up year and down, Goubert’s delicious, well-priced Gigondas cuvées are like trusty old friends.
Everyone seems to be raising their prices these days, but the Burgundians have been doing it since before it was cool. It’s hard to blame them – tiny vintages, pricier equipment, and a shortage of labor all contribute to rising costs. At the same time, demand and quality have never been higher.
Sauvignon blanc is among the world’s most widely planted grapes, but its origin is the Loire Valley. In the Loire, Sauvignon takes on a floral, mineral style, juicy grapefruit notes with a lively minerality, often notes of flint, and pleasant herbal finish.
The Syrahs of the Northern Rhône are known for their intense color and soaring aromatics. Some wines even rival their Burgundian neighbors to the north in terms of elegance and subtlety. Though recent hot vintages have delivered a bit more meat on the bones than a decade ago, the most successful cuvées retain their classic northern complexity.
In a recent column, Vinous’s Rhône reviewer Josh Raynolds returned to one of his favorite subjects: Gigondas. This southern Rhône neighbor to Châteauneuf-du-Pape is perennially underrated; or as Raynolds writes: “Gigondas continues to be among the best values in high-quality, small production wines in all of France.”
Sofie Borhmann is a bit of an anomaly in Burgundy. She’s not French (she’s from Belgium), not well known, and exports very little to the US. In a tiny region with exploding demand and skyrocketing prices, her wines are quiet, well priced, and relatively unknown. We found them on a restaurant list in Beaune, and after some persistence managed to track her down.
In just over a decade, winemaker Romain Collet has turned his family’s reliable if unremarkable domaine into one of the very best sources in Chablis. With a focus on lower sulfur, a transition to organics, and modernized cellar practices, the domaine has begun to realize its full potential. The wine press has taken notice too; William Kelley finds “a lot to admire here,” and Jasper Morris recently opined that Romain Collet “is moving towards joining the pantheon in Chablis.”
Where much red Burgundy tends towards subtleness and finesse, the Domaine du Couvent style is noticeably more intense. The winemakers harvest relatively late, and use a long cold soak to extract loads of flavor and texture from their grapes. The resulting wines are concentrated, dark, and delicious.
If we were to pick one thing we look for above all else when evaluating a wine, it would be balance. No matter the grape or region, style or price, a wine with all its elements in at the correct levels succeeds. Achieving balance between ripeness and freshness has become harder in recent hot, dry summers, particularly in the scorching south of France.
Gautier Desvignes is among the most exciting young producers in our portfolio. He’s taken his family’s humble domaine and turned them into one of the Côte Chalonnaise’s leading sources. It’s easy to argue they’re the best value red Burgundies in our cellar. (Boston area readers, keep your eyes out for a possible winemaker dinner in April with Gautier.)
The Northern Rhône produces the world’s most complex and balanced expressions of Syrah. Particularly in Côte Rôtie, at the region’s northern limit, the wines combine inky, black, masculine fruit with extraordinary lift and finesse. Our producer in Côte Rôtie is Christophe Bonnefond, who seems to make more impressive and well-balanced wines each year.
Christophe Mestre and his wife are from old Châteauneuf du Pape families. Like many such families, their vines are in plots scattered across the town’s remarkably diverse terroir. Their parcels cover all three of Châteauneuf’s famous terroirs: the famous galets roulés (see photo), sand, and clay-limestone. Mestre makes a single red cuvée from these terroirs, […]
The 2019 vintage produced outstanding wines in red Burgundy, white Burgundy, and the Rhône valleys. But the success of this vintage stretched further, across the Mont Blanc and into Tuscany. The 2019 Chianti Classico from Poggerino is as good as it’s ever een.
It seems that hot, dry growing season are now the norm in Burgundy. Twenty years ago these vintages would have been unusual – a challenging outlier requiring some careful adjustments in the cellar. But as warm, sunny conditions have become the new normal, both growers and vines have begun to adapt more permanently.